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Pitching Newsbeat

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

6-man rotations? Piggybacking starters? Pitching, post virus

SEATTLE (AP) — Even with major leaguers likely to receive some semblance of another spring training to get ready, teams are going to have to be creative with how they handle starting pitchers whenever baseball returns.

The last thing anyone wants is arm problems to arise almost immediately after baseball restarts—whenever that ends up being because of coronavirus outbreak.

“Possibly having a six-man rotation or something along those lines. Maybe a piggyback situation for us just those first couple outings,” Seattle left-hander Marco Gonzales said during a conference call on Tuesday.

 

QLE Posted: April 01, 2020 at 01:24 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, pitching, six-man rotation

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Unlocking Dylan Bundy’s Potential

The Angels acquired Dylan Bundy in the off-season in December, and Brent Maguire (formerly of the Athletic) writes a nice piece for about breaking down Bundy’s pitch selection and swinging strike percentages of various pitches to see if maybe there’s some unlocked potential that Halos can squeeze out of the former first-rounder…

“Acquired in a trade this past December, Bundy represented the biggest addition to the Angels pitching staff. That may sound underwhelming given the Angels atrocious pitching performance last year but Bundy is a quality arm who will make an immediate impact.

Bundy’s pedigree is well-known…

JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: February 29, 2020 at 11:42 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: analysis, angels, dylan bundy, pitching

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

New ‘smart mound’ can help analyze pitchers’ efficiency

FARMINGTON, Conn. (AP) — Central Connecticut pitcher Michael Delease was throwing fastballs inside the Center for Motion Analysis and wasn’t getting much movement on his pitches.

His problem was quickly diagnosed by coaches and scientists looking at data gathered by the instrumented pitching mound from which he was throwing, the electrodes attached to his body and the motion-capture cameras in the lab.

A slight arm angle adjustment and moments later, Delease’s ball was jumping.

“Just a couple little tweaks and my spin rate went up by a few hundred RPMs,” the senior said. “It really improved it. That’s leaps and bounds from where I was at.”

Something for those curious about the spread of technology in association with the game.

 

QLE Posted: February 11, 2020 at 01:10 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: pitching, smart mound, technology

Thursday, February 06, 2020

The Biggest Holes on Contending Teams, Part Two: Pitching

A sample of the analysis on offer:

Los Angeles Angels
The Hole: The Angels had only a single pitcher throw more than 100 innings last year. That’s bad. What’s worse is that it was Trevor Cahill, who had a 5.98 ERA and still beat his FIP (6.13), good for a -0.8 WAR effort over 102.1 innings. He’s a free agent at the moment, and that was the pitcher the Angels used most.

It’s hard to disentangle this from Tyler Skaggs’ tragic death, and I don’t intend this to be an indictment of team building, or a dig at the franchise’s response. The team’s 2019 season was tragic, and those woes need not carry into 2020.

Despite a lot of churn, however, they aren’t exactly running out an inspiring rotation. Shohei Ohtani is back, and projects to be their best pitcher on a rate basis, but he’ll be on a strict innings limit. Dylan Bundy is somehow only 27, but it’s hard to see anything but an average pitcher with injury risk to the downside given his uneven career.

Julio Teheran is probably a FIP beater, but with Steamer projecting him for a 5.47 FIP, that isn’t enough. Andrew Heaney is basically Dylan Bundy, only a year older (somehow) — a guy you’d like as an innings-eater but with a checkered injury history.

 

QLE Posted: February 06, 2020 at 01:11 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: holes, pitching

Thursday, January 30, 2020

MLB rule changes 2020: Phillies most affected by the new 3-batter rule

MLB’s new three-batter rule for relievers should have a fairly significant impact on the way managers manage and pitching coaches handle their bullpens.

To review, the new rule is that a pitcher entering after the starting pitcher must face at least three batters or pitch to the end of the current inning. So, for example, if Adam Morgan comes in with two on and two outs in the sixth inning and gets the third out, he does not need to come back out for the seventh.

This rule will obviously most affect relief specialists. Let’s use Jose Alvarez as an example. Last season, Alvarez was one of the few Phillies pitchers who didn’t take a step back from the prior year. He had a 3.36 ERA in 67 appearances. In 14 of those appearances, Alvarez faced one or two batters. It’s why he amassed just 59 innings in those 67 appearances.

