Stephen Pryor Scouting Report 6.2.12 - Fastball

 .......................................................................

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:

 ...................................................

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.

....................

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: 9/1/15 5:22am
Interests: Baseball Football Soccer (215957)
    Shouts update every 10 seconds.       
2015-09-03 23:08

More DiPoto stuff: He signed Mike Trout to an extension so club friendly that Trout got in trouble with the union. Also, his teams won a lot with Jared Weaver as their best pitcher.

2015-09-03 21:32

Angels fans are afraid they will never get another good GM because Sciosca and Moreno now have a malignant rep and Sciosca is entrenched.

2015-09-03 21:28

Angels fans view DiPoto's strengths to be that he is good at running a farm system and he is a good sabe.

2015-09-03 21:05

Further, Angels fans universally loved DiPoto. Further, he wasn't fired. His team is fun to follow because he changes his scrubs from week to week. He doesn't hold with floundering rookies working out their kinks on TV.

2015-09-03 20:56

Jerry DiPoto to interview. DiPoto can deal with some nonsense. His boss, Moreno, signs or fires players, like Josh #Hamilton, on his own. His underling, Sciosca, refuses to deploy the shift. Sciosca apparently doesn't believe in it.

2015-09-03 20:09

So things appear to be working as designed now. Thanks, admins.

2015-09-03 19:52

Everything I've said, I stand by - but I also wanted to take time out to thank KLAT for their hard work on our behalf. There's no such thing as a free lunch, but you guys have given us almost that very thing, and that's rare. Our experience of Mariner #Baseball fandom would have been far emptier without your willingness to work with Jeff and put up with us whining when stuff doesn't work. :)

2015-09-03 18:40

Hey #Seattle Sports Insiders - We all hope that you enjoy the new #SeattleSportsInsider.com interface! We are working hard to improve your experience - and thanks for your patience with our launch. We look forward to your comments and hope that we are providing you a fun and informative site for your enjoyment - that's the goal of our project! - Richard

2015-09-03 18:34

I originally saw the sub categories at top when first loaded on #Mobile, but then they disappeared.. am I missing something?

Reply - Richard - 9/3/15 6:43pm
We're working on mobile menus now - and will work on improving links to relevant content shortly.Thanks for your help.
Reply - Browns8625 - 9/3/15 7:41pm
Thanks much, definately appreciate the site and work you guys do.. I certainly could not.
2015-09-03 18:11

normal article functionality is back - must have been related to their efforts to subcategorize the site. Which, BTW, I actually very much like. I want there to be room here for #Football and #Soccer discussions and I don't want it to distract the group that's just wanting to talk #Baseball, so this change is very positive. Doc - I see and understand your point regarding how lucky we've been with KLAT. I am not trying to be ungrateful...please understand that. I think it is not a good policy to discourage folks from letting the KLAT team know when we are dissatisfied with features they're implementing, though. I believe you when you say they're super nice guys...that's a great thing to know. I've never accused them of being mean or anything. :) I just feel that it is very important to let the site admins know how things are impacting the users here. They don't owe us anything at all...I get that. But it really would help if we understood their long term goals...just a little...it would make us all feel a little better about the project, I think.

Reply - Browns8625 - 9/3/15 6:32pm
Agreed.. this has definately been a baseball driven site Originally I thought it was just due to summer and regular season baseball play, until someone straightened me out lol
2015-09-03 16:37

Seems to work pretty decent on mine... what issues have you been having?

2015-09-03 16:36

Admins, yes, but the point is it does not work like it's supposed to. RIght now if I click on an article no matter what tab is activated it doesn't bring up the article. It just reloads the main page. That's what people are trying to tell you. Whether it's platform related, I have no idea.

edited to add, I take that back, now the first article loads when accessed with the Baseball tab activated, but not with the All tab activated.

Reply - Browns8625 - 9/3/15 4:38pm
Ohbokay, yes I was having that issue just starting today
Reply - admin - 9/3/15 4:48pm
ok. I now see that problem... I'm working on it... Thanks.
2015-09-03 16:09

For a social media focused platform you would think it would work better on a #Mobile.

2015-09-03 15:56

Re: click sport then pick article, you're right Ice, that works now. It didn't before. Clearly they are making ongoing tweaks today using the "live" site rather than tweaking a non-production version and only deploying it when they are satisfied that it works correctly. This practice does differ from what we're mostly used to, but to use a common phrase that my wife increasingly employs these days, "It is what it is." Klat is primarily a social media site that works according to it's own priorities and practices, and living with it is part and parcel of enjoying Doc's graciously provided site.

Reply - admin - 9/3/15 4:04pm
Just to clarify... All articles should appear on the 'All' selection. Then only baseball articles/chats appear on the baseball subdomain. Only football articles/chats appear on the football subdomain, etc.... The new menu changes the subdomain.
Reply - admin - 9/3/15 4:06pm
For writers of articles: If an article is created in the baseball subdomain, it appears in 'All' and 'Baseball'. Same for the other sports subdomains...
2015-09-03 15:07

Right now, it looks like you have to click the sport then pick the article.

