Daily Notes, Ft. Three of Bauer’s Reverse Sliders

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Daily Notes.

1. GIF Explosion: Three of Trevor Bauer’s “Reverse Sliders”
2. Information: Top Mexican Pacific League Reliever, Mike Benacka
3. SCOUT Leaderboards: Mexican Pacific League

GIF Explosion: Three of Trevor Bauer’s “Reverse Sliders”
Right-hander Trevor Bauer was traded from Arizona to Cleveland on Tuesday as part of a three-team deal that sent, among others, Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds and Drew Stubbs to the Indians. Among his repertoire is an excellent curveball — notable examples of which pitch the author examined yesterday in these pages.

Also among Bauer’s repertoire is something known as a “reverse slider” — a pitch not entirely dissimilar to a changeup, except also different than a changeup. Below are three notable examples of that pitch (probably) from his (i.e. Bauer’s) first four major-league starts — where “notable” is determined by a combination of (a) result, (b) movement, (c) strength of opponent, (d) camera angle, and (e) the author’s infallible aesthetic judgment.

All three of these pitches feature a velocity between 84.9 and 85.9 mph. They also feature armside run in the 3-to-5 inch range.

3. Against Bobby Abreu, July 8th

2. Against Everth Cabrera, July 3rd

1. Against Michael Bourn, June 28th

Information: Top Mexican Pacific League Reliever, Mike Benacka
Right-handed reliever Michael Benacka, who turned 30 in August, has posted the most impressive per-inning regressed line among all Mexican Pacific League (MPL) pitchers this fall, having recorded a 48:19 strikeout-to-walk ratio in just 31.2 innings. The walk totals, of course, merit concern; however, strikeout rates tend to become reliable in smaller samples and Benacka’s regressed 34.5% strikeout rate is the best in the MPL by about seven percentage points.

“Who is Michael Benacka?” is the sort of question a reasonable American might ask. “An undrafted alumnus of Lindenwood University,” appears to be one answer. “A one-time farmhand in the Oakland system,” appears to be another.

As of 2008 — when Baseball America profiled Benacka twice (here and here) over the span of a couple months — Benacka threw an 86-88 mph fastball with a plus change. PITCHf/x data at Brooks Baseball from an unspecified date bears this out: according to said data, Benacka threw the change 18 times out of 44 total pitches thrown and got swinging strikes on five of those (i.e. five of those changeups).

SCOUT Leaderboards: Mexican Pacific League
Below are the current SCOUT leaderboards for the Mexican Pacific League. (Ages as of July 1st, 2012. Players listed with most recent team. Click here for more on what is SCOUT.)

SCOUT Leaderboard: Mexican Pacific League Hitters
Below is the current SCOUT batting leaderboard for the Mexican Pacific League. SCOUT+ is calculated using regressed home-run, walk, and strikeout rates, where 100 is average and above 100 is above average.

Player Team Age Pos PA xHR% xBB% xK% SCOUT+
Barbaro Canizares MEX 32 1B 215 5.8% 16.7% 11.6% 170
Jesse Gutierrez IND 34 1B 215 6.2% 6.5% 12.1% 142
Saul Soto MEX 33 C 202 4.6% 17.3% 22.3% 136
Chris Colabello Twins 28 1B 198 5.7% 11.1% 20.2% 134
Cory Aldridge MEX 33 OF 217 6.5% 15.2% 31.3% 134
Ramiro Pena NYA 26 SS 185 2.8% 16.2% 12.4% 130
Marlon Byrd N/A 34 CF 200 6.0% 10.5% 23.0% 130
Jose Amador MEX 32 2B 155 3.8% 11.6% 12.3% 128
Jesse Castillo MEX 29 3B 189 3.1% 11.5% 9.0% 127
Jorge Cantu Angels 30 1B 164 5.3% 11.7% 23.2% 126

SCOUT Leaderboard: Mexican Pacific League Pitchers
Below is the current SCOUT pitching leaderboard for the Mexican Pacific League. SCOUT- is calculated using regressed strikeout and walk rates where 100 is average and below 100 is above average.

