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.
M-Pops: Hmm. MLBTR has Santana settling for a Cruz-esque, make-good deal. If no Morales, 1 year of Santana would be quite fine, I think. :)2 hours 45 min ago
Gordon Gross: DJ goes yard on an inside pitch. He does pull those hands in well. Just funny watching him for a year in college and talking with Lonnie every couple weeks about how we'd love to get a RH college hitter like that, and now he's here. Glad that broken jaw didn't mess him up more. He's been STARVING to go out there against live pitching for 6 months. Great to see.5 hours 55 min ago
OBF: Spec, You are High on James Jones right??? LL with a really fun look at his background, including amazing anecdotes like being able to throw a ball over the CENTERFIELD fence from home plate flat footed! I am rooting for you James! http://www.lookoutlanding.com/2014/3/6/5476490/get-to-know-mariners-outfielder-james-jones8 hours 11 min ago
mojician: Now this is funny: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners/2014/03/06/rodneys-crooked-cap-is-his-way-of-turning-hitters-into-dogs-or-something/ Rodney's crooked cap is part of his master strategy to confuse and disorientate hitters and runners, and its not just for style. Its sort of like the masks that people wear on the back of their heads in tiger country. Why doesn't every pitcher do this?9 hours 18 min ago
SABR Matt: It sounds like Van Slyke actually has some new ideas to bring to the org...he likes to make the practices extremely challenging (not all big league OF coaches do things like find the wall drills and diving drills!) - this is really important for guys like Ackley who learn defense through adroid-like repetition because they are not naturally spry (a la Brendan Ryan).13 hours 56 min ago
JDDub: I've not read too much about what Van Slyke is doing with the OFers, but this article has a bit of info. Can't hurt! http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/sea/prospect-james-jones-relishing-opportunity-in-mariners-camp?ymd=20140306&content_id=68807646&vkey=news_sea23 hours 43 min ago
JDDub: Bummer that Elias wasn't as sharp in his outing today. James Jones keeps rolling along though :)1 day 52 min ago
SABR Matt: Franklin hits lefties alright...just not for power.1 day 5 hours ago
Spectator: Wasn't kidding that Bloomquist is best DH option vs. LHP with current roster. Or Bloomie in field and one of the regulars DH, but same difference lineup-wise. Morrison not very good vs. LHP historically, nor are Almonte or Franklin.1 day 5 hours ago
SABR Matt: Given the current roster, the best alignment would be something like ------ vs. RHP: CF) Almonte LF) Ackley 2B) Cano DH) Hart / Morrison 3B) Seager 1B) Smoak / Morrison RF) Saunders / Morrison C) Zunino/Buck SS) Miller ------ vs. LHP: CF) Almonte RF) Bloomquist 2B) Cano LF) Hart 3B) Seager 1B) Smoak C) Zunino SS) Franklin DH) (whoever we think will match up the best) - but this points to the club's need for a good bat against lefties that can play OF or DH...because right now, if Hart is in the OF against lefties...our DH is a lefty with a bad split.1 day 5 hours ago
SABR Matt: So if the OF rotation is Hart (R) / Almonte (S) / Saunders (L) / Ackley (L)...does that mean Boom-Boom plays a lot of outfield against lefties (I'd use him that way and use Franklin at SS on those days and Miller there against righties)...?1 day 6 hours ago
Gordon Gross: Raw and teachable is fine. He's only been sober for 2 or 3 years, so I dunno how much instruction he was taking before that. He's ready to take it now, and that's what matters. And what we have an OF coach for (defensively). The fact that he's raw means he might be able to improve his RH hitting, too. Still wish Guti was around to face lefties, but whatcha gonna do.1 day 8 hours ago
SABR Matt: I fear that Almonte may be being overrated by the new coaching staff...his EYE is solid and he's got pop, but he seems kind of raw in his approach to me. And defensively, he's fast, but not all that smart (same for on the base paths).1 day 8 hours ago
moethedog: I really like Almonte's left-handed swing. He gets still, then gets quick. That's a good combo. Paxton had a great outing. Good work by Maurer, too.2 days 3 hours ago
mojician: Yeah. I'm beginning to dislike the Indians as much as the Angels. I can't stand the Angels.2 days 4 hours ago
Gordon Gross: Y'know, these spring training games against the Indians feel like that series last year where we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in their park over and over again. I'm done with the Indians. *laughs*2 days 5 hours ago
Gordon Gross: Pitchers usually look better than hitters in the first few days of camp - they've been here longer, getting on track. But Paxton reeeeally looks good to start March.2 days 6 hours ago
DaddyO: Organizational blind spots have become emblematic of every Mariners regime since Gillick and Piniella left. At least Gillick and Piniella knew the blind spots on their rosters and clamored to have them addressed, though in the end Howard "El Kabong" Lincoln and Chuck "Babalooey" Armstrong refused to go along with them when it really mattered.2 days 7 hours ago
mojician: Conspiracy theory: The Indians are playing their "B" team today so that they would have an excuse for losing the game.2 days 7 hours ago
SABR Matt: I am not certain that the Mariners were aware that the run scoring was caused in large part by bad defense...but if they were aware of the bad defense...I'm even less certain that they'd ID'd the problem as bad positioning.2 days 8 hours ago