Stephen Pryor Scouting Report 6.2.12 - Fastball

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Q.  98.3 MPH, eh?  Does Stephen Pryor throw the hottest fastball in organized baseball?

A.  The hottest the Mariners have ever seen, him and the young Randy Johnson.  The 98.3 he averaged in his debut, that would theoretically lead both leagues in fastball velocity.  Henry Rodriguez averaged 98.0 MPH last year; a grand total of four (4) other guys including Chapman, Bard and Jordan Walden were at 97 or better.  Note carefully that Pryor averaged 98.3 despite a multi-inning outing, warming up twice, all that stuff.

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Q.  Does the fastball have "life" on it, or is it just real fast?

A.  We quipped in the shout box that the velocity was the 3rd best thing about his fastball... here, gentlemen, is the best thing:

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A typical 4-seam (extra-fast) fastball swerves armside 5", and rises 8".  Stephen Pryor's fastball does not run armside; relatively speaking it cuts in on lefties, and it rises 11".  A lot of the time it rises 13-14".

You'll remember that the secret to Mariano Rivera's cutter lies solely in the fact that he gets such drastic "hop" on it, along with extra length.  This is the very definition of "late life."  Also Brandon Morrow's fastball -- whatever you want to say about Brandon Morrow -- has dramatic late rise on it, and that's why the catchers tell you "Wow!  Brandon Morrow's fastball gets to the last 5 feet and it just EXPLODES!"

These are two completely separate issues.  One - Pryor's fastball is 96-100 MPH.  Two - his fastball is turbocharged in the last 10 feet.

You say, "no way."  Read it and weep, chump.

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Q.  Do the other 100-MPH relievers have this hop?

A.  Daniel Bard gets 8-9" rise, about average, though Bard's heater does cut in to LHB's nicely.  You might have heard that Bard's fastball is a little bit hard to square up.

Henry Rodriguez gets 9-10" of rise, really nice hop, and roughly average armside run.

Chapman's lefty fastball actually sinks a bit compared to typical ML fastballs.  He gets really good armside sail.

Jordan Walden's heater is similar to Pyror's, not quite so much .... he gets 10" of rise but he also gets a lot of armside sail.  It is the "cutting" action into LHB's, added to the 10-12" rise, that gives Pryor's heater a Rivera-style shape.  The cut in gloveside is what keeps these pitches off the barrels of the bats.

Joel Hanrahan's fastball doesn't cut and rise like Pryor's, Kelvin Herrera's doesn't ... Nate Jones we just saw tonight and he looks awesome, but his fastball is fairly straight.  It is safe to say that the life and hop on Pryor's fastball is very special, probably unique.

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Q.  How does Pyror get this hop and life?

A.  He gets on top of the baseball.  Like he gets on top of the ball as well as anybody in O.B.  It's bizarre to see somebody powerflush a fastball down at the ground in front of home plate, and still get 100 MPH on it.

You probably remember SSI's sermonizing about Brandon Morrow.  Morrow throws better, the closer his fingers point to 12 o'clock, which he has been doing more and more.  When Morrow's fingers drop to 2 o'clock, even close to 3 o'clock, it's like his fingers undercut the ball and sail it, giving a floating action.

Pryor's natural motion gets him way, way on top of the ball.  The intersection of 99 MPH with a downhill release, that is inflammable.  Roger Clemens used it at 92-93 MPH, in his 30's, to rack up nine thousand Cy Youngs.

We've got the hop and life as the "secret drop of poison" here, the #1 thing about the heater, and the deceptive high front side, over-the-top downhill motion as #2.  We've got the tongue in cheek a bit on that last.  You can put the 99 MPH second on the list.

Heh.

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Is Dr. D sounding as though he likes Stephen Pryor's fastball at all?

