To me this is a case of a guy who is projectable and does most things right while producing good results, then people are surprised when he struggles at higher levels. There are two big problems this video shows. First, he really comes over the top with no deception at all. Second, his arm action varies quite a bit in the back. Makes me wonder if it’s varying based on pitch type. If he’s wrapping with the slider and lengthening with the FB, that could explain the AA struggles. That’s the level where those seemingly minor flaws from eye level look huge because hitters and coaches in AA will key on them and hammer him.
I continue to be surprised at the skepticism with Eovaldi. I watched his first start (on TV) against Arizona and he dominated them for five innings with his FB. I thought his delivery was much smoother than the reports I’ve seen. Based on how many foul balls he generated by perhaps the best FB hitting team in the league, it looked like not only did he have top end velo, they weren’t picking it up. He reminded me of Joakim Soria with that deception and lanky body with the short torso and long legs. He also has a nice slider. He needs to clean up his command, but it was also much, much better than the reports I’ve read. I think once he realizes that he can dominate MLB hitters with the FB without trying to be so fine, he’ll take off.
Maybe Eovaldi gets hurt and Webster doesn’t, but frankly, I don’t think it matters because I think Webster’s seemingly minor flaws are the kind that to advanced hitters are not minor at all.
His arm action looks really clean, if short like you said. I would be more concerned with how tall he stays throughout all his deliveries. His velocity seems impressive, but with his back side never coming completely through, it would seem that all of his velocity is coming from his arm. That helps with command, as it’s one less component to have to align and time but can wreak havoc on an arm as it goes through the wringer of more than a few hundred innings. All that said, his arm action looks really clean, to me at least. He gets it up to high L and never lets it stop or slow down without having to launch from the bottom of the arm swing. That may counteract the strain from his lower half, at least enough to make him a viable pitcher, if not long term starter. Good report, thank you.
Comment by Tsunamijesus — November 1, 2011 @ 12:15 pm
I’m pretty sure I read this same article like..a month ago…..maybe just the video. AHA I think I’m thinking of a piece about young Dodger arms in general, with Webster as one of the highlights……anyways.
Had not seen the first one, Mike. Maybe it’s a matter of semantics. You seem to be more bullish on Eovaldi, but consider Webster to be a “more complete” prospect. I like the comp to Dempster, although I saw a much more dynamic FB (however, the slider is nowhere near Dempster’s yet).
I was originally going to shamelessly ask for you to do sort of a side-by-side for the two, because it seems to me they are examples of two pretty different guys worth being bullish about, but a direct comparison can explain a lot about the scouting process.