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Friday, February 08, 2013

John Buck says Johan Santana may have been tipping pitches in 2012

During an appearance on SNY’s Mets Hot Stove show on Thursday night, new Mets catcher John Buck told Kevin Burkhardt that left-hander Johan Santana may have been tipping his pitches last season. Here’s the quote, courtesy of Michael Baron at MetsBlog…

  “Being on the other side—whether it’s Johan tipping his pitches or whatever—those little tiny things will help. I was just on the other side hitting off of him. Maybe we can tighten some of those things up.”

Buck, 32, played for the division rival Marlins last season. He went 0 for 3 with a walk and two strikeouts in four plate appearances against Santana in 2012, and the Marlins as a team only scored four runs in 12 2/3 innings against the two-time AL Cy Young Award winner. If Johan was tipping pitches, Miami didn’t take advantage.

...Buck told Burkhardt to “consider it cleared up,” an indication that he and his new teammate have discussed the apparent pitch-tipping problem. Santana’s season ended in mid-August due to an ankle sprain and lower back inflammation, which are much greater long-term concerns. The Mets owe the southpaw $25 million in 2013, then have to pay him the $5.5 million buyout of his $25 million club option after the season.

Thanks to Angel.

Repoz Posted: February 08, 2013 at 03:56 PM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mets

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   1. Ray (RDP) Posted: February 08, 2013 at 04:18 PM (#4365808)
There is no surer sign that a pitcher's career is about to end as when the problem identified for correction is "he was tipping his pitches."
   2. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: February 08, 2013 at 04:50 PM (#4365832)
Santana had a 2.76 ERA in his first 16 starts last season with a 93/33 k/bb ratio in 98 innings. He then proceeded to get lit up for 33 ER in 19 innings. Obviously, somehting wasn't right with that drastic of a decline. Santana's days as a Cy Young contender are done but he's still a reasonable bet to be a quality pitcher. I don't think his career is about to end.
   3. spycake Posted: February 08, 2013 at 05:00 PM (#4365838)
There was pitch-tipping talk around Santana in his last years in Minnesota too.

Actually, a quick Google search indicates there has been steady mention of Santana tipping his pitches over the years. I see mentions for 2007, 2008, and 2010 in addition to this new 2012 stuff. Is that normal?
   4. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 08, 2013 at 05:01 PM (#4365841)
Santana had a 2.76 ERA in his first 16 starts last season with a 93/33 k/bb ratio in 98 innings. He then proceeded to get lit up for 33 ER in 19 innings. Obviously, somehting wasn't right with that drastic of a decline.

Through June 1st
11 starts; 2.38 ERA
June 1st start 9IP 0H 0R 134 Pitches

Post June 1st
10 starts 8.27 ERA

I guess what happened to him will forever remain a mystery.
   5. BDC Posted: February 08, 2013 at 05:14 PM (#4365849)
"It is not enough to know what is coming. You still have to hit it." — Henry Wiggen
   6. andrewberg Posted: February 08, 2013 at 05:23 PM (#4365855)
Ehhh, I don't know about that no-hitter. Over the rest of June, he had 5 starts, 30 IP, 3.60 ERA, 25/12 K/BB ratio. That hardly looks like a guy whose arm went poof at the start of that stretch. It really got ugly in July, so if something went wrong, it was probably a little later.
   7. Ray (RDP) Posted: February 08, 2013 at 05:42 PM (#4365866)
Santana had a 2.76 ERA in his first 16 starts last season with a 93/33 k/bb ratio in 98 innings. He then proceeded to get lit up for 33 ER in 19 innings. Obviously, somehting wasn't right with that drastic of a decline.


