Brandon Maurer - a Big FIVE?!

C'mon you punk Angels, he sez, lessee what you GOT

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Some things, you buy them, get them in the mail, tear them open ... they're exactly as advertised.  And disappointing.  

Other things, you tear them open, and they're exactly as advertised, and ten times better than you thought.  

That's one of the joys of life for me, getting something that's what somebody said it was, and I like it a lot better than I expected to.  I'm going to sell a spray can that does this to things.  $19.95 per can, buy now and we'll send the second can for the cost of shipping and handling.  You can spritz down Brandon League and turn him into Tom Wilhelmsen.

..........

Somebody bought my product.  He grabbed the can with gusto, crushed it in a powerlifter grip, held it at arm's length and buried Gil Meche in a cloud of magic mist.  Turned him into Brandon Maurer.

One Pitch F/X series and I can tell you right now that Brandon Maurer is what they said he was, plus the magic mist.  By "they" I mean Gordon Gross and, following him, the national sites that have Maurer lurking maliciously at the bottom of the Fab 100 lists.

..........

Just as a f'r instance, here is the first AB from Monday:

Now BaseballHQ had Maurer on the fringes of their top 100 based on -- grok this, now -- an "average-solid" 91-95 fastball that he "throws with confidence and command."   Top 100 based on that.

 

WHOA WHOA WHOA hold on.  Full Stop Right There Kid.  If you're calling that Average-Solid you need a dictionary.  94 MPH right out of the bullpen?  96 MPH right above the hands for swinging strike three?  What are you talking, average solid?

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HQ had Maurer as a borderline-elite prospect based on three pitches, FB, slider, curve, but "74-77 MPH changeup needs work."  

77 Change needs work?  Say WHAAAaaaaat?  Maurer threw an overhand power yakker on pitch 2 that dropped straight down ... and now look at the shape on that 85, not 77, MPH changeup.  That's a ferocious change, baby.  Right down the heart, thrown with shape, location and sequence that says "how many pitches is this going to take."

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Next AB below.  We trust you don't need Dr. D's interpretation as to whether the locations pass inspection.

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Next AB.  Fastball UP, where manly men throw it, in on the hands.  JAM PITCH.  Let's take this fight to the enemy.  I like how this kid thinks.

Did you grok the way that Maurer threw his fastballs real high?  INTENDING to miss bats rather than hit them?

...............

We don't say that one inning proves Maurer a TOR starter.  But there was a vibe you got when Michael Jordan came out before his first game and bounded around the court for his first layup drill.  Maurer is more than advertised.

After watching 500 pitcher debuts in the past, we know the difference between an oversell and an undersell.  This kid looks scary.  If I didn't know better, I'd wonder whether he was #2 after Taijuan, ahead of Paxton and Hultzen and Erasmo.

Eyes Slideways.  A Big Five?  This is getting ridiculous.  Cut Jon Garland Right Now.

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Comments

...that Maurer made it a Big Four? Regardless, one thing that having a Hultzen, Paxton, Walker Cerberus is that some of the other guys are going to fly in under the radar and make a huge splash when they arrive. I just hope that other teams are paying attention to the Maurer, Fernandez, and Carraway's in the system so that they might have an idea of what it would take to get them.

1

At least Maurers getting attention. We couldn't even fit all of the big 4 very easily so it is pretty important that other clubs value the pitching we have. There's so many ways to go with the rotation this year, but it's hard to believe they don't trade away about 3 starters between now and this time next year and if you include the next wave maybe more than 4. Heck, Garland, Bonderman and Saunders could be 3 then we're still looking at Noesi, Beaven, Ramirez, Felix and the 4. Say they keep Noesi at AAA and trade the 3 new vets, there's still a likelihood they trade 1 or 2 more before counting Carraway, Fernandez, Sanchez, etc.. The bullpen is looking at similar depth too, Tacomas pitching it's going to be a fun show this year. I'm certainly not complaining, but it looks like they will have to make some choices on who to keep very soon.

2

in case you missed it. He caught Maurers last start last season where there was a65 pitch limit but he cruised through 6 innings.

"This guy is the real deal.' He throws everything. He's got a power fastball, and he locates it really well. He's got a good curveball he can throw for strikes at any point in the count. And he's got a good cutter/slider -- whatever he wants to call it -- that he can really put guys away with. And he's got a good changeup. So he's really got a well-balanced four pitches."