Player Team Age G GS IP TBF xK% xBB% SCOUT-
Michael Benacka IND 29 27 0 31.2 129 34.5% 10.5% 58
Esmailin Caridad Cubs 28 29 1 33.0 140 27.2% 8.7% 73
Adrian Ramirez MEX 24 29 0 27.2 115 26.8% 8.7% 74
Rafael Diaz MEX 41 18 5 37.1 165 26.0% 8.8% 76
Esteban Haro MEX 26 19 0 25.1 104 25.4% 8.9% 78
Hassan Pena Nationals 27 22 0 21.1 90 24.3% 8.9% 81
Edwin Salas MEX 20 10 3 25.2 96 23.7% 8.5% 82
Mario Mendoza MEX 33 30 0 26.0 104 24.1% 9.1% 82
Marco Duarte Red Sox 25 11 10 49.2 225 24.0% 9.2% 83
Ryan Brasier Angels 24 24 0 25.2 103 23.6% 8.9% 83

SCOUT Leaderboard: Mexican Pacific League Pitchers (Starters)
Here is the SCOUT pitching leaderboard for the Mexican Pacific League, but only populated with pitchers who’ve made at least half of their appearances as starts.

Player Team Age G GS IP TBF xK% xBB% SCOUT-
Marco Duarte Red Sox 25 11 10 49.2 225 24.0% 9.2% 83
Nick Additon Cardinals 24 10 10 53.0 229 21.4% 9.2% 90
Rolando Valdez MEX 26 11 11 56.1 250 19.2% 8.1% 93
Javier Martinez MEX 29 10 10 55.1 245 21.2% 10.2% 93
Irwin Delgado MEX 23 10 9 41.2 185 20.6% 9.9% 94
Juan Delgadillo MEX 29 10 10 62.0 260 18.8% 8.5% 95
Arturo Lopez MEX 29 10 10 55.1 246 19.1% 8.9% 95
Edgar Osuna N/A 24 9 9 44.2 193 19.2% 9.0% 95
Bobby Cramer MEX 2012 7 7 35.0 155 19.4% 9.3% 96
Amauri Sanit MEX 32 10 10 57.2 226 19.1% 9.0% 96

Print This Post

Carson Cistulli has just published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

21 Responses to “Daily Notes, Ft. Three of Bauer’s Reverse Sliders”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. Dan Rozenson says:

    For those interested, here’s a super slow-mo of his reverse slider mechanics/release http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teBgYthsFVA

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Jeff Akston says:

    Isn’t a “reverse slider” just a “screwball”?

    At least that’s the movement that a screwball had in the baseball video games I played a decade ago. Slider and screwball had 180 degree different breaks horizontally.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • TKDC says:

      “screwball” in not PC, dude.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Resolution says:

      Screwballs are generally slower I think. This pitch just seems more like a power changeup or something…

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Nitram Odarp says:

        Kind of a cross between a sinker and a change. He throws is like a sinker, but has his ring finger on the ball as well. It also moves more laterally than a traditional sinker because of his high arm slot.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Bip says:

      In my understand, a screwball was more of a reverse-curveball, meaning it had a lot of drop as well, which this pitch doesn’t.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Garrett says:

        I concur. That is a screwball. It’s too hard to be a change up and the break to the arm side like that certainly fits no other pitch. As for whether its more like a (reverse) slider or curve, keep mind two things:

        1. There IS no canonical differentiator between a “hard curve” and a “slow slider.” It’s a spectrum.

        2. Saying “a screwball is more like XXX” is ridiculous. You’re attempting to describe a pitch that you haven’t ever actually seen the pitch, and those. Few that you’ve seen may very well have deviated from an “according to Hoyle” Screwball, cuz there’s so little information on throwing it. The only guy I’ve ever seen with my own eyes throw a screwball was F. Valenzuela.

        Point is nobody really knows what a screwball looks like, so it’s impossible to gainsay the only info we DO HAVE: the break and the velocity.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Big Jgke says:

    That last pitch will haunt my dreams.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. TX Ball Scout says:


    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • maguro says:

      Yes, this. Can someone explain how this pitch is different from a changeup?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • LR says:

      I would have to agree. Not sure how Bauer grips this but if you throw a circle change and let the last 3 fingers create counter clockwise rotation, you can get similar action. You don’t even have to pronate.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. fjtorres says:

    Christy Mathewson would be proud.
    That sure looks like his classic fadeaway.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. masonzippo says:

    Whatever it’s named, it’s a nice pitch. And the bottom drops out of the first two, but the third one seems to rise.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. AK7007 says:

    Remind me again why you would trade a guy with a pitch like that for somebody with Brandon Crawford upside?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. Dr_Caligari says:

    I wish the Cubs had gotten involved in that trade for him. Not because I think he is necessarily going to be the greatest pitcher (who knows at this point?) but because that pitch is awesome to watch.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. Bip says:

    Honestly it reminds me more of a splitter than anything else that I’ve regularly seen.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. Terry Miencier says:

    We watched his first professional game in Visalia, CA. He is a very special talent. Youth and pride are blocking his path toward baseball success.

    Vote -1 Vote +1