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Comments

1
ghost's picture

This is OT for this thread, but you don't have any recent posts in the last week on the Mariner offense - which is IMHO a far more important story than Stephen Pryor, as fun as he is to watch.
I'm looking at the Mariners' team totals in various offensive stats that generally are good predictors of performance. For example:
Team BABIP: .276 vs.
Team xBABIP (assuming normal BABIP on trajectory types): .306
Some of this difference may be park related, but not all 30 points of it. That gap, BTW, would be larger if the Mariners didn't pop the ball up so much. In dialing up the aggression, they've increased their LD% from last year's abysmal 16.8% to this year's 20.5%, but also increased the pop-up rate from a more normal 11.0% last year to 12.1% now (!!).
Or, we could try:
Team HR/Fly: 7.5%
SAFECO all time average HR/Fly: 9.4%
And it should be intuitively obvious that our line-up is better suited to Safeco than that historical average and that we have at least normal power potential this year. Even with the unlucky HR/Fly, the team is middle of the pack in longballs and XBH thus far...that's without the maximized performance of Montero, Ackley, and Smoak (though Smoak is coming around)...not ot mention Carp.
Team SW-S%: 9.1% (league average is 9%)
Team K-rate: 21.4% (league average is 18.5%)
With a normal whiff rate, the Mariners continue to be in the top third in K-rate...this won't likely continue now that their power numbers are increasing and likely to continue to increase.
To compliment this fact:
Team O-SW%: 28% (6th best rate in the game)
Team P/PA: 3.85 (dead on league average)
Those two things don't mesh except that we're still getting too many strikes...a fact that changes the more our power numbers improve.
This offense looks primed, IMHO, to break out in the second half as the weather warms. If we can fix the back of our rotation and maybe add one more quality reliever, it could be a lot more fun and very soon.

2
ghost's picture

Team pitches seen for the offense: 8081
Team pitches thrown by the pitchers: 7839
This ratio is fourth in the AL and 11th in baseball.
Time of possession matters in baseball like any other sport. The team that hits for longest usually scores the most.

3
Taro's picture

The team is developing at a quicker pace than I anticipated. Already the pythag is at .500 without any of our big 3 pitching prospects promoted, with only a few months of development from our young hitting, and some BABIP rebounding that is due.

4
Taro's picture

The one negative is Wedge for me. His teams have had a pattern of performing significantly under pythag in the past and we've begun to see the reasons behind it this year. In-game and strategic managing is non-existant.

5

And without his crucial blown saves we're basically right on Pythag. His runs and Delabar's HRs (who has a 2.6 HR rate??) have made our leveraged innings very shaky.
Wedge is using the bench a bit more than I expected, is making sure Jaso gets into games, and rather than panicking about Smoak he made sure the big guy kept getting lots of at-bats, and it's paying off now. Wedge has been about as agile recently as I could ask him to be.
His stubborn refusal to pinch-hit or bother vets in any way was horribly frustrating in April, and we'll see how Olivo does and how much of a tether he gets, but his gut has served him pretty well. And he's trying to change the psyche of a team so there are things he's looking for and feeling out that I'm not in a proper position to judge (even though, believe me, I judge my tail off).
Interesting article about Wedge telling people to shut it and let him do his job to make this bunch of rooks into pro ballplayers.
http://blog.seattlepi.com/baseball/2012/05/30/eric-wedge-spills-his-guts...
Once Hultzen comes up and either Noesi or Beavan go down, we'll see if we can't make some more strides. The exchange of League for Capps later this summer should continue the process. A stable back-end will help the starters and the offense, not to mention the Pythag.
~G

6

Agreed, with the weather warming up and the Safe not playing as tough, home offensive output should jump.
There's a lot of talent on this team. It's not reflected in our offensive AL rankings yet, but we've scored 30 more runs through 56 games than we did last year. "On pace" is a misleading stat category, but still: on pace for 670 runs, and feeling like 700 should be doable.
With a usable offense and improving pitching staff, I'm interested to see how Wedge's Pythag looks the rest of the year. Keep hitting fellas - a few more hot streaks by really talented hitters (looking at you Ackley) would be most welcome.
But the team's posting a .584 OPS at home (.238 BABIP) with a .724 on the road (.296 BABIP). That's not gonna last. Safeco's a pitcher's park, but not like Petco.
Home/Road differential:
2012: +.140 road
2011: +.035 road
2010: +.028 road
2009: +.007 road
2008: +.025 HOME
Horrible teams or good, our team has never been crushed at home for a season like they have been this year. That'll rebound. And folks need to remember that while home field advantage isn't the same in baseball as it is in other sports, home cooking is still better and we've played WAY more road games than home so far.
Home PAs: 762
Away: 1330
We've played 34 games on the road and only 22 at home. That includes an overseas trip. We been able to skip a few games at the Safe when offense would be depressed due to weather and hitter struggles, and hopefully now that our hitters are all bringing lumber to the yard they'll be able to make some dents in our offensive struggles in Seattle as well.
~G

7
ghost's picture

At this point, I think it's off base to blame Wedge. He's got the hitters digging in and performing better than we all thought, including being more patient and hitting more aggressively...AT THE SAME TIME (which is hard to do). He's been VERY agile with his bullpen management, moving bad guys out of pressure roles quickly and inserting the new arms he's given right away. He's also begun using his bench aggressively to keep guys fresh and ready to hit. His defensive substitutions and pinch hits aren't there...but that's probably the least important part of managing, IMHO.
This team, minus five really bad appearances from league, would be at .500. Blame the guy who can't throw his splitter for strikes and therefore has to throw fastballs whenever he gets behind in counts in save situations.

