Q. Okay, the #1, the fastball.
When I first watched the first video I thought his first two pitches were just wildly wicked forkers, but then on the 4th or 5th pitch you see his normal forker, which just completely falls off the table, without much movement armside.
He has two wicked out pitches there. They set up his located FB, because batters eventually try to lay off the low/on the black stuff, assuming it will move out of the zone.
I like that he throws his Shuuto to lefties, too.
Looking at the chart above, I wonder how many of those "splitters" that are in the top/left quadrant are really Shuuto's. There isn't much difference in speed or movement between those and the labeled Shuutos.
To me it looks like his forker just goes down, mostly, and arrives at more of a change-up pace.
Either way, he can pitch. I like the Cone comparison.
Tiant, Doc. Didn't Tiant pitch like that? Palm ball, slider, palmball, slider, palmball, fastball.
And now my attitude is, who is he heck is Millwood?
Hope we get this guy.
I hadn't thought of that.
Now that you mention it, for sure the F/X system is going to blur shuuto's and splits... good catch Moe...
I like his shuuto really well, love the forkball, love the all-around game in context as well as in MLB context ...
Looks like a 3-4 WAR pitcher to me ...
SO, I've somewhat fallen out of the NPB loop, as I stopped watching TV, but some notes on Iwakuma.
Iwakuma is definitely much more of a pitcher compared to Darvish. Cone/Mussina are good comparisons.
I would actually say that Darvish v. Iwakuma is a good debate for the next 3 years. Where Darvish has stuff, Iwakuma has a more complete game.
Darvish has been getting away with nuking the NPB because of the level of play. The NPB hitting talent decline only helped his value. He will need to adjust and learn a lot and will not be much unlike throwing in a young Verlander or David Price... And so, though I would love him on the M's, the possibility of Darvish having a long adjustment period is very high. Especially in Arlington (good for us).
Iwakuma, however, will probably be able to produce as soon as he hits the tarmac, especially in a spacious park like Safeco. I would bet on a slow start, but I think he'll comeback quickly like Sasaki. As long as he can control his stuff, I have no doubt we'd be getting our roll on the dice for a Kuroda/Old Nomo level pitcher.
Plan B . . .
Appears to be Iwakuma and . . .
dangle the young arms for a major bat? If so, whom . . .
-- Ryan Zimmerman, yes (stock up on those UVa boys!); but I don't think the Nats would do it until they have no choice
-- David Wright? I don't know if he's worth a Taijuan package anymore
-- Andre Ethier? Definitely not worth a Taijuan package, and Seth Smith, frankly, looks almost as good for a lot less
I do like the idea of getting a major player for 3b or OF instead of at positions that we've got well-covered at the moment.
Could they be lurking on Yoennis Cespedes in the same way that Iwakuma was not widely rumored until the end? I'm not sure what to think about him, but he seems like a decent bet to be something akin to an Upton ... but there's that risk of Yuni underachiement.
Folks may need to be resigned to Iwakuma, Seth Smith, Jaso and keeping the powder dry on the young arms to see what develops on the trade market. It's a steep drop from Fielder, but I do think that Smith and Jaso could add a decent amount of ballast to the batting order.
I agree with adding Zimmerman or Wright if the opportunity presents itself.
I'd be interested in prying a bat out of KC, and Gordon seems like the best option for both teams - he's got 2 years left of arb before free agency and even with the Melky Cabrera trade they still need arms in KC. But because of that trade, it might not happen. You never know with KC.
Ethier's knee, dollar cost and prospect cost makes me pause. I would have paid it before last year, but not before this year.
I'd give a LOT for Logan Morrison - and we'd have to. But that's a long-term MOTO solution, IMO.
But I'm with you, I expect that if and when Prince passes on the engraved invitation to the NW, that we'll go with an Iwakuma and Jaso offseason. Which means relying - AGAIN - on the pitching staff to carry the team.
I'd like to give them a little more offensive help with that...
Gordon or Morrison: thumbs up.
Don't see either happening, though. Missed the chance to buy cheap on Gordon. He's been a verrrrry slow-burning fuse, and I don't see KC bailing on him right when he finally explodes (.879 OPS season). All things being equal, he's local-ish (KC considers Nebraska part of its market) and, as badly as they might need pitching, it doesn't seem like a good PR move for a team that's awfully low-profile to start with. If they're ever going to shake off their mediocrity, it's gonna be with Hosmer, Moustakas, Butler and Gordon -- I think they'll keep those guys intact and hope to find arms some other way.
Morrison is a great young LH bat, and would be worth a Taijuan Walker+ package. I don't know why the Marlins would do it other than thinking he's worn out his welcome, which they say he hasn't (though I guess some think he has). The Reyes-Hanley combo (if it works) won't provide the power, and I assume they'll want both Stanton and Morrison to do that. Morrison isn't even arb-eligible until 2014.
Any thoughts on Cespedes, G? Even worth tossing around the idea as Plan B?
Justin Upton, Justin Morneau, Joey Votto ...