The conventional wisdom in NY was that going for the silly no-hitter wrecked him.
   8. DL from MN Posted: February 08, 2013 at 05:53 PM (#4365873)
They said Koufax tipped his pitches too. Doesn't matter if your stuff is great.
   9. Accent Shallow Posted: February 08, 2013 at 05:59 PM (#4365878)
"Sandy would strike me out two or three times a game. And I knew every pitch he was going to throw -- fastball, breaking ball or whatever. Actually, he would let you look at it. And you still couldn't hit it," says Hall of Fame center fielder Willie Mays about Sandy Koufax on ESPN's SportsCentury show which aired Friday, April 2.


From here
   10. booond Posted: February 08, 2013 at 07:06 PM (#4365893)
Mays had a .962 ops against Koufax. He struckout 20 times in 122 pa.
   11. Conor Posted: February 08, 2013 at 07:48 PM (#4365903)
Fwiw, he sprained his ankle against the Cubs and was sub replacement after that. Maybe it was a coincidence, but the splits are striking.
   12. formerly dp Posted: February 08, 2013 at 08:08 PM (#4365911)
Fwiw, he sprained his ankle against the Cubs and was sub replacement after that. Maybe it was a coincidence, but the splits are striking.
Nah, it's way more fun to claim that letting him finish the no-hitter was some sort of moral failing on the Mets' part, and this Santana's struggles are karmic retribution. As Russlan notes, Santana was very good early on last year before the wheels fell off, and if it's attributable to his ankle rather than his arm, that's got to be easier to bounce back from. I wouldn't be too surprised to see him have a strong year, though durability's obviously going to be an issue. The silver lining to the cloud of predicting awfulness is that anything positive Johan does in 2013 will be gravy. They're not going to be good this year-- Johan will have to throw a shutout to get a win-- but when he's on, he's a joy to watch, so that's something.

The Brandon Lyon deal is done-- $700-900K, plus lots of incentives. More former Blue Jay short relievers!

Also, Ike discussed his bout with Valley Fever:
Davis downplayed the condition last year, but he's finally ready to admit that it probably played a part in his terrible start to the season. "I had to limit a lot of things last year as far as workload," Davis said. "I didn’t have a beer all of spring training last year. I went home and laid on the couch. And I usually fish for another six hours every day [after Mets workouts].
   13. Benji Posted: February 08, 2013 at 08:26 PM (#4365915)
My personal theory on what happened to Johan was the whole crazy overreaction to the extra pitches in the no-hitter. Pushing his next start so far not only screwed up his (and the whole staff's) routine, but I think really damaging was putting the fear of injury and fragility in his head. He never looked confident on the mound again. All they really had to do was closely monitor his next start and give him a smaller pitch count. But then the nitwits wouldn't have "our ace no-hitter star" to open the Yankee series. Like I said, just my gut feeling.
   14. The District Attorney Posted: February 08, 2013 at 09:41 PM (#4365930)
Wait, Davis was out of shape because instead of sitting on a boat and drinking, he sat on a couch and didn't drink?
   15. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: February 08, 2013 at 11:28 PM (#4365951)
Santana's days as a Cy Young contender are done but he's still a reasonable bet to be a quality pitcher.


I really think the issue is him staying healthy over the course of a season. If he can put together a 200 IP season, I think it's plausible that he'd be a Cy Young candidate. Whether he's ever healthy enough to pitch a full season at that level again is an entirely other question. Still, I think Johan is going to make some team very happy on a short term fairly low dollar value contract after next year.
   16. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 09, 2013 at 12:36 AM (#4365968)
I didn’t have a beer all of spring training last year.

That can't be good for a MLB player.
   17. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: February 09, 2013 at 01:08 AM (#4365977)
I was aware of the no-hitter when I posted but I didn't think it warranted mention. Santana pitched well for a few starts after his no-hitter before the horrible stretch to end the season. I don't really buy the no-hitter as the reason for his struggles.
   18. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 09, 2013 at 01:37 AM (#4365981)
A Red Sox fan once told me with absolute certainty that Pedro Martinez recklessly airing out his arm to strike out those five All-Star batters was what caused his arm troubles. That All-Star Game was played on July 13, 1999.
   19. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 09, 2013 at 02:59 AM (#4365992)
I was aware of the no-hitter when I posted but I didn't think it warranted mention. Santana pitched well for a few starts after his no-hitter before the horrible stretch to end the season.