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Chat: 6/30/15 11:58pm
Interests: Health Travel (185903)
A question:  When was the last time a ML...Read more.
    Shouts update every 10 seconds.       
2015-07-04 18:11

Had not seen the active posts tab. That helps.

2015-07-04 18:07

I'm not sure I'd call the changes "making an omelet", though.

2015-07-04 18:07

I use the active posts tab now which seems to be working fine. Think I'm keeping up OK

2015-07-04 17:50

Agreed on the side bar, Grumpy. But when you wanna make an omelette, you gotta break some eggs.

2015-07-04 16:56

You know, I kind of miss the sidebar from the old site that listed the comments mase in the main posts. Kind of makes it harder to keep up especially as the posts disappear of to the right. Even though you can scroll to them, it creates an "out-of-site, out-of-mind" situation.

2015-07-04 15:20

M'S need to be clutch for once... find a way to win this late. It'd be a big step in right direction

2015-07-04 13:35

If in April, someone had told me that Rodney had imploded and lost the closer's job, that Leone had been traded and that both Farquahar and Wilhelsen had pitched his way to Tacoma, I would have assumed that the bullpen was a hot mess.

2015-07-04 11:10

Jones, Guaipe and Rollins up. RHB's are hitting .284 vs. Guaipe in AAA this year. Huh....
Jones likely #Travels again when 'Kuma comes up.
My goodness we love James Jones. He is hitting .275-.370 vs. RHP this year. But he's a .580 MLB guy vR....and is basically the same hitter vL.

2015-07-04 04:40

Just took a look and the M'S gotta take 8 of 9 to be above 500 at the break.. here's to dreaming

2015-07-04 04:36

Ya, hate when that happens. It was good with 4 homers in all

2015-07-03 23:42

Of COURSE the M's put on an offensive show tonight. I didn't get to watch a snitch of the game. Happens every time.

2015-07-03 22:45

Elias, Nuno, Bartender to AAA.

2015-07-03 20:34

Hell of an offensive show tonight. But....what will tomorrow bring

2015-07-03 17:47

Kind of forced to listen to a guy with that offensive track record. Zunino sure looks like he's buying in.

2015-07-03 17:37

They *are* playing to be the tailenders aren't they? If they hit last place in a 1-division league, just keep in mind. Edgar. Is. Good.

2015-07-03 17:19

Got a shot for last in the AL tonight. Are the Mariners considered an addiction for those of us who follow so close? Not sure how I can still get excited to spend my Friday night watching this team, but I do!

2015-07-03 17:04

Lil video on espn ap on non-stars.. guy picked Cano number 1. Hard to blame him, and that's the national attention this team has. He definately isn't playing up to par or his paycheck, and it seems to be contagious. On paper....hmm wow not bad, but on field...ummm? Big changes coming up ahead.

2015-07-03 16:34

robinwilliamsmovietitle...quite sweet. It's #Independence Day, it's hot, and clearly my brain is a little addled this afternoon.

2015-07-03 15:34

Rollins has been looking dominant in Tacoma. Decisions, decisions.

2015-07-03 10:59

On Taijuan, edit to add that he looked terrif after 76 pitches but the NL strategy played in to it. And so happened to pay off in a full nickels bin, as it were ...

2015-07-03 10:57

DaddyO … but how sweet is it to have the Taylor/Logo combo in, and Willie out … got to give it up that the M's ate the contract. Politically it's not easy either; you make a decision to give a "reach" contract and then next midseason you admit it was a reach. Very tough to do in a boardroom.

2015-07-03 10:56

Kazmir would have shut out any lineup in the majors on Thursday … not to say our offense doesn't have problemos but Kazmir could not miss the glove, even with his curve ball. If it were bowling he'd have scored 301.

2015-07-03 10:55

Taijuan gets quick hooks in lieu of / in addition to an IP count. Probably has its benefits. The last 10-20% of your reps cost as much wear-and-tear as the first 80-90% ...

2015-07-03 10:24

I question the quick hook on Taijuan more than Felix... 72 pitches and done? Did he look that bad after so few pitches?

2015-07-03 07:02

#Jordan Pries needed 33 pitches to get one out in the 1st w/Tacoma last night. 5 ER's, 2 BB's, 3 hits and two homers. Rollins, now on rehab, threw two innings of zero run ball. 1 hit and 4 K's. Beimel is likely gone soon.