As best as they could, the Phillies tried to avoid having Alvarez face right-handed hitters. But it still happened frequently because there are more righties than lefties and because other teams routinely try to gain the platoon advantage by pinch-hitting.

Wait- this is a bad thing?

 

QLE Posted: January 30, 2020 at 01:32 AM | 126 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies, pitching, rule changes

Friday, December 13, 2019

Angels make splash with Anthony Rendon, but they still have a big problem

Cutting to the chase:

The last time an Angels rotation collectively posted an ERA below 4.00 was in 2015. In 2019, that number was closer to 6.00 than 5.00.

Here are the Angels rotation ERAs and rankings over the last four seasons.

2016: 4.60 (20th)
2017: 4.38 (12th)
2018: 4.34 (18th)
2019: 5.64 (29th)

The Angels win totals during those seasons: 74, 80, 80 and 72. That means they have effectively wasted several of Trout’s prime seasons in large part because the rotation has been average to really bad. Despite what Rendon brings to the table, they are poised to continue wasting seasons if the rotation isn’t upgraded.

So, how would all of you fix this problem?

QLE Posted: December 13, 2019 at 12:41 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, anthony rendon, pitching

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Why MLB’s New Pitching Restrictions Are Bad for the Game

The worst, most unnecessary baseball rule foisted upon managers and true fans of the game has not been implemented yet. There is still time and hope.

MLB announced almost a year ago a plan that all pitchers must face a minimum of three batters per appearance or pitch to the end of the half inning. The MLB Players Association agreed not to challenge the rule as part of negotiations involving roster size and scheduling.

On its website MLB explained the rule is “an effort to reduce the number of pitching changes and, in turn, cut down the average time per game.”

To go all 19th century on you, that is pure poppycock. The rule will do great harm to the organic strategy of the game and do nothing perceptible to time of game.

Mind you, at this point many of us are inclined to hold any argument Tom Verducci makes as suspect, so….

 

QLE Posted: December 04, 2019 at 03:55 PM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: pitching, rule changes, the sky is falling

Friday, October 25, 2019

If World Series is the goal, Yankees need to get Cole-blooded and get some pitching

NEW YORK — It has become an annual event, this news conference held during an off-day while two other teams play in the World Series, at which the New York Yankees try to explain why things didn’t quite work out for them this year but will surely be better next year. Instead of a championship ticker-tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes, the Yankees offer you a parade of excuses in the bowels of a deserted Yankee Stadium.

“One hit this way, one bounce that way and maybe it’s a different conversation,’’ said manager Aaron Boone, speaking the language of losers throughout history.

“This is a championship-caliber team,’’ GM Brian Cashman said. “Just because we lost doesn’t diminish the fact that this was a championship-caliber roster that was capable of winning the whole thing.’’

And yet, the fact remains that for the 10th consecutive October, the World Series transpires without the Yankees, a drought that would seem like an eyeblink to most teams — it’s 33 years between flag-raisings for the Mets, for instance — but in the annals of a team that bills itself with some justification as The Greatest Franchise in the History of Sports, this would have been a source of shame in a previous era.

Mind you, it’s not like firing everyone every time things went wrong worked for those teams either, given the rather telling aspect involving how the two Yankees dynasties built during George Steinbrenner’s ownership were actually built…..

 

QLE Posted: October 25, 2019 at 12:26 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: entitled fans, gerrit cole, pitching, world series, yankees

Monday, October 21, 2019

Yankees’ Season Blows Up With Starting Pitcher Void Never Filled

HOUSTON — Twenty minutes after José Altuve hit the walk-off home run that sent the Astros to the World Series and the Yankees back to the Bronx, Minute Maid Park continued to roar. The field echoed with cheers as Altuve accepted the ALCS MVP trophy. The concourses reverberated as orange-clad fans congratulated one another and floated into the night. The parking lots buzzed.

The only quiet place in the ballpark could be found in the bowels below the third-base dugout, where the Yankees gathered in their clubhouse, silent but for the sounds of hands clapping shoulders as they said their goodbyes.

Eyes red, reliever Zack Britton contemplated what had just slipped away. The Astros’ 6–4 win had seemed almost unfathomable just 35 minutes earlier, after New York first baseman DJ LeMahieu lined a cutter into the rightfield bleachers to tie the game in the top of the ninth inning. That was it, the Yankees were sure. Momentum was on their side. They would force a Game 7.