About a month ago, Jason mentioned Morneau and about six other surprise names (which escape me now) that are supposed to be well into the trade market.
Reds traded for a pitcher, to be sure, but that can actually mean the pressure is increased to disposition Votto elsewhere. Come at them with the Taijuan - Franklin - etc package and who knows...
Am sure there are other names that Z could deal for, but he wants to hold on to his prospects...
A creative way to become a big-hitting team...
James recently published his article "Teams On Paper," by which he identified (among other things) baseball's most overperforming teams...
One such, the 1977 White Sox. They punted fielding and put four DH's on the field. I remember them torturing the Mariners with 8-hit innings :- ) ... Richie Zisk, Chet Lemon, Oscar Gamble, Ralph Garr etc...
Putting Wells in CF, Carp in LF, buying a DH, putting Mark Reynolds at 3B, that kind of thing ... you can always fix your offense if you reallllllly want to ...
I believe the Manny in LF or Reyndolds at 3B types of decisions should be no-brainers for this team.
When you have great pitching you don't need great defenders. Personally, I think that the major flaw in Z's initial roster construction was that he doubled down on the defense and as a result the gains were marginal and not nearlly enough to offset the subsequent loss in offense.
If Z had added a bunch of great defenders to a squad with bad pitching I think the moves would have worked much better.
However, with a team that's gonna run a rotation of Felix, Pineda, Vargas, Iwakuma and Hultzen - you don't need defenders. You need bats.
Cespedes is Cuban. I intensely dislike Cuban hitters with VERY few exceptions. The attitudes, the approach at the plate, the lack of fire...
I understand taking a risk on Cuban pitchers, but I'd stay away from investing in Cuban hitters. IMO, even if he worked out he's not likely to be a true masher, and unless he can stay in CF...
I dunno man. Not my kind of bet.
As for Gordon or Morrison...you'll pay. You'll really pay if you want them - they are NOT gonna be bargain gets by any means (though with KC you might swindle them anyway).
But Morrison and Guillen are gonna start a forest fire's worth of friction, especially if Hanley is throwing gas on the fire. And Gordon is 3 months away from a potential "not signing an extension" availability at the trade deadline. Maybe he'll sign that extension with the Royals, but if not then they've got to trade him before he's a FA, and most likely with a year or more left on his deal so they get more than with a 3 month rental.
Neither guy is being pushed by his team, but IMO both are available. We may view the price as too high, as we did with Upton last offseason, but we have the talent to pull off the deal.
Whether we want to spend it is another matter. Somebody make Prince sign with us so I don't have to worry about it.
SABR Matt: Yes Doc...that was what I was saying...we have data on this...actually, the F/X data will (I'm confident) show that the Mariners have been #30 in baseball in the size of the 50% calls bubble since the F/X data became reliable...I haven't looked, but we've been watching the game together for many years.2 hours 12 min ago
Gordon Gross: Article on Jack and urgency vs. underperforming players coming when I get home. Let me rephrase: RAMBLE concerning said urgency as well as the plusses and minuses of roster creation coming in a couple of hours.2 hours 37 min ago
SABR Matt: I suppose, howeve,r that there is a difference when mistakes are constantly being made that bias against you and you can prove it numerically.4 hours 5 min ago
malcontent: The referenced articles: http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2009/05/pitchfx_detecti.php http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=201205 hours 8 min ago
malcontent: Also, I remember two articles, one about Milton Bradley and one about Jose Bautista, regarding their famous conflicts with umpires, and both those articles coming to the conclusion that neither player was being better or worse treated than the average batter, and that both players had complained on occasions when their was no mistake made.5 hours 13 min ago
SABR Matt: They can't afford to be "urgent" about their roster moves yet other than the obvious issue with not calling up Franklin to replace the rotting corpse that is Robert Andino. Most of the other moves we'd like to see them make from a purely emotional perspective there are reasons why it may not be prudent to actually make in the real world. I think Z's roster building in the offseason was a textbook example of being TOO urgent, rather than not urgent enough.5 hours 13 min ago
malcontent: And we have very little about manager relations with umpires. Has there ever been a study to see if more managers get better calls after being tossed from a game? I imagine some of the umpires might actually be vindictive and call worse zones for the complaining manager more likely than umpires being embarrassed into calling a fairer game.5 hours 16 min ago
malcontent: They also DFA'd Kameron Loe 2 weeks into the season.5 hours 23 min ago
phxterry: Matt - Doing nothing may well cost GMZ his job, if 81 wins is required for his survival and the M's end up with, say 74-76. But he doesn't show any urgency to fix any of the other problems that are more clearly fixable, so why would he do anything about this one? IMO, at a minimum, Wedgie should be in ump's faces regulaly, say once every 2 weeks with different crews, and get tossed to show his players that he is standing up for them & to let the umps know that someone at least saw their bad calls. The called third strike on Morse to end the game in NY last week was a perfect opportunity. Go blast the umps when the game just ended - free shot at one of them after a horrible call. But again, I see no evidence of urgency in anything this organization does, with the exception of getting Harang to replace Beavan.5 hours 42 min ago