Kind of absurd that you guys edit the production site while people are relying on it :-/

2015-09-03 14:34

Yup. Site is fully screwed at the moment

2015-09-03 13:06

I recall a similar line of reasoning earlier in the season when there were questions about why he wasnt called up then. Disappointing that he has not been able to fix it.

2015-09-03 11:41

Admins, FYI, now ALL articles when clicked on simply reload the main page.

2015-09-03 10:16

Re: "Tommy Gun" post, interesting that it only happens with that one article. Also, when I click on the "Active Threads" tab to see recent article comments, all the articles disappear. I provide this detail for the benefit of the admins.

Re: Divish and Montero, this certainly provides a rationale for a demotion allowing him to work on his swing, although you won't know if it's fixed until he's back up in a league where good fastballs are routine. Hopefully he can solve all this during the offseason, because when he's right he's productive with the bat. Also, hopefully, the M's staff are correct in their assessments.

2015-09-03 09:26

Divish with a note on the club's concern with Montero's swing:

"...there is some concern about the fundamentals of Montero’s swing, particularly the large dip of the head of the bat as he initiates his swing. That unnecessary movement slows down everything and leaves him behind on pitchers with quality fastballs. By instinct, Montero has to “cheat” on the fastball, starting the swing early. Pitchers recognize it and counter by throwing breaking stuff away when they are ahead. Why didn’t it affect him at Class AAA, where he hit .346 with 17 doubles, 6 triples, 16 home runs and 75 RBI with a .938 OPS? There is a lack of outstanding fastballs in the Pacific Coast League."

Reply - Browns8625 - 9/3/15 4:41pm
Also not as much intel in the minors. That's why they call it the bigs.. will be a tough adjustment
2015-09-03 08:43

Yup, same here

2015-09-03 05:10

The most recent post about the Mariner offense won't display for me...when I click on it, I get sent to a blank screen with the post selection slider again.

2015-09-03 05:06

Can't get Doc's latest article (Tommy Gun) to open on iPhone.

2015-09-03 04:25

Can't get Doc's latest article (Tommy Gun) to open on iPhone.

2015-09-02 22:55

I see more shouts disappeared.

2015-09-02 21:02

Too late to go on a run? :-)

2015-09-02 15:19

Montero's been slumping badly...so...not sure I blame the Mariners for not starting him.

2015-09-02 15:06

Apparently it wasn't Z who hated Montero...

2015-09-02 12:00

Sorry for the cut and paste tweets but the reactions from people that cover the team are interesting. One can feel their confusion. Witness: @CurtoWorld: Mariners option Jesus Montero to Tacoma. I believe this is first time they've sent a player down after Sept 1 in at least 17 years- not sure.

Reply - Browns8625 - 9/3/15 4:43pm
Not just them though, just odd timing for anyone to do. I also do not know if I have ever seen one team send as many guys down as the mariners have here the last cpl months
2015-09-02 11:44

@StoneLarry: When you send a guy down AFTER rosters expand, I'd say it doesn't bode well for his future in the organization.

2015-09-02 11:25

@RyanDivish: Hearing that the Mariners have optioned Jesus Montero back to Class AAA Tacoma for the last five games of Rainiers' season. The Mariners face a fair amount of right-handers till then.

2015-09-02 10:07

RH swing looks like it has a slow launch to me. batspeed OK, but not full of life or anything...this swing would make Choi a .260 hitter with a decent eye and no power from the right side. Maybe.

2015-09-02 08:52

YouTube video from a game where they talk about it and show two RH at bats. Silly M's - the guy wants to switch hit when he signs and they say no. He gets to AAA and THEN the org gives its blessing. I wish I was surprised by that.

Not the most dynamic RH swing I've seen but we've seen worse RH swings from guys in Mariner uniform this year. It's just bizarre. Given how rabid M's fans are about the minors, I'm surprised this hasn't received more commentary.

https://m.youtube.co...

2015-09-02 08:38

I read something from Curto on Choi and IIRC, it was Choi's idea. He wanted to try it in ST and they gave him their blessing...then came the suspension. It's curious that he's doing it...successfully thus far. I mean, small sample size, but he's been a terror since he came back switch hitting. 957 OPS with more pop (500 SLG).

2015-09-02 07:44

If the Mariners were the ones that told Choi to switch hit, it confirms their stupidity. If Choi decided to do that on his own, the Mariners need to order him to knock it off.

2015-09-02 05:40

Choi doesn't have significant splits against same handed pitching, so he doesn't need to switch hit. Either it's a practical joke , or someone hates me.

2015-09-01 20:15

With you on Kivlehan

2015-09-01 17:54

How odd is it that Choi came back from his suspension and all of a sudden, he's a switch hitter? I mean, I don't think I've ever heard of someone that started switch hitting at 24, let alone at the AAA level.

