Stephen Pryor Scouting Report 6.2.12 - Offspeed Stuff

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Q.  Will this article be the final word on Pryor's slider and change?

A.  We're going off four (4) sliders and one (1) change.  Asked and answered, mon cherie.  This is a single-game "virtual crosscheck," as it were.  Subject to alteration, to correction by G-Money, or to revocation at any time.

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Q.  Do you like Pryor's slider?

A.  I do not, though Stephen Pryor obviously does.

In his debut game Saturday, Mr. Hyde grabbed Paul Konerko in two arms and ripped him in half at the waist.  He chewed out a stogie, swallowed it, and ground Alex Rios under his heel.  He retired Mr. Personality for a third out, and then....

... facing Dayan Viciedo, THE Dayan right handed Viciendo, started him off with a 90 MPH slider waist high.  You could sense Blowers' confused blink over the TV ... Pryor on 0-1 came back with another slider, low away.  The polite Blowers couldn't contain himself.  "Wow.  Starts him with two sliders."  He didn't say it admiringly.

Third pitch?   92 MPH slider, actually probably a changeup but the point is the same, right down the heart, knee high.  Somehow Viciedo fouled it off; 1-2 count.  Blowers didn't say a word.  It was like the guy who watches a drunk knock all the glasses off the table into his date's lap and there is stunned silence.  That kind of silence.

Pryor came back with two completely unhittable fastballs, one fouled off, 2-2 count, and then sped up Viciedo's bat with a SLOWER slider, and this was the location, pitch #6:

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Q.  Pretty hittable pitch, eh?

A.  Pretty hittable pitch, no.  It's quite literally a batting-practice pitch, maybe with 5 MPH on it.

Did you know that in the 1800's, major league hitters could call for the pitch in the location they desired?  Tell me where you'd call for a pitch?

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Q.  Describe the slider generally?

A.  Below average movement, as you can see from the chart in the previous article.  It moves more like a cut fastball.  It's not going to get anybody out because of its movement as such.

Average arm action, from what I could see, and more importantly from the White Sox' reactions.  It ain't Michael Pineda's arm action by any stretch of the imagination.

Naturally, the slider "plays way up" because the hitters have to start the bat when the catcher's signalling for the fastball.  But taken in isolation I'd call it very mediocre.  It needs to be kept out of the hot zones, that is for sure.

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An asterisk applies if hitters are way cheating.  If (in any given outing) they're just swinging as Pryor releases the ball, then of course any offspeed pitch is a garbage strike.  That's the catcher's job, to decide when that is.  He's sitting two feet away from the hitter who is grinding the bat handle into sawdust.

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What's the fix for the fact that Pryor gave up a hit?

A.  Number one, to realize that 0.00 ERA's don't exist, except in Cincinnati I guess.  Pryor will give up hits, including on 100 MPH fastballs.  But how many?  People see hitters go 2-for-25 on 100 MPH fastballs and they go, "See, they'll hit it no matter how hard you throw it" ....

But secondly, STEPHEN PRYOR NEEDS TO THROW 80%-90% FASTBALLS.

Matt Thornton last year threw 87% fastballs - that's all year long, gumby.  Aroldis Chapman threw 84%.   Joel Hanrahan threw 81%.  Neftali Feliz threw 80%.  Look, when Neftali Feliz throws you something other than a fastball, he's doing you a favor.  Mariano Rivera throws (cut) fastballs every pitch, literally 96.8% in 2003, for example.

The slider does complement the fastball when used as a sucker pitch...

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NEXT

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Comments

It's a wonder that he got through the minors without someone teaching him a different bendy pitch. He would be devastating with something that breaks down - a split or curve or something. That slider is meh..

1

How do you slow down a pitcher who can't be hit? I believe they were trying to get him to throw a changeup, but I'm with you, a split would be better. Still, I think he'll survive somehow.

And his slider can get better action than it did last night. Overthrowing a fastball due to adrenalin is survivable, but flattening out a slider is bad. It's not a great pitch, but I've seen it look better than that. And "better than that" is about all he needs for greatness.