Then came the bottom of the ninth. Closer Aroldis Chapman got two outs. He walked George Springer on five pitches. He ran the count to 2–1 on Altuve. He hung a slider.

Some thoughts on the roots of a loss.

 

QLE Posted: October 21, 2019 at 12:19 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: alcs, pitching, yankees

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Capital hill: Astros, Nats put World Series eyes on pitching

Gerrit Cole, Max Scherzer and a slew of aces get the World Series started in Houston, then the scene shifts to Capitol Hill.

But with Justin Verlander, Stephen Strasburg and all these electric arms, might as well call it capital hill.

Because in this Year of the Home Run, the focus of the 2019 Fall Classic is on the mound.

A throw-down for the ages, maybe. With a neat twist, too: The Astros and Washington Nationals share a spring training complex — they met in the exhibition opener, and Scherzer gave up a homer to the first batter of the game.

A consideration of the World Series to come, and an item that could end up being very important about it.


Sunday, October 13, 2019

What the Cubs can learn from the 2019 MLB postseason so far

For the 10 teams that qualify for MLB’s postseason, October represents a chance to climb baseball’s mountain and secure a championship. For the 20 other teams sitting at home, though, October is a chance to evaluate those in the Big Dance.

Less than two weeks into the postseason, here’s some things that the Cubs can take away from the action thus far.

1. Starting pitching matters

With bullpens being relied on more than ever, starting pitchers aren’t used the same way as just a few seasons ago. The Brewers rode their bullpen all the way to Game 7 of the NLCS last season, while the Rays used an “opener” (a reliever who starts a game and pitches 1-3 innings) in Game 4 of the ALDS this season – beating the Astros 4-1.

Mind you, one of these points is one which learning from seems to be avoided at all costs, so…..

QLE Posted: October 13, 2019 at 12:38 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, managerial decision-making, pitching, playoffs

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

How the Astros Nabbed Zack Greinke and Built a Postseason Rotation for the Ages

At 7 a.m. Central on July 31, Gina Luhnow descended the stairs of her house in Houston with her four-year-old son, Henry, in tow. When she had woken up, her husband, Jeff, was not in the bedroom, and soon she and Henry discovered why. He was in his home office, where he’d been experimenting with different combinations of names and numbers and pinging various members of his staff for several hours already—three hours, in fact, after a virtually sleepless night. The 12-cup carafe of Colombian dark roast he’d brewed had only one or two cups left. “Oh, boy,” Gina said. It was going to be another one of those trade deadlines.

The 53-year-old Luhnow, in his eighth season as the general manager of the Astros, is often accused of being entirely left-brained, and his sometimes bloodless analytical leanings served him well as he transformed the terrible club he’d taken over into the 2017 World Series champion, and then a consistent power. Even so, he swears he internalizes public opinion, and everywhere he went in midsummer—in radio interviews, down onto the field at Minute Maid Park, whenever he walked past a screen tuned to the MLB Network—he heard the same thing. Which was that even though the Astros seemed destined to become the sixth team ever to win 100 games in three straight seasons, and even though they already had the two best starting pitchers in the American League, they still needed to trade for another quality starter. The worst part was that everyone who said that was absolutely right.

He had acquired his dominant one-two rotational punch via trade. Justin Verlander came from the Tigers with officially two seconds to go before the waiver deadline—a secondary deadline that no longer exists—in late August of 2017, and Gerrit Cole arrived from the Pirates in a less stressful deal finalized the following January. Over their two seasons together, Verlander and Cole have ranked first and second (in some order) in the AL—and, in most of these categories, in the majors—in ERA, wins, strikeouts, batting average against and WHIP. Luhnow’s third starter, the veteran lefty Wade Miley, had at the time far outperformed his bargain one-year, $4.5 million contract; he was 9–4, with a 3.06 ERA.

But no one else had stepped up to secure the fourth, let alone the fifth, spot in the rotation, not Collin McHugh, not Brad Peacock, not Framber Valdéz, not Corbin Martin. Luhnow did not believe he needed another pitcher in order to win the AL West for the third consecutive season; the Astros were already 7 1/2 games up on the second-place A’s and had the league’s best run differential. He needed someone who could reliably start one or two games in a seven-game playoff series, four outings of which would undeniably go to Verlander and Cole. He needed someone who was as good or better than Miley.

A case study concerning the front-office search for pitching.

 

QLE Posted: October 02, 2019 at 12:33 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, pitching, playoffs, zack greinke

 

 

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