Daily Notes: Mostly Regarding Tony Cingrani’s First Start Ever

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

1. Featured Game: Miami at Cincinnati, 19:10 ET
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Game Odds, Translated into Winning Percentages

Featured Game: Miami at Cincinnati, 19:10 ET
Regarding This Game, Its Significance
The significance of this game — or part of its significance, at least — is how it represents the first ever major-league start for Cincinnati left-hander Tony Cingrani.

Regarding Tony Cingrani, Who That Is
Tony Cingrani is a pitcher who, prior to this season, posted entirely above-average minor-league numbers and, for three starts this season, has posted improbably excellent minor-league numbers.

Regarding Tony Cingrani, His Line Prior to This Season
Here’s Tony Cingrani’s minor-league line between 2011 and -12: 197.1 IP, 33.1% K, 7.6% BB, 1.73 ERA.

Regarding Tony Cingrani, His Line During This Season
Here’s Tony Cingrani’s line through three Triple-A starts this season (one of them truncated in preparation for today’s start): 14.1 IP, 54.2% K, 4.2% BB, 0.00 ERA.

Regarding Cingrani, His Repertoire
Unlike basically every starter who has success at the major-league level, Cingrani is heavily reliant on his fastball, having thrown the pitch, for example, over 90% of the time last season while facing 22 batters following a late-season promotion.

A Second Point Regarding Cingrani’s Repertoire
A second point regarding Cingrani’s repertoire is how he seems, according to J.D. Sussman, to have developed a curveball since last season — a pitch that, if not necessarily capable of doing much in terms of inducing whiffs, might at least complement his fastball.

A Point That Oughtn’t Be Ignored
A point which the reader will ignore at his or her own peril is that the very young and very talented Jose Fernandez is starting this game for Miami.

Fernandez’s Line This Year
Here’s Jose Fernandez’s line through two starts this season — his first ever (a) in the majors and also (b) above High-A ball: 11.0 IP, 31.7% K, 7.3% BB, 60.0% BB, 2.50 SIERA, 65 xFIP-, 0.5 WAR.

Action Footage: Jose Fernandez’s Changeup
Here’s action footage of Jose Fernandez’s changeup:


Action Footage: Jose Fernandez’s Curveball
Here’s action footage of Jose Fernandez’s curveball:


Broadcast Information
FanGraphs readers appear to prefer the Cincinanti Radio broadcast among all those available for this game.

Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
Chicago AL at Toronto | 19:07 ET
Is it possible that the author would use this brief preview of today’s MLB.TV free game between the White Sox and Blue Jays as an opportunity not only to (a) remind the reader that he (i.e. that same author) predicted before the season that Conor Gillaspie would win the American League Rookie of the Year award, but also to (b) note how that same Conor Gillaspie is currently leading all American League rookies in WAR? One never knows, of course, but the contingency is possible.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Toronto Radio.

Today’s Game Odds, Translated into Winning Percentages
Note: the very proprietary and also critically acclaimed NERD game scores will become available again at the end of April/beginning of May.

Here — for purposes entirely of entertainment and not for gambling, which is a Scourge of Propriety — are all of today’s games with moneyline odds (from relatively “sharp” sportsbook Pinnacle Sports) translated into projected winning percentages (and adjusted to account for the vigorish).

Games are listed in Eastern Time, as the author has recently bothered to learn how to convert time zones in Excel. Game presented in order of (a) National League and then (b) American League and, finally, then (c) interleague play.

***Note: because no odds were available for them on Wednesday night, the Texas-Chicago NL (14:20 ET, Alexi Ogando vs. Carlos Villanueva) and New York NL-Colorado (15:10 ET, Jon Niese vs. Jon Garland) games are omitted from the following.***

Game Teams Starters Line Win%
13:10 San Francisco Giants Matt Cain 1.74 56.4%
ET Milwaukee Brewers Yovani Gallardo 2.25 43.6%
19:05 St. Louis Cardinals Adam Wainwright 1.97 49.8%
ET Philadelphia Phillies Cole Hamels 1.95 50.2%
19:05 Atlanta Braves Julio Teheran 1.80 54.4%
ET Pittsburgh Pirates Jeff Locke 2.15 45.6%
19:10 Miami Marlins Jose Fernandez 2.42 40.5%
ET Cincinnati Reds Tony Cingrani 1.65 59.5%
15:40 Detroit Tigers Justin Verlander 1.63 60.3%
ET Seattle Mariners Hisashi Iwakuma 2.47 39.7%
19:05 Chicago White Sox Chris Sale 2.15 45.6%
ET Toronto Blue Jays R.A. Dickey 1.80 54.4%
19:05 Tampa Bay Rays David Price 1.80 54.4%
ET Baltimore Orioles Miguel Gonzalez 2.15 45.6%
19:05 Boston Red Sox Jon Lester 1.77 55.4%
ET Cleveland Indians Zach McAllister 2.20 44.6%
19:05 Arizona Diamondbacks Patrick Corbin 2.04 48.0%
ET New York Yankees Phil Hughes 1.89 52.0%

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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.

23 Responses to “Daily Notes: Mostly Regarding Tony Cingrani’s First Start Ever”

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  1. Bluebird in Boulder says:

    So with the Reds facing the MAAArlins I am guessing that his minor league rate stats are highly representative of the kinds of numbers he will be expected put up today?

