Stephen Pryor Scouting Report 6.2.12 - Pitch Mix


Q.  This 85% fastball challenge prescription ... does this contradict your complaint about Brandon League "not thinking out there"?  Thought you didn't like predictable 1-0 fastballs.

A.  It doesn't, thanks for asking.  Contradict anything, that is.

Stephen Pryor's fastball passes a point of critical mass.  It's a Goose Gossage, an Armando Benitez fastball.  Pryor's fastball is overwhelming; Brandon League's is most definitely not.  


Q.  Why?  Both fastballs are around 97 MPH.

A.  League's fastball reads 97 sometimes, but it's thrown from a low arm slot, it's thrown EVERY BLINKIN' PITCH at knee level, and it sinks.  The result is a flat sidearm fastball that "keeps the bat in the zone a long time."  The hitter dips his back knee and then the bat is on a plane with the pitch the entire time it's in the air.

Pryor's fastball comes over the top, runs downhill and then WHOOOOP shoots back up off the BMX jump.  It's more reliably fast.  It's a different conversation.

"Thinking" for Pryor involves this:  (1) moving the fastball around the zone the best he can.  (2) Throwing as hard as he possibly can.  (3) Making sure he gets strike one.  (4) Throwing 3-4 sliders an inning, total, all right on the black or preferably off the black.  Like the first two sliders he threw to Viciedo.


Q.  Will batters swing at a slider even though the advance scouting says he likes to throw it outside the zone?

A.  The strikeout of Konerko, how far was that off the plate?  About two first downs' worth?

If an Aroldis Chapman throws a ball 100 MPH, remember, that adds seven feet to the "length" of the pitch.  Ever been to a batting cage?  Even a broken-down old pug like me can hit 90, 95 MPH if the speed is the same.  

You hear the pop and you swing your bat in rhythm and the ball's there.  That's what they mean by "cheating," simply swinging in time to the release of the ball.  ... now picture yourself swinging in time to 90 MPH, pop, swing ... except this one was 100 MPH.  You know how far it was past your bat?  7 feet!

Now remember, also, the hitter doesn't get to decide to swing when the ball's 10 feet away.  Even if he can swing in 0.20 seconds -- one eyeblink to get your bat into the strike zone!! -- he's got to decide whether to swing when the ball is 30-40 feet away from him.


Ever watch the final strikeout of Randy Johnson's no-hitter?  The ball was like 7 feet off the ground.  Joe Morgan, commenting on Randy Johnson in the playoffs in 1995, remarked sadly "You just don't have enough time to decide whether to swing.  You. Just. Don't. Have. Enough. Time.


Q.  Don't get beat with your second-best pitch, eh...

A.  The above is a baseball cliche that, a lot of the time, sends Dr. D screaming out into the night... Tom Wilhelmsen will crack off a 12-6 curve and somebody will line a GWRBI.  You'll hear somebody say "you need to throw your best pitch there" ... what is TW supposed to do, throw the same pitch every time?


But every cliche has a grounding in truth, and Stephen Pryor is the guy they were thinking of here.  His fastball is amazing, just amazing, and the other pitches need to run with ribbons around the maypole of his fastball.

Pryor don' have a Daniel Bard slider, and he don' have no bidness throwing waist-high sliders down the middle ... or at the very least, he's got no business "showing" a batter his slider twice in one AB.  Not for strikes.  One called strike, first pitch, MAYbe... any further sliders gotta be where they can't hurt him.  Make them beat him on the fastball.  Don't worry, they won't.

Slap me silly, once Pryor goes to the 12 fastball, 3 slider pitch mix, all the sliders on the black or off the black, they're going to make new rules.