2015-09-01 17:35

I'd like to see Choi get called up. Boy could we have used an Olerud-lite bat this year. Get Kivlehan up here too... he seems to need some time to learn/adapt to a new level (though he learns fast). Might as well have him start the process this year.

2015-09-01 17:21

Zych has a gun... but I fear it is pretty close to straight arrow.

2015-09-01 16:42

I like Zych, actually...great AAA numbers based on an interesting pitch mix...possible sleeper?

2015-09-01 13:46

Thanks Griz. I highly approve of Romero and O'Malley getting shots. I love the versatility of O'Malley: Plays everywhere and brings a vL bat that is .330-.387-.450 this year and .340-.398-.489 last year. He can play on my team any day. A Bloomquist (versatility) with a decent bat.

2015-09-01 12:55

I still get excited for Elias starts.. am I alone? Really love his repetoire of pitches. When he is on he is on. Hopefully a better game in store from that last one. Think it was good for him overall coming back from Tacoma getting his feet wet. Hope he has a good game/ and can contribute in future

Reply - mickiholley - 9/1/15 1:19pm
Elias is fun to watch...when he is on his game. I think he will be steady.
2015-09-01 12:29

@shannondrayer: First wave of callups are here. Romero, O'Malley, Jose Ramirez and Tony Zych all in #Houston.

2015-09-01 10:46

Blash and yesterday's huge opposite field dinger: http://www.milb.com/...

Kivlehan is quick and simple to the ball: http://www.milb.com/...

Reply - Browns8625 - 9/1/15 12:39pm
Love that opposite field power
2015-09-01 10:35

That's where I am, Matt. He is significantly improved this year in terms of BA. He's hit a heck of a lot of homers in not very many AB's. He K's like Gorman Thomas in the majors, but Thomas only K'ed on 20% of his AAA AB's....not 33%! Thomas was .225-.324-.448 over his MLB years. OPS+ of 114. He hit .241 at AA but .291 in AAA (#Sacramento). Hit below .200 his 1st two significant years in the bigs. Then Thomas figured it out a bit. He was 27 before he was very successful. And that was after another full year stint in the PCL (after two years in the bigs). Blash doesn't have that kind of MiLB pedigree....but this year indicates some sort of plateau leap. Well, maybe. He's a bit of a long shot, But if he can hit .240 he's will be a finie player. Thomas has 4 seasons above .240 (.246, .244, .259, .245) in those seasons his OPS+ was 142, 138, 146 & 137. Thomas didn't really walk more in the minors that Blash has. At .240 Blash is a player, regardless of the K's. But .240 will be tough for him to hit, based on his large AAA K rate which is still above 30% even in this "plateau" year. He may not make contact often enough. Kingman was a productive player when he was north of .235, even early in his career. He was above .260 4 times and in those seasons he was a tremendous hitter. But he Ked in only about 25% of his AAA AB's. The TTO guy can be productive. Trumbo never has walked enough to be a true TTO (55 pts in AA/AAA & 50 pts in MLB) but he is a "similar" guy. When he's in the .240 range he's decently productive. However he only K'ed in about 24% of his AAA AB's. Blash is over the line, K-wise, but way over the line, in a good way, BB-wise. As such, he's a guy that will get a chance.

2015-09-01 09:05

K rate dooms almost everyone when north of 25% in the minors. I said ALMOST everyone. Decent walk rate says something a bit different...he merits a real look.

Reply - Browns8625 - 9/1/15 12:56pm
K rates food teams more than given credit for
2015-09-01 07:05

That's PA's....not (A's

2015-09-01 07:02

BTW (again): Down on the farm, Zunino is 7-12 in 3 games w/3 HR's. He likes AAA pitching! Blash has hit 32 HR's in 403 AA/AAA AB's this year. He's also walked 61 times (100 pts worth!!). But he's struck out 122 times in those 403 AB's. 22 of those HR's have come in his 194 AAA AB's. Wow!! He's a TTO guy. In 225 AAA (A's this year, he's HR-BB-K'ed 112 times....50%) He'll get a #Seattle look-see this year. The whiff rate will be scary (33% over his AAA career = what in the bigs?) but he can certainly ride the ball. Were he a .240-.320 guy with 30+ HR's he would be quite interesting. But, oh my, the K's!

2015-09-01 06:46

Endy Chavez's career vL OPS is .638. He hasn't been a MLB starter in decades, it seems. If you had a ++ bat at SS, like Tulo or classic Jeter (especially if they were a RHB), you could run Miller out there vL. But without some Miller improvement in that category it is unlikely that you use him without a platoon partner. We were using him with a partner at SS, remember. BTW: Marte is 1-17 over the last 4 games. Has anybody noticed if he is being pitched to differently? Has the league adjusted? No BB's in 3 of those games.

2015-09-01 06:25

More depth for LA to make a push. Rugg can play anywhere in outfield. I know Puig has been battling hammy issues.

2015-09-01 05:22

Mariners sell off Ruggiano for cash...

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