Kenny Williams and Mike Rizzo Fall For Different Types

Earlier today, I documented the rotations with average fastballs quicker than their pen pals. Since the inspiration came from thinking about Tim Wakefield handing the ball off to Daniel Bard, then it only feels right to flip the tables and look at the bullpens that really, really throw harder than their rotations. Note: for my purposes, “really, really” means at least three miles per hour. These numbers came from the team leaderboards and the only math done is subtracting the rotation’s velocity from the bullpen’s velocity. As you can imagine, those numbers came out positive, so no adjustment necessary.

Nationals 3.4 MPH

A little surprising because Stephen Strasburg torched catcher leather before his shoulder robotics gave out, but remember that Livan Hernandez resides here. As does Drew Storen (and so there too did Brian Bruney for a limited time and Matt Capps), and with no disrespect intended towards Storen or those other hard throwers in the pen, allow me to share the real culprit here. You see, the Nationals have had 10 pitchers start games for them this season that hold average fastballs under 90 MPH. Think about that, really, just think about that. How many teams have used 10 starters this season? How many have had, say, three starters with velocity that low? Five? Nine? Double digits? I do not know how that stacks up relative to other teams or historically, but that seems like a lot to me.

Giants 3.5 MPH

This can be described pretty easily: it’s all Barry Zito’s fault. Zito is one of the most scorned players in the league (in large part for his own rational decision making) and as such I tend to avoid cracking on him, but even I have to admit I laughed at Marc Normandin’s quote entrenched in this article. Funny is funny. Sorry, Barry.

White Sox 4.3 MPH

Not much about Kenny Williams is predictable. When most think he’s going left, he darts right. When folks expect him to sit, he stands. When they say jump, he hovers lightly over the surface. But one thing that is entirely predictable is what kind of bullpen arm the White Sox will add whenever possible. The only requirement is to throw hard. Call them the anti-Nationals because the White Sox currently have five different relievers with heaters averaging over 95 MPH and three more over 94.

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6 Responses to “Kenny Williams and Mike Rizzo Fall For Different Types”

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  1. MikeS says:

    For the White Sox, Mark Buehrle and Freddy Garcia probably really pull down the average for the rotation. Otherwise, Floyd, Danks and the combo of Peavy, Jackson and Hudson all have average to above heaters.

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  2. HariboPeaches says:

    “…the only math done is subtracting the rotation’s velocity from the bullpen’s velocity.”

    Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

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  3. HariboPeaches says:

    My bad, I read it wrong. Carry on.

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  4. JCA says:

    Sorry RJ, I’m really dumb. Are you saying Bruney, Capps, Clippard, Peralta, and Balester are soft tossers? Otherwise, isn’t Rizzo going for the same hard tossing relievers that Kenny is going for? not all of ‘em (stammen, etc…) but not so much to say they are the anti-Nats? It’s Rizzo’s starters that throw slop.

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  5. A3K says:

    Rizzo falls for soft-tossing rotation horses. As slow as they are as a group, their bullpen is still just a few MPH faster. Williams falls for hard-throwing pen arms. His starters aren’t exactly slackers, save for MB’s very slow fastball. But the pen is packed with heat.

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    • Souldrummer says:

      I’m not sure the methodology on this study (weighted averages or just straight averages) but most of the soft tossers for the Nats aren’t really Rizzo guys. They are Bowden guys that are leftovers or low ceiling/low floor prospects that Rizzo has picked up as spare parts in some of his trades or holdovers from Bowden. Luis Atilano was a 2006 deadline acquisition of Bowden’s for Daryl Ward. He shouldn’t have pitched in the bigs this year, Marquis was supposed to pitch instead. JD Martin was a minor league free agent who wasn’t supposed to pick in the bigs this year. Livo is Livo and that is a Rizzo acquisiton but it reflects desperation as much as philosophy. John Lannan is a holdover Bowden 10th round draft pick.

      Probably the most indicative of this “philosophy” would be guys to focus on for next year’s rotation. Assuming that’s Jordan Zimmermann, Jason Marquis, Livan Hernandez, Yunesky Maya, and John Lannan, Jason Marquis and Yunesky Maya are really the only Rizzo guys in that group.

      Ultimately, he does want power arms, which is why he went over slot to get Robbie Ray and AJ Cole in this year’s draft.

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