No he didn't. He gave up 10 ER in 10 IP his next 2 starts. Being able to sprinkle in 2 good starts is entirely consisted with somebody who's arm is shot, but not yet so shot that he can't physically pitch. You are going to have days where it's less of a problem than others.

And they shut him down in August. Which indicates that he was indeed hurt. If they just thought he was tipping pitches, they would have let him work it out in games. It's not like they were playing for anything at that point (or any point prior really).
   20. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: February 09, 2013 at 06:13 AM (#4366000)
The conventional wisdom in NY was that going for the silly no-hitter wrecked him.

CW is CW. It's worth exactly that.

I was aware of the no-hitter when I posted but I didn't think it warranted mention. Santana pitched well for a few starts after his no-hitter before the horrible stretch to end the season.

No he didn't. He gave up 10 ER in 10 IP his next 2 starts.

And in the 3 starts after that gave up 2 ER in 20 IP. That's an ERA of 0.90.

That's sort of strange if his arm was in fact badly injured. He also bettered 100 pitches in each of those three starts. It was his sixth start after the no-no when he came out of the game early after hurting his ankle, iirc, against the Cubbies. It was only after that that he pitched badly, consistently.

.
   21. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 09, 2013 at 08:52 AM (#4366011)
And in the 3 starts after that gave up 2 ER in 20 IP. That's an ERA of 0.90.

That's sort of strange if his arm was in fact badly injured.

Or, they examined his arm after pitching like crap for 2 starts, found a problem and treated it as best as they could. Tried to reduce the inflammation, cortisone before starts etc. And he was able to go for a while, until he wasn't.

Or, he got knida lucky in those 3 starts. 8IP, 3H 0R with only 3 strikeouts against the Dodgers? I don't care who you are, that is some ridiculous BABIP luck.
   22. Conor Posted: February 09, 2013 at 08:55 AM (#4366012)
Santana spained his ankle against the cubs on July 6. From the no hitter to that game, he put up 30 innings with a 3.60 ERA with 25 K and 12 BB. Not great numbers, but pretty solid. Then, starting with the Cubs game, he made 5 starts, and allowed 33 runs in 19 IP.
You can slice and dice the numbers a little more, because Santana sprained his ankle in the 5th inning of the Cubs game. He had allowed 2 runs over the first 4 innings, not great, but ok. He then allowed 5 runs in two thirds of an inning, so from the ankle injury until he got shut down he allowed 31 runs in 15 IP. It's possible the no hitter did a lot of damage to his arm, but it was kind of gradual and he could have some decent starts, and then it reached the point where he had no chance, but the line is so clear after the ankle injury that I have to think it had a lot to do with it.

All of which is to say I think Johan can be better than he was last year, but I don't think he's going to pitch anything close to a full season. Best case scenario for the Mets would be he starts out similar to last year and they can try and move him, while eating a ton of salary.
   23. KronicFatigue Posted: February 09, 2013 at 11:53 AM (#4366074)
All arguments regarding Johan's dip in performance is going to suffer from small sample size issues. 10 ER in 10 innings immediately after is small, the "rest of june" is small, and even combined the "before the ankle injury" is small. It's possible that the no-hitter caused the decline and it's possible that it didn't.
   24. formerly dp Posted: February 09, 2013 at 12:32 PM (#4366088)
It's possible that the no-hitter caused the decline and it's possible that it didn't.
I think you've encompassed the full range of positions on the subject.
   25. Swoboda is freedom Posted: February 09, 2013 at 04:01 PM (#4366149)
I think you've encompassed the full range of positions on the subject.

and possibly he didn't.

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