~G

2

.... to critique a type of pitch of a player who was extremely amped up on adrenaline is a complete waste of time. It's not that the sample size is too small, but that the pitcher we saw yesterday will not be the same pitcher that we will see today.

3

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GLSThere are other GMs not named Beane that understand roster construction. We had Pat Gillick once upon a time. He understood roster contruction pretty well. There are others out there now. I agree that Jack is probably somewhere at that median level of GM competence, and it's not like he doesn't understand how to put a roster together. But, even with today's moves, I'm hoping the organization goes in a different direction with the GM position in the offseason. I just don't see much from Jack in the way of creative thinking.1 hour 45 min ago
bsrBtw who wants to guess how much the A's payroll has increased this year vs 2013, including the deadline additions? Yep, right around $25M. What a coincidence! So now we are seeing what Billy Beane can do with a decent payroll...i.e., destroy the league.2 hours 17 min ago
bsrGLS - I agree but Billy Beane's are in short supply. If you don't have a genius played by Brad Pitt to run your team :) ... you need some extra dough! $130M is what good teams with 2 mega contracts are spending these days, so I assume that's what we need too. Given that Jack seems to be on balance about an average-ish GM. He's definitely good enough that I'd trust him to build a champion with an extra $20-30M this offseason. With an extra $0-10M...not so sure he's got the skills.2 hours 34 min ago
bsrI have no idea what the cash flows are from the ROOT deal, and when they hit the coffers and can be spent. But the national TV money by all reported accounts was $25M extra to each team starting in 2014. So the M's should have that money already. I was surprised to see when I just looked, that they actually did increase payroll $15M in 2014 (it was $85M in 2012 and 2013). My guess is they spent what they had in hand of the national TV money, maybe there were timing issues w/ the payout that didn't allow them to access the entire $25M in year 1, or maybe they spent $10M on other stuff (who knows what - minor leagues, international facilities, Safeco...). In any case I'd assume they'll get a +$10M boost to payroll this offseason right there. Plus attendance is up, that's another few million they'll have. So really they need $15-20M from somewhere else to be at the $130M competitive payroll level, hopefully it'll be ROOT money.2 hours 40 min ago
bsrLast 11 WS winners payroll (in 2013 $, adjusting for increases in avg salary): 151, 139, 120, 109, 230, 117, 178, 112, 104, 189, 69 (Marlins #2...amazing). Median is $120M, average is $140M. M's payroll is 100M this year. To be a real solid contender they need to add $20M payroll in the offseason. $30-40M would be ideal.2 hours 50 min ago
GLSbsr - the difference with the A's is that Billy Beane seems to have complete control of roster decisions and he has a very clear understanding of how to put a roster together.2 hours 50 min ago
Bat571I also have a sneaking suspicion that, right after trading Cespedes, the A's will suddenly be the favorites to sign Rusney Castillo3 hours 5 min ago
Bat571If the Ms go after Yasmani Tomas, they'll be looking at something like $70M to sign him, so the payroll does have to have some room. But I'm thinking *THE PLAN* may just allow for one big signing each year and a gradual buildup with extensions (Seager?), etc., to the TV money level we all figure the Ms can truly afford. By spacing it out they have a more predictable budget 3-4 years out, so it does make some sense. So ...., if it's the plan, I hope Tomas clears the Treasury vetting soon, so the Ms can get the lineup closer to 9 men long, rather than the 2 or even 4-5.3 hours 7 min ago
bsrWhy can't the M's succeed the way Beane and the Rays have -- they don't have $130M payrolls. Well they haven't won any titles in either place. But setting that aside, the M's have already given up on the A's/Rays approach. The $130M payroll strategy is the one they chose by adding Cano. Teams that have won on the cheap didn't have $50M tied up in two guys. Period. So hopefully 2014 will be a transition year, and they'll complete the strategy this offseason and go to war in 2015 with a full scale MLB roster.3 hours 34 min ago
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rick82Montero is in his hotel room thinking, "I had 15. What's the big deal?"4 hours 37 min ago
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Bat571Absolutely agree, Rick - Saunders is the key to why JackZ didn't go harder after the bigger names. If he can get back soon it will make a BIG difference.5 hours 18 min ago
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