2015-07-03 06:51

Yup zERO consistency.. they we're going for their first 3 game shutout in 7 years. Honestly.. where is the all star break

2015-07-03 06:07

This team is just sad.

2015-07-03 00:05

The Mariners are incapable of winning streaks. Losing streaks maybe, but not winning ones.

2015-07-02 21:04

The worst part of tonight... Billy Beane will now get more for Kazmir when he trades him, so today's lack luster game will haunt us for years to come.

2015-07-02 18:40

As expected, the first five minutes of the pregame show were spent gushing about Willie Bloomquist and what a shame it is His Belovedness has to move on. And my worst fear was realized. They opined about how once he hangs 'em up, perhaps he might come back and join the M's media team. Again, he's probably a nice guy. But I don't wanna see him. To me he represents all that is wrong with the Mariners.

2015-07-02 17:21

I think we, and alot of people, just expect so much of Felix. It was a rare game overall for him. Def disapointing, and he got hit up early. He will need a big bounce back that's for sure. I think alot of it is the high expectations any elite pitcher, or player in any sport,faces

2015-07-02 16:32

Thank you Matt. I feel better now.

2015-07-02 15:10

The change: his Pitches per inning ratio has dropped from 15.2 in 2009 to 14.5 in 2014. He's actually having a bit of an off year in 2015 overall, but that is largely due to getting absolutely shellacked twice at random.

2015-07-02 15:03

As for your question regarding pitch counts over time...Felix isn't losing 120 pitch games because he doesn't care to pitch deep into games and risk injury or because he's getting soft-shoed by the Mariners. He's losing 120+ pitch games because he's pitching more efficiently. His IP counts per season are steady and among the best in baseball.

2015-07-02 15:01

Neither, Tacoma. Felix was pulled from that game because he was visibly laboring late...throwing a TON of pitches and limping a bit on his bad ankle after having to field his position in the 6th. They yanked him because a laboring Felix who's struggling with his command can actually get really terrible really fast.

2015-07-02 14:48

I know I'm stomping on hallowed ground, but... is anyone else bothered by the last Felix start? Yeah, I know it was a no runs, 1 hit masterpiece in 100+ temperatures BUT.... leaving after 6 innings after throwing 96 pitches against a division rival in a game the Mariners really needed to win.
I realize the bullpen was fairly well rested, and Lloyd really mis-managed the bullpen to lose the game... BUT 96 pitches? And this highlights the fact that Felix has not thrown more than 120 in close to two years. Aren't aces / kings supposed to be horses that occasionally throw 130 pitches when it is needed?
Is Lloyd / Mariner's coaching treating Felix with kid gloves too much? Or has Felix decided that pitching another 7 to 10 years is more important than giving max effort this year?

2015-07-02 14:36

If he bombs like that Matt....in some extended trial....then I'm good with that.

2015-07-02 14:32

He'll at least get a September call-up. No reason not to.

2015-07-02 14:30

I am sure Guti gets at least 80 at bats before they cut ties with him... and based on the fact he can not play back to back days... that is easily well into August. I agree that Romero SHOULD get another significant look, but I doubt it happens until August... and possibly September.

2015-07-02 14:30

Most AAAA players get two shots at least. I'm sure Romero will too. And when he's finished hitting .198 with 5 HR and 100 K, hopefully we won't extend a third audition.

2015-07-02 14:00

Looks like the M's could get a young RHB who hit .352-.391-.599 at A+/AA and .321-.365-.559 at AAA. Well....I'm loading the dice. That's Stefen Romero, of course. And I dropped his first AAA year '13, which wasn't a disaster. In '13 Romero, in 411 Tacoma PA's hit .277-.331-.448 with 11 homers. Over 444 '14-'15 Tacoma PA's, he's hit .321-.365-.559 with 21 homers. Matt, I know you hate Romero based on the fact that he doesn't walk much and fizzled in #Seattle last year, but the guy has upped his game to the next level and can slug. If Guti doesn't hit, Romero should get a shot.

2015-07-02 13:20

The timing on this is weird just because it didn't make any sense to send him down lat time, but it is driven by this fact: Miller is hitting .143-.176-.153 vL this year, approx. .160-.215-.250 over the last two and .206-.260-.296 for his career. He's a hard hitting SS vs. RHP, but needs the vL help. Taylor isn't ripping up Tacoma right now (.701 over the last 28 days),but he's at .308-.370-.418 vL for the year, including his #Seattle stint. It doesn't make up a lot more flexible, but it helps us some.

2015-07-02 13:09

It had to be done. Taylor was hitting again in AAA, and we need someone who can actually play short up here to bench Miller against tough lefties.

