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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bsrMorrison's swing seems engineered for hitting popups to third base. He looks like a golfer hitting slices.4 min 49 sec ago
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Bat571C'mon JAckZ - engineer us a winner!11 min 53 sec ago
Bat571theory meeting practice is engineering.14 min 9 sec ago
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Bat571Condor is reportedly throwing balls into a net, so he's a ways away - I doubt we see him before September.22 min 57 sec ago
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mojicianDarn right. What do you call it when theory meets practice? More importantly, when does Condor get back?27 min 55 sec ago
Bat571Stats like BA and OBP are theoretical in that they express historically-based probabilities. But lining up Seager-Cano-Morales-Kemp-Saunders 2-3-4-5-6 at OPSs of .800 - .830 - .740 - .760+ - .740 looks like a much tougher job for the opposing pitcher than we've been giving them up to now. Let JJ make his next adjustment, or bring in Rusney Castillo and put Miller and JJ at the 8-9 holes and the lineup could get quite dynamic.31 min 23 sec ago
mojicianPinch attempter, pinch swinger, it has a ring to it.31 min 56 sec ago
bsrAdditionally, we need to replace the term "pinch hitter", because the players filling this role under Jack Z are usually worse at hitting than the players they pinch "hit" for, who are themselves bad at hitting to begin with. I propose we stop announcing a pinch hitter, and instead announce a "pinch swinger" is coming to the plate.36 min 35 sec ago
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mojicianYou know Bat, All these stats are theoretical. RBIs are theories that have been translated into practice. The Orioles were winning the game, now they are not. We are not saying that a good hitter applied his theory, we are saying a good hit was made and the score was changed.50 min 48 sec ago
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moethedogI could live with all that Bat.57 min 38 sec ago
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Bat571I know it probably isn't happening, but I'm really wondering what this team would be like with Kemp in RF and Souza or Grichuk or Lake platooning with Ackley 'til Saunders gets back - and if Ackley continues to hit - let him play 1B until a good home (where he can play 2B) can be found for him so Peterson or Kivlehan or Choi can move in.1 hour 7 min ago
mojicianKENDRYS RBIIIIIIIII.1 hour 7 min ago
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DaddyObsr, That's a question the Mariners franchise ought long since to have been asking themselves searchingly and facing squarely. Alas, I don't think they have a clue. I think they truly believe they have done all they can reasonably be expected to do. Me? I think they are more attuned to being in the outdoor entertainment business than the business of baseball. They extended Felix and signed Cano for entertainment reasons, for PR reasons, just like movie companies sign expensive big name stars. If we were to compare the Mariners to movie producers, they would be the kind that makes summer blockbusters but not Academy Award winners. Good enough to entertain at a minimal level, but not a serious effort a excellence in their craft, and no attempt to be taken seriously.1 hour 11 min ago