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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Mitch Williams: Rangers have some work to do

Latest Ugly Thing from the Wild Thing.

sd

The other problem I see in Texas is the pitching coach. I like Mike Maddux very much. But he has to realize that not every pitcher can be a sinkerball pitcher. His brother, Greg, was probably the best ever. But when they have the ability to throw 97 mph, you can’t ask these pitchers to be sinkerballers. First of all, the two-seam fastball is harder to command than a four-seamer. Also, it is meant for the ball to be put in play, and balls put in play can find holes. There is a time and place to try and get a ground ball. But you can’t take a kid with the ability to throw 97 and ask him to throw 91-92 with less command.

They have an owner in Nolan Ryan who had a “big gun” and he shot it. If you have a pitcher with the ability to blow guys away and have better command, you have to let him be who he is. For the pitchers who command a two-seam fastball, it is a great way to attack a lineup. But for the guys who can’t command it, it is a way to practice backing up third base a lot.

I played 11 years in the big leagues and never threw a single two-seam fastball. I had a hard enough time commanding a four-seam fastball. I know pitch counts are all the rage, but I was always of the belief that if, at the end of the at-bat, the hitter was out. I had done my job. No matter how many pitches it took!

So of all the teams that still have work left to do this winter, I believe the Rangers have the most.

Repoz Posted: December 29, 2012 at 04:23 AM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rangers

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: December 29, 2012 at 06:31 AM (#4334110)
Sorry, given most sinkerballers are good control pitchers and a lot of high fastball pitchers aren't, I'm not buying the 2-seamer harder to control than the 4-seamer. And, if it is true, it seems they learn to control it.

But Mitch Williams is an expert on not controlling pitches so maybe he knows best.
   2. Bug Selig Posted: December 29, 2012 at 08:56 AM (#4334115)
I think you're making an "all else being equal" assumption that isn't there.

High fastball pitchers throw hard. Sinkerballers don't. The fastball guys generally don't need fine command to become major-leaguers - just the ability to throw strikes. Sinkerballers are the guys with generic stuff who survive the weeding-out process largely because they have the command to hit spots. It isn't in any way surprising that they can hit spots.

A good analogy is that tall basketball players have no inherent disadvantage shooting a 3-pointer but they do it with less success because the shorter player has to be able to do it to even compete at high levels.

   3. Bob from Indiana Posted: December 29, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4334217)
A good analogy is that tall basketball players have no inherent disadvantage shooting a 3-pointer but they do it with less success because the shorter player has to be able to do it to even compete at high levels.


I don't know. Isn't the angle where the basketball drops into the basket better for short guys.
   4. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 29, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4334225)
Rangers were 21st in MLB in Pitcher GB% on Fangraphs in 2012. Either Williams is way off base or Maddux is really unsuccessful in forcing pitchers to rely on the sinker.
   5. J.R. Wolf Posted: December 29, 2012 at 08:33 PM (#4334366)
"I could never hit spots so I find it unreasonable that these guys are being expected to do so."
   6. Walt Davis Posted: December 30, 2012 at 05:48 AM (#4334538)
High fastball pitchers throw hard. Sinkerballers don't.

Actually, no, I'm thinking of guys like Kevin Brown, Carlos Zambrano (in his prime), etc. Even Wang was supposedly cranking it up there in the low 90s.

And that many hard throwers are both high fastball and high BB pitchers is not evidence that the high fastball is easier to control.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: December 30, 2012 at 06:05 AM (#4334539)
Also the 2012 Texas Rangers:

113 ERA+ (3rd)
8 K/9 (4th)
2.8 BB/9 (tied 2nd)
K/BB (4th)
GB/FB below league average
IP% league average
HR% league average
HR/FB league average

In 2011, everything was pretty much the same (fewer Ks but that was a league-wide change in 2012).

There's no evidence that the Rangers are a ground ball, ball in play team. There's no evidence their pitchers are having difficulty with control. There's no evidence they aren't K'ing their fair share of batters. Whatever Maddux is doing seems to be working pretty well.
   8. GGIAS (aka Poster Nutbag) Posted: December 30, 2012 at 07:16 AM (#4334542)
Agree with #7. Wasn't the pitching a problem in Texas BEFORE Maddux came in? Now, it seems like he's turned that into a very competitive staff. I know having great arms helps, but I have to think Maddux has carried his share of that load into getting them into such good shape.
   9. Bug Selig Posted: December 30, 2012 at 10:29 AM (#4334560)
Actually, no, I'm thinking of guys like Kevin Brown, Carlos Zambrano (in his prime), etc. Even Wang was supposedly cranking it up there in the low 90s.


I don't think any of those guys were ever thought of as control artists - they were overpowering in their own way.

And that many hard throwers are both high fastball and high BB pitchers is not evidence that the high fastball is easier to control.


High BB 88mph sinkerballers never sniff AA.

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