2015-07-02 12:41

Oh no. They'll probably make Wille B the new manager, and all he'll want to do is talk about grit. jk. At least I won't have to listen any more to the incessant fanboy talk from the M's announcers and commentators.

I'm sure WIllie is a fine man personally. I'm just relieved to no longer be afflicted with his presence as a player taking the spot of someone who can contribute more.

I imagine there is a funereal atmosphere in the front office, where WIllie seemed to symbolize everything Fanboy Mariner-- overhyped and overrated.

2015-07-02 11:40

The end of Boom Boom. About...a year and a half too late

2015-07-02 11:33

Willie Bloomquist DFA'd and Chris Taylor brought up. Maybe some winning will break out.

2015-07-02 11:23

Take Luis Gohara for instance. He's now in #Everett kicking off his 3rd minor league season. It seems like he's been in the org forever, but he's only 18 years old. How he performs for the next 10 weeks or so in #Everett and then next year in full season ball is what will tell us if we actually have something of value.

2015-07-02 11:16

Vargas is a big, strong 16-year old. He's a $1.7 million lottery ticket. We'll see first if he can even play and progress in the minors. Probably, we won't even know if he's a prospect for at least two, if not three, years. It's a lottery ticket, a draw at the deck.

2015-07-02 11:05

Who gets booted really depends on how well Elias does today

2015-07-02 11:04

Another big athlete with unorthodox swing with contact issues. Chances high he moves to the OF, where he may not have enough hand-eye skills to succeed.

2015-07-02 11:03

Iwakuma: 1 R in 5.2 IP in AAA, with 6 punchies. Got a blister (says that happens every year when he starts throwing after a long hiatus) and expects to make his next start...soooooo....who do you send out of this rotation when Iwakuma arrives? I'm gonna be TICKED if they boot #Montgomery, the way he's pitching...but that is probably what they'll do, since he has options.

2015-07-02 11:00

Mariners sign Carlos Vargas (Dominican) to 1.7 M bonus. Thoughts?

2015-07-02 10:58

That would be very nice...but even if Bloomy doesn't retire, DFA'ing him can achieve the same result. But if you take Rollins off the DL, he has to be called up or sent back to his club that very moment. Who in the current bullpen leaves for Rollins? (I'd send out Beimel)

2015-07-02 10:27

Best case scenario? Bloomquist retires, Rollins onto the 40 man, Taylor in #Seattle.

2015-07-02 10:25

that would also be fine with me (Bloomquist DFA)

2015-07-02 10:23

@shannondrayer: Chris Taylor on his way up. Mariners could have another move Sat. as they must make a decision on Rollins by then.

2015-07-02 09:56

More likely WFB.

2015-07-02 09:47

Sounds like the club has come up with a miraculous, imaginary Ackley injury to get him off the roster and get Taylor up...I hope that is what happens here.

2015-07-02 09:24

I was driving in to work a little while ago and on the radio Salk mentioned something about Ackley being overweight and injured. Is that true? Maybe there's an injury, but he's never looked overweight to me.

2015-07-02 09:02

@ProspectInsider: Not hearing anything about a trade involving #Seattle. Taylor's call-up appears to be about an option, DFA or injury.

2015-07-02 08:24

Taylor apparently called up

2015-07-02 06:49

I noticed the Pizzano absence, too...GLS> He was removed mid-game a while back and hasn't been back. Drats. I want him in Tacoma. I did not watch Walker throw yesterday as I was listening to the game while tying flies....but I'm assuming he's still on that Buehrle-like rhythm where he gets a sign and throws. Little has been mentioned of that since the first game he did that....which was the game that began this streak.

2015-07-02 04:16

WOW...that...is some serious data-oriented managing. It explains why they yanked him after six today, as well. They must be watching the radar gun closely with him...looking for signs of the sort of fatigue that can lead to micro-tears.

2015-07-02 04:10

Lloyd came running out of the dugout with the trainer for apparently no reason to check Taijuan's #Health; even Taijuan was confused. Later, cameras showed that he scapula-shrugged twice on the mound, as if annoyed at a pain, and later later, Brooks showed it was three pitches into a little velo drop on the graph. (I don't support or not support him more or less but) Lloyd has a V-E-R-Y sharp in-game eye. Even sharper than Piniella's, looks like.

2015-07-02 04:05

Taijuan's command continues to spiral upward universes away from his first several starts. *Reminded* you even more today of the young Curt Schilling template, using the fastball alone to totally dominate. … also, his spikeball was the best it has ever been for him, absolutely the best ever, and yet he threw it only 2x per inning. ?!

2015-07-02 04:01

Quick reminder guys: no language at all, including *#@#$ marks. Thanks :- )

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