SABR Matt: I don't know that there's much the Mariners can do about the umpires and get away with it politically. You can't go to the league and gripe about it because you need the league to be in your camp on other disputes and there's no clear and overwhelming evidence that the umpires are knowingly biasing the zone against Seattle. The data says we're jobbed more than any team in the big leagues, but the league and the umpire union could argue that that is a result of bad catching or bad luck. You can't really file a lawsuit because you have to show damages and it's not clear that the losses hurt the Mariners financially in a clear way. You can't take up a grievance against the umpires union directly because the league has rules against one team causing trouble in that manner. And you can't just speak to the press about it because you won't have any friends amongst the other owners if you air your dirty laundry on national TV. So what can you really do?5 hours 55 min ago
phxterry: Correction: Difference between 20-25 & 25-20.6 hours 9 min ago
phxterry: Fourth Memo from the Accountability Dept: Jemanji has identified five (5) games that blown ball/strike calls have cost the M's dearly. 5 wins turned into losses are the difference between 20-25 & 25-2. Arguably, umpire bias is the most important cause of the M's losing season. Do we have any evidence that the M's Brain Trust is doing anything about this? We know Wedgie is not - he's been tossed from only 1 game. He NEVER leaves the comfort of the dugout during games. To my knowledge, he never brings umpire bias up in post-game interviews. Has GMZ ever mentioned it? Honest question: Is anybody aware that the M's are doing anything, literally anything, on any level, to counter-act this bias that has wrecked their season? I am not. And we can can be darn sure that this bias is not going away by itself. Imagine if Mark Cuban were owner of this team, watching game after game flushed by biased umpires. Would he sit still and just take it?6 hours 10 min ago
phxterry: Third Memo from the Accountability Dept: A third asset - Jesus Montero - for whom the M's gave a top-flight young starting pitcher (who is now throwing 95 mph and ready for re-hab), had (at least) 3 known problems that needed attention in the off-season: 1) his running/agility 2) catching defense 3) hitting. In 2013: 1) his running/agility have not improved, to my eye, 2) hids catching defense has gotten worse, to my eye, and 3) his hitting has definitely gotten worse. It's passing the buck for the M's management to say Montero is out-of-shape, that his work ethic is poor, yadda yadda. If the M's Brain Trust (loosely used term) was aware of all these weaknesses in ST, then why did they structure their entire approach to 2013 relying on an un-reliable, lazy kid? Why didn't they send Montero down to AAA to straighten himself out and get 2 Kelly Shoppach's? And if they couldn't tell in ST that he hadn't improved, are they qualified to hold the positions they hold?6 hours 36 min ago
SABR Matt: On those two larger points, I definitely agree, Terry...there's something not right about how the4 players are pursuing their professional development in Seattle. The number of players who are doing things independently in this org. seems unusually high...Franklin's eating binge, Saunders' pool floaters and rubber bands, Seager's Florida training workshops, Ackley's swing (mis)coaching...I would argue that players in Seattle are not happy with their player development team if they are this frequently acting without support from the club.6 hours 39 min ago
phxterry: Second Memo from the Accountability Dept: Another asset - Nick Franklin - also potentially worth $75-100M, embarks on an eating program in the off-season without any apparent knowledge or concurrence of the M's Brain(less?) Trust, and is immediately castigated for said eating program when ST starts. For all we know, the failure to bring up Franklin right now may be the Organization's way of punishing him for his dietary sins & making sure he knows his proper place. I have worked in lots of organizations -- failures on the magnitude of these 2 would have had heads rolling in all the well-run organizations for which I have worked. Only the screwed up ones would have not enforced accountability for such large mistakes.6 hours 52 min ago
phxterry: Memo from the Accountability Dept: The M's have an asset in the form of Ackley that is potentially worth, say, at least $75-100M, if he succeeds to his potential as the #2 pick in a rich draft. Right now he is failing miserably and on track to be worth, literally, pennies on the dollar. Yet Ackley was sent away last off-season to work out his swing problems on his own, and he showed up at spring training with his stance and swing so screwed up that the changes just initiated had to be scrapped 41 days into the season. Now he is trying to change his swing mid-season - good luck with that unless he is sent down. Who ultimately is held accountable for this egregious failure in the management of an asset worth millions? Nobody ...... because that's how failing organizations are run.6 hours 55 min ago
DaddyO: Or, is all this moot and we just need to be more patient?7 hours 2 min ago
DaddyO: Have we assumed that drafting talented young hitters is sufficient to the need? Did Jack assume that Milwaukee's ability to develop young hitters existed in most every organization? Was the success of his uber-skill dependent on another skill present in Milwaukee but not in Seattle?7 hours 2 min ago
DaddyO: How does one transform an organizational weakness into a strength, or at least a non-weakness? Might it take longer than the "7 years" Jack fingered as the time when rebuilding efforts will take full effect? Do we even now have the right people / philosophy in place in the organization to accomplish this? Or have we squandered the first five years by failing to address this problem? Inquiring minds want to know. I don't know.7 hours 5 min ago