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  1. He’s really Medlen with those batters minds.

    Comment by Jack — August 29, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

  2. Enough with the puns for Kris sakes.

    Comment by Just the facts, sir — August 29, 2012 @ 2:20 pm

  3. Boooooooooooo!

    Comment by Seamus — August 29, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

  4. With the way he has been pitching, Medlen could be a huge part of Braves pitching rotation that was looking pretty suspect after Hudson. Presumable playoff rotation (if Barves have luxury of setting it) would be Hudson, Medlen, Hanson, Minor maybe?

    Still, with the fastball where it is now, I have to wonder if “above average pitcher for years to come” might be a bit of a stretch. It would be easy to lose that confidence in the change if he’s establishing the fastball at 88/87 instead of 91/90. Maybe he sustains current performance, or maybe he loses a MPH a year and loses effectiveness a la Hanson/JJ.

    In any case, I’ll enjoy watching him down the stretch. Nice writeup Ben.

    Comment by whatzitmather — August 29, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

  5. I think Maholm is in there instead of Hanson, but otherwise that’s right. Medlen has been pretty awesome to watch. It just shows you (1) you can get great results by limiting walks, and (2) K% is way better indicator of strikeout ability than K/9 for a pitcher like Medlen. Medlen this year has sort of been what Braves fans always hoped Jurrens would be, a control freak with great movement and change of speeds.

    Comment by Brent — August 29, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

  6. I’m a moron, somehow missed Maholm. Thanks.

    Comment by whatzitmather — August 29, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

  7. Awkward sentence construction…
    “15% of his changeups coming against right-handed hitters and 25% of his changeups coming against left-handed hitters in his six starts ” leaving the remaining 60% of his changeups to be thrown to switch hitters or amputees.

    Comment by Mr. Sanchez — August 29, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

  8. And yet he’s still not available on FanGraphs: the Game!

    Comment by gobears — August 29, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

  9. Still can’t understand the Braves mucking around with him so much. I know that he’s not THIS good as a starter, and they certainly couldn’t have expected this, but you’d think they’d recognize his value as a starting pitcher. But they send him down to work on stretching to start for them, and then they recall him afterward and he goes back to pitching an inning, or an inning and two-thirds, at a time, with no change in his usage. Julio Teheran was called up to make a start instead, struggled, and was sent back down, and Medlen remained in the bullpen.

    Team was still looking for starting pitching help, so Jair Jurrjens, despite his failure to get out hitters at AAA, gets recalled to fill that spot as Meds stays in the pen. He had a few starts where he skated by while Ben Sheets was also added. Ben Sheets makes his debut on the 15th, so it’s not like the Braves got him to “save” Medlen, who would make his first start just two weeks later. In fact, Randall Deldago came back to pitch a double-header on the 21st, just ten days before Medlen made his first start as a result of Jair Jurrjens being repeatedly drilled. Medlen apparently wasn’t considered for this spot, as he was still being used to throw one inning at a time, at that point.

    Then, the very day that Medlen makes his first start for the Braves, they make a trade to add ANOTHER starting pitcher, essentially threatening to take his spot in the rotation as soon as he’d gotten there. They then went to a 6 man rotation because they couldn’t seem to make obvious choices, and were still debating sending him back to the pen even at that point.

    Makes you wonder if this front office is really all that good at developing pitchers, despite their reputation.

    Comment by Bronnt — August 29, 2012 @ 5:08 pm

  10. Hey, those’re fair t’medlen puns.

    Comment by Brazen Reader — August 29, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

  11. It’s possible that the reason the Braves were so hesitant to throw him in the rotation is that he’s still coming back from Tommy John surgery. He had the surgery at roughly the same time as Strasburg, but his road back has been much slower, and it could be due to Wren leveraging his pitching depth to avoid needing to rush him back. The Braves have enough pitching depth available that he can afford to plug in young arms, trade for decent pitchers a la Maholm, and not need Medlen to throw 180+ innings in his first year back from surgery.