    +20 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • TKDC says:

      The Daily Notes comments rarely get enough traffic to get five favorable votes, so I think this post deserves some recognition for pithiness; which is the purpose of this comment. Well done.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Frobozz says:

    “Entirely above-average minor league numbers”? Your standards must be awefully high, Cingrani has been nothing short of video-game dominant at every level of the minors.

    1.62 ERA, 4.6 K/BB, 0.93 WHIP over 200+ inning for his minor league career. I’d call those “Elite” not “above-average”. All his minor league numbers were compiled as a starter as well.

    Anyway, he’s an intriguing prospect who, by all reports, has some work to do on his secondary offerings but his primary offering is so dominant that he’s an exciting player to keep tabs on. He could make an immendiate impact in the Reds rotation, but admittedly, he’s a rookie with only a few innings above AA so there could be some bumps in the road.

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  3. Well-Beered Englishman says:

    Oh goodness. Is it even slightly possible that Reds-Marlins will be shown in Dallas? I need MLB.TV.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. KJ says:

    Can I getta NERD score on the Cingrani-Fernandez game? 23?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Wobatus says:

    Bartolo Colon threw 89.2% fastballs last year. More than 90% this year. He was serviceable. Cingrani doesn’t have that type of command. Colon throws a 2 and 4 seamer. Does Cingrani throw both?

    Detwiler threw 80% fastballs last year. But I think a lot of them were sinkers.

    Masterson threw 84.4% fastballs in 2011, a good year for him, but he also got a lot of value from his slider.

    David Price threw 74% fastballs in 2010. He threw some curves but his fastball was his most effective pitch.

    Cingrani likely won’t throw 90% fastballs starting. And it’s possible the curve and change don’t need to be stellar to be effective, either on their own or setting up the fastball.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Frobozz says:

      Yeah, I don’t think there is any way Cingrani can live on just throwing his fastball 90% of the time at the MLB level. He’ll likely have to mix in the other pitchers to keep hitters from sitting on the fastball.

      His velocity is good, but not great, sitting in the 92-95 range so this will be an interesting case study in how deception contributes to a pitcher’s success. He’s been able to utterly dominate minor league hitters with just his fastball which is fairly straight, he’s going to have to make some adjustments eventually to be good at the MLB level.

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      • Wobatus says:

        Yeah, I doubt he’d survive throwing it 90% of the time, but I don’t think he will throw it 90% of the time as a starter. That was as a reliever. And how the heck does Colon survive throwing it 90% of a the time at 90 mph as a righty?

        If he now has a get me over curve and changeup, who’s to say that won’t at least be enough to contrast with the fastball?

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    • Well-Beered Englishman says:

      Oddly enough I’ve just been reading up on Detwiler PITCHf/x. Yes, he throws almost all fastballs, but he has the plain fastball and the sinking fastball (which is one of baseball’s most dominant pitches).

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Oddly but-not-enough, I was reading The Common Pain of Surrealism and Death, which asserts that acetaminophen inhibits not just physical pain but also the neural mechanism that responds to “meaning threats” and distress caused by social rejection. They conjecture that had Zach Greinke swallowed two Tylenol, he would’ve been more relaxed when Quentin went nutty-cuckoo. In truth, they didn’t conclude that specifically, but it fits within their larger conjecture derived from two studies:

        “In Study 1, participants wrote about either their death or a control topic. In Study 2, participants watched either a surrealist film clip or a control film clip. In both studies, participants in the meaning-threat condition who had taken a placebo showed typical compensatory affirmations by becoming more punitive toward lawbreakers, whereas those who had taken acetaminophen, and those in the control conditions, did not.”

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  6. rd says:

    That change up is filthy. And that’s his third option…

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  7. Jason says:

    I still don’t understand the fascination with throwing 90% fastballs in 5 innings of relief, and why that is supposed to correspond in some way to what he’ll throw as a starter. Tiny sample size with an obvious, to the point of ridiculousness, skew.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • kreiger says:

      The fascination isn’t just the numbers. Although fwiw, what kind of K% can you actually project from someone of his profile? It’s almost blind guess, no?

      Moreover, while Cingrani’s stats have been great, just evaluating his player arc without reference to the way he’s done it misses the fundamental point of interest here. In much of the way that Tim Lincecum was supposed to be unable to maintain his mechanics, or that Dan Strailey was never supposed to miss upper level MiLB bats…same thing here. It’s the stats in light of the context–just as you’ve pointed out–he relies on a FB that *shouldn’t* produce great or maybe even very good results. But it does :)

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. Frobozz says:

    According to PitchFx, Cingrani threw his fastball 81.4% of the time last night with an average velocoty of 91.9 and max velocity of 94.7.

    It was a solid first performance despite the 102 pitches needed to get through 5 frames. I didn’t see the game, but did watch the Gamecast and he had trouble putting hitters away, with numerous batters getting to 8-10 pitches in a single at bat including a 10 pitch at-bat by Ruggiano that ended in a home run.

    It’s one start and hard to draw much from it but the 8 K’s in 5 innings looks pretty nice. I’m sure he will (have to) continue to work on his secondary stuff in order to keep hitters off hit fastball.

    Cingrani’s stock has been on the rise the past year or so and I wouldn’t necessary limit his ceiling to that of a 3rd or 4th starter just because that’s what the scouting reports were saying a year ago. Nobody thoguh Johnny Cueto or Gio Gonzalez were more than mid rotatation guys when they were in the minors either.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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