Dr D

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GrumpyDon't forget Ackley can play a plus 2B also... He may look like an option to those clubs too.19 min 33 sec ago
mojicianYou're right though. For our outfield problems, the Org has flipped Almonte for Jones, and has had a revolving cast of Gillespie, Romero, Chavez, and. . .First base you have Smoak, LoMo and Bloomquist. Everyone is given an extended audition and nothing is done rashly. Maybe the Angels are being too shrill about their problems and having new players every week is not the answer for everything. I imagine Moreno stomping into Dipoto's office in April, and yelling: "Fix the bullpen right now or everyone's fired".25 min 53 sec ago
DaddyOmojican, I just laughed and laughed when you posted that.47 min 37 sec ago
mojicianWhy do I have to be Mindy?51 min 59 sec ago
DaddyOThe expression "fish or cut bait" was created for situations like the one faced by the Seattle Mariners. In this case, one wonders if they are determined to prove that you can catch a fish without ANY bait.59 min 33 sec ago
DaddyOI agree Matt and moji (my version of Mork and Mindy). I keep telling myself that it's possible in the end Jack will be proved right to have waited. (After all, Ackley is suddenly teasing us again with his potential.) But I find the lack of urgency bewildering.1 hour 3 min ago
DaddyOIn case anyone wonders, that was a joke.1 hour 4 min ago
DaddyOHey, the M's make roster moves. They demote Lucas Leutge, they promote Justin Smoak. They demote Smoak and call up Leutge. They start the season Romero on the roster, then they send him down and call up XXX. Then they send XXX down and call up Smoak again. Then Romero, or maybe Montero, until they demote them again. Yup, they make roster moves allright.1 hour 5 min ago
mojicianMe too Matt. You know, at the start of the season, the Anglel's bullpen was known as the "Arson Squad" and was a sucking chest wound embarrassment to the flying monkeys. Since that time, the Angels have made no fewer than 86 roster moves by my count, just to improve their pitching. They have tried every reliever they have in the high minors, and signed every minor league player they know about. They swapped closers with the Pirates and traded top prospects for a real closer. Angels' pitching changes and additions are made weekly. The end result is a decent bullpen.1 hour 50 min ago
SABR MattI'm still waiting for the Mainers to show any sort of urgency about this season.2 hours 20 min ago
benihanaI think the M's are sitting very pretty this trade deadline. Heyman tweeted out that " oak, sfg, tor, cin, nyy all have 2B issue". Contenders with 2b issues... well.. can I sell you on Mr. Nick Franklin? No? How about this fangraphs article that shows the computer thinks the best available call-ups in all the minor leagues are Chris Taylor and Ty Kelly? - What position do they play? Ohh SS/2b? riiiight....3 hours 3 min ago
Bat571Which leads me to wonder what would result from getting him on the Ms, putting him in RF ~4 days a week and DH'ing him the rest of the time, getting Robbie Cano in his ear about what he could mean to this club, and let him finish this year at his current ~.760 OPS with some incremental improvement along the way. Given that a .760 OPS is above what most Ms are putting up, to me it comes down to whether the Dodgers will pick up > 1/2 of his remaining contract to resolve their issue. And then whether the lights of Pioneer Square will be enough.3 hours 46 min ago
Bat571Whether that change of scenery brings him to Seattle is another issue, but it appears he now realizes he's not in championship form, he's serious about getting there but is having trouble doing so because he's having to do new things as well as those he's comfortable with. He's insecure about his abilities because he's not comfortable with his role - and he says stupid things about it. I'm not sure that a country boy from Oklahoma who's seen the Hollywood lights will ever get himself grounded again. But IF he did ....4 hours 59 sec ago
Bat571Reading all the stuff from the LA Times about Kemp for the last week + I'm struck by a couple of things: 1) Kemp is very frustrated by his struggles, knows he's not in shape for an MLB season, and is trying to figure out where he fits. 2) He still thinks he is a high-level contributor, but is limited by his lack of preparation during the last off-season. 3) He doesn't like LF - he was drafted and came up as a RF, moved to CF when Andruw Jones went down, and has "comfort level" issues in LF. His comments after playing RF in Puig's absence sound like he doesn't have the same issues there. 4) In LA, where every utterance gets in the papers, he's fighting a losing battle for positive PR - he, like every top athlete, thinks he can be a champion if he's "set free", but being set free means playing poor baseball as he makes up for the lack of off-season preparation. He needs a change of scenery -- and it looks like he now realizes it.4 hours 7 min ago
rick82I'd rather have Saunders than Kemp in right at this point, and I'm not certain which one is less injury prone. I do know which is more affordable :-)6 hours 32 min ago
drmI actually really worry about the rumors that he was terrible off the field. It's the main reason I want to wait. I want nothing to mess with our chemistry. This team seems really close and I worry that a guy who doesn't work hard, will mess with the chemistry. I got the impression teammates were not impressed.6 hours 33 min ago
tjmSome interesting info on the outfield trade candidate front: LA Times piece today on Matt Kemp says he hates playing left field, doesn't play it very well, and is below average in center. He really only sees himself as a right fielder, which limits his value to a team like the M's, I'd think.6 hours 34 min ago
rick82Seems prudent, drm, but seriously, what does Montero have to prove? The guy will mash lefties falling out of bed, even if his kid's been crying all night. We have some important games coming up and we could really use a lefty masher on our bench for them. Move Hart to first and dh Montero against lefties. If Hart is coming back, that should scare a few left handers.6 hours 37 min ago
rick82The AME (Ackley Mirage Effect) is here: .802 OPS over the past 14 days ("wind aided" by a four day layoff), 1.056 over the past week. Here's something interesting, his "Late and Close" batting average is .283. So, another week of this, and Dustin could become a very valuable chip as well. Or, will Moe's nightmare come true and will we decide Dustin is "fixed"? Stay tuned!6 hours 42 min ago
drmLet's see Montero do it another week at home, then I'll be ready to bring him up. That will be a month of time in AAA.6 hours 44 min ago