Maybe his change is slightly better than reported? Might have just been good that day, but that would be a sign of progress anyway. OK, it could just be fluff or that Zunino hasn't yet seen much better. Worth noting he still listed it last.

3

is the big brother in the big 5, right? Those 5 and Felix can't even all coexist in a rotation, let alone Iwakuma, Beaven, etc.

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Isn't it great when you consider a kid of 22 as the "big brother"?

5

I'm not down on Maurer, but super-high on Tyler Pike, ultra-polished low-90s teen lefty.  Stepped right out of high school and put up a 1.78 ERA and 10.1 K/9.

And you can't ask for much more than Victor Sanchez did at 17, first time in the states.  First 17-year-old to pitch for Everett since ... kid named Felix in 2003.  Note: Everett is above rookie league, where almost all teenagers start.

And the scouting types seem to prefer huge Brazilian lefty Luiz Gohara (6-3, 220 at age 16) to any of them.

Wonder if the trademark has lapsed on "Big Eight"?

 

6

I've read about them all too , but they're still a ways out. Sanchez could push into that conversation this year but by the time the others really do we could be talking 10 or 12 with others having been drafted. Should the M's start another MLB franchise in Portland or Vegas so they can fit them all into rotations?

The rotation is really still thin though...oops, thought it said Marlins.

7

I'll be able to give you a better grasp on where Gohara fits in the great scheme of things in a couple of weeks when I'm down in Peoria and putting "eyes on". I'm very intrigued with the kid and from what I've been hearing he may be in the top 5 of arms in the system.

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to your posts at MC. You've been covering it well with pics and video. Hoping to hear more about Pike, Brazis, Elias, Sanchez, Fernandez, Shipers, of course Smith and whoever stands out. And those are just the pitchers.

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Is something I'm pretty curious about too. His bat profiles pretty well there and he definitely has the speed to cover some ground but how he's adjusting and his defensive reads haven't been covered anywhere that I've seen. It seems he could be the 1st callup if CF is the need and he's adjusting well enough.

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...for this opportunity to geek it up.

First off, Martinez played CF in 11 games last year for the AA Jackson Generals, so at least he has his feet wet. In those 11 games he had 24 opportunities and converted on all 24 to give him a fielding percentage of 1.000. While in the process of gathering in those 24 chances he showed a range factor of 2.18. In the Southern League in 2012 the median RF/G for the top 10 centerfielders was 2.31, so he would appear maybe not have quite the range as an average starting centerfielder in the Southern League. This, of course could easily be chocked (chaulked?) up to learning the position since it is so vastly different from 3rd. The only way it could be more different is if Martinez had been a catcher, or a base coach...

Good Lord.... will somebody please make tomorrow be April 1st so that we can get this season started????

12

That if his first stint there was already approaching average it seems that he could surpass average at least with work. Hard to say with that small of a sample but that's still positive. I'd imagine he stays with the club through the first couple cuts so there should be some opportunity to see how he looks. Speaking of which, the first cuts may come before Felix even gets in a game.

I'm with you on getting going. Very exited for the season to start.

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ghost

The reason his range factor was low was (a) partly random chance (how many balls did he have any chance to catch and how many of them fell in for hits? some of that is luck in such a short number of games) and (b) the Jackson Generals were a *VERY* high-K team. So the chances were low for ALL of the fielders in Jackson.

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moethedogModern coaches would probably try to fix M. Ott or S. Oh!1 day 9 hours ago
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SABR MattJust had an interesting discussion with a hitting instructor who used to intern with the Yankees the year I was there about Smoak. He thinks the Mariners fouled up Smoak's swing mechanics. He sees in Smoak's vids, a guy who starts the bat head too low in the zone and whose swing is too wristy, meaning when he wants to hit for power (gets a cookie pitch), he is going to have to swing up at the ball and the barrell will be at both an upper-cutting and a hinged (pullside) angle. If he squares it up with that funky contact plane, the ball will be a very high fly ball (subject to warning track outs)...and if he gets funny contact, he will ground out to the pull side. Hey...remind me again...what were Smoak's main out types? When he looked at scouting vids of early Smoak...he didn't start the bat head too low and his swing was way less wristy.1 day 11 hours ago
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SABR Mattand at least one of those catchers that did make the final three isn't even major league average defensively...I'll let you guys figure out which one. :)2 days 9 hours ago
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