Why I watched: Just traded to Seattle and had a decent 2014.
Game(s) Watched: 9/27/14 vs Orioles
• He threw his fastballs between 92-95 mph. He had a two and four-seamer. They looked to almost be identical, but the 2-seamer drops just a bit at the last moment. Neither pitch is really special, but they are serviceable. He decreased the usage of the four seamer from 54% to 48% from April to September while increasing his sinker usage from 15% to 22%. Additionally, the lefty pounded the outside of the plate against righties.
• He threw a 78-81 mph curve. It was only a chase pitch as he couldn’t throw it for strikes. A couple of times he hung the pitch.
• His change was at 86 mph and was straight with some late sink.
• Finally, I saw a couple sliders at 86 mph with some glove side run.
• Nothing stood out … maybe the sinker. He is a 4-5 starter.
Final thoughts: I think the sum is better than the parts, but the parts aren’t really that great. It would be interesting if he swapped the usage of the two and four-seamer. I will take him in AL-only leagues, but that is it. Just not enough wow to consider elsewhere.
Why I watched: Just traded to the Red Rox
Game(s) Watched: 9/27/14 vs Cardinals
• The lefty works fast. He is ready to pitch as soon as he gets the ball back from the catcher.
• All of 28-year-old’s pitches traveled in from 10:30 to 4:30. Each is just at a little different speed and little different break.
• He pounded the 1B part of the plate to both LH and RH hitters.
• His two-seamer was between 89-91 mph with some sink. It is a plus pitch with an above average rate of grounders and swinging strikes. His four-seamer, which was around 92-93, just didn’t have the sink. It was tough at times to tell the difference between the two. The one issue he has had with the two-seamer is throwing it for strikes. Only a 40% Zone% on the 2014 season, so if hitters don’t chase it, he can run up his pitch count and is then force to use the 4-seamer (53% Zone%).
• His 86-87 mph slider was a plus chase pitch. It has the same motion as his two–seamer but with more drop. This can be seen with its 60% GB% and 17% GB%.
• His change was at 82-83 mph. It came is just like his 4-seamer, but just 10 mph slower. It will either fool the hitter (14% SwStr%) with the speed difference or the hitter will tee off on it (.380 BABIP, .229 ISO).
• He surprisingly used his curve quite a bit during the game (16% vs 2% on the season). It was at 77 mph with 10-4 motion. It seemed fairly average, but was a nice change of pace considering his other pitches.
Final thoughts: I think he has the chance to be a good pitcher if he could throw strikes more. He has some good downward movement on his pitches with a good amount of swing-and-miss. His main issue will be throwing enough called strikes early in the count to use his breaking pitches.
Why I watched: Just got traded from the White Sox to the A’s
Game(s) Watched: 9/28/14 vs Royals
• Tons of movement on his pitches, but he couldn’t throw any of them consistently.
• The 25-year-old righty’s sinker/two-seamer was 92-95 mph with some release side run and sometimes some late drop. The key to this pitch, and most of his others, is they get good movement at lower velocities. They straighten out as he overthrows them for higher speeds. Majors league hitters, besides B.J. Upton, can hit 95 mph straight fastballs.
• His slider was between 82-85 mph with glove side run. Like with his fastball, he overthrew it and just hung it a few times to get crushed.
• His 70-72 mph curve came in with a 12-6 motion and he could throw it for call strikes.
• He threw his slider and curve for a combined ~50% of the time (48.4%). The number is not out of line with his season combined value of 44.4%.
• Though I didn’t notice it during the game, but he is a flyball pitcher (40% GB%, bottom 3/4ths of the league). He allowed no home runs during the 2014 season and had a 0.6 HR/9 in all his minor league stops.
Final thoughts: I wasn’t impressed, but he could work out in Oakland’s large park since he is a flyball pitcher. I see a 5th starter/ longer relief future for him.