Brandon Maurer - a Big FIVE?!

C'mon you punk Angels, he sez, lessee what you GOT


Some things, you buy them, get them in the mail, tear them open ... they're exactly as advertised.  And disappointing.  

Other things, you tear them open, and they're exactly as advertised, and ten times better than you thought.  

That's one of the joys of life for me, getting something that's what somebody said it was, and I like it a lot better than I expected to.  I'm going to sell a spray can that does this to things.  $19.95 per can, buy now and we'll send the second can for the cost of shipping and handling.  You can spritz down Brandon League and turn him into Tom Wilhelmsen.


Somebody bought my product.  He grabbed the can with gusto, crushed it in a powerlifter grip, held it at arm's length and buried Gil Meche in a cloud of magic mist.  Turned him into Brandon Maurer.

One Pitch F/X series and I can tell you right now that Brandon Maurer is what they said he was, plus the magic mist.  By "they" I mean Gordon Gross and, following him, the national sites that have Maurer lurking maliciously at the bottom of the Fab 100 lists.


Just as a f'r instance, here is the first AB from Monday:

Now BaseballHQ had Maurer on the fringes of their top 100 based on -- grok this, now -- an "average-solid" 91-95 fastball that he "throws with confidence and command."   Top 100 based on that.


WHOA WHOA WHOA hold on.  Full Stop Right There Kid.  If you're calling that Average-Solid you need a dictionary.  94 MPH right out of the bullpen?  96 MPH right above the hands for swinging strike three?  What are you talking, average solid?


HQ had Maurer as a borderline-elite prospect based on three pitches, FB, slider, curve, but "74-77 MPH changeup needs work."  

77 Change needs work?  Say WHAAAaaaaat?  Maurer threw an overhand power yakker on pitch 2 that dropped straight down ... and now look at the shape on that 85, not 77, MPH changeup.  That's a ferocious change, baby.  Right down the heart, thrown with shape, location and sequence that says "how many pitches is this going to take."


Next AB below.  We trust you don't need Dr. D's interpretation as to whether the locations pass inspection.


Next AB.  Fastball UP, where manly men throw it, in on the hands.  JAM PITCH.  Let's take this fight to the enemy.  I like how this kid thinks.

Did you grok the way that Maurer threw his fastballs real high?  INTENDING to miss bats rather than hit them?


We don't say that one inning proves Maurer a TOR starter.  But there was a vibe you got when Michael Jordan came out before his first game and bounded around the court for his first layup drill.  Maurer is more than advertised.

After watching 500 pitcher debuts in the past, we know the difference between an oversell and an undersell.  This kid looks scary.  If I didn't know better, I'd wonder whether he was #2 after Taijuan, ahead of Paxton and Hultzen and Erasmo.

Eyes Slideways.  A Big Five?  This is getting ridiculous.  Cut Jon Garland Right Now.


Klat Categories: 


...that Maurer made it a Big Four? Regardless, one thing that having a Hultzen, Paxton, Walker Cerberus is that some of the other guys are going to fly in under the radar and make a huge splash when they arrive. I just hope that other teams are paying attention to the Maurer, Fernandez, and Carraway's in the system so that they might have an idea of what it would take to get them.


At least Maurers getting attention. We couldn't even fit all of the big 4 very easily so it is pretty important that other clubs value the pitching we have. There's so many ways to go with the rotation this year, but it's hard to believe they don't trade away about 3 starters between now and this time next year and if you include the next wave maybe more than 4. Heck, Garland, Bonderman and Saunders could be 3 then we're still looking at Noesi, Beaven, Ramirez, Felix and the 4. Say they keep Noesi at AAA and trade the 3 new vets, there's still a likelihood they trade 1 or 2 more before counting Carraway, Fernandez, Sanchez, etc.. The bullpen is looking at similar depth too, Tacomas pitching it's going to be a fun show this year. I'm certainly not complaining, but it looks like they will have to make some choices on who to keep very soon.


in case you missed it. He caught Maurers last start last season where there was a65 pitch limit but he cruised through 6 innings.

"This guy is the real deal.' He throws everything. He's got a power fastball, and he locates it really well. He's got a good curveball he can throw for strikes at any point in the count. And he's got a good cutter/slider -- whatever he wants to call it -- that he can really put guys away with. And he's got a good changeup. So he's really got a well-balanced four pitches."

Maybe his change is slightly better than reported? Might have just been good that day, but that would be a sign of progress anyway. OK, it could just be fluff or that Zunino hasn't yet seen much better. Worth noting he still listed it last.


is the big brother in the big 5, right? Those 5 and Felix can't even all coexist in a rotation, let alone Iwakuma, Beaven, etc.


Isn't it great when you consider a kid of 22 as the "big brother"?


I'm not down on Maurer, but super-high on Tyler Pike, ultra-polished low-90s teen lefty.  Stepped right out