    Comment by GTStD — August 29, 2012 @ 5:26 pm

  12. I don’t think it’s a statement about developing pitchers. Reeding the interviews from Gonzalez made it pretty clear he just didn’t understand the relative value of starters and relievers. It was obvious he way overvalued having a “flexible” guy in the pen, even while the rotation took on water faster than the Titanic.

    Comment by deadpool — August 29, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

  13. You’d hope the actual brains in the organization, Frank Wren, would be making all the decisions about who’s in the rotation and who’s in the ‘pen.

    Anyway, to speak to Bronnt’s larger point, I think it was completely understandable to start Medlen in the bullpen, given that he was coming off TJ. Far better approach than what the Nationals have done with Strasburg. But I agree that the decisionmaking since sending Medlen down to stretch out has been inexplicable, particularly the decision to put him back in the pen after that Gwinnett trip because the fourth and fifth starters (I forget, was it JJ and Minor or Delgado and Minor at that time?) each turned in one effective start.

    I guess I’m just glad that they landed on the right answer in the end, and that Medlen is pitching so well that it would be impossible to move him back to the pen.

    Comment by Anon21 — August 29, 2012 @ 6:34 pm

  14. Kris Medlen = Meld Sinker.

    Gotta love a little righty, if just for their scarcity.

    Medlen looked about 14 when he came up but I think he’d pass for 18 now.

    He’s fun to watch. He gets the ball from the catcher, gets the sign, throws, repeats. He fields his position. He’s got a nasty pickoff move. Just ask SD.

    Comment by xdog — August 30, 2012 @ 11:58 am

  15. xdog brings up a great point. Medlen faced 3 above the minimum against SD, allowing 5 hits (0 walks) but erasing 2 with pick-offs. Awesome.

    His stretch of 27 2/3s scoreless innings has been great to watch as a barves fan. Keep it going!

    Comment by SummerOfGeorge — August 30, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

  16. A big reason that Medlen has made such a jump this year is that his curveball has turned into a consistent plus offering, and the change is still filthy.

    I like the Maddux comparisons, of course it’s a bit of a stretch, but there are certainly similarities. What I have yet to see mentioned in the comparison is a big reason why his change up is so great. His 2-seamer moves a lot like Maddux’s fastball, it has that left to right fade (Maddux’s moved more left to right, but Medlen has a bit of dive on his). It looks awfully similar to his change up, just quicker and with less dive on it. This makes it awfully difficult to distinguish the two until it’s too late.

    Comment by MatM — August 30, 2012 @ 10:59 pm

  17. Been an awesome fantasy pickup ill tell thee that!

    Comment by swfcdan — September 2, 2012 @ 8:53 am

  18. Compare Medlen’s 7 starts this year to Greinke’s first 7 starts of ’09. It’s eerie. I note that both their BABIPs over these stretches were in the .270 to .280 range (I could not get exact splits for the 7-GS stretches on BABIP):

    Medlen: 35 days, 7 GS, 49.2IP, 50K, 5BB, 3ER, 6W, 2CG, 1SO, 0.54ERA

    Greinke: 35 days, 7 GS, 45IP, 54K, 8BB, 2ER, 6W, 3CG, 2SO, 0.40ERA

    Comment by bodie — September 3, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

  19. Figures, I left out Greinke’s 7th start in my rundown. It’s closer when included

    Greinke: 7GS, 53IP, 59K, 8BB, 3ER, 6W, 4CG, 2SO, 0.51ERA

    Comment by bodie — September 3, 2012 @ 9:59 pm

  20. If you are trying to measure flukiness over a 40 IP sample, you should use xFIP, not FIP. FIP uses actual HR allowed, which is not predictive using a 40 IP history. (Medlen has allowed no HR during this stretch, which is driving his ERA and FIP so low).

    Comment by evo34 — September 4, 2012 @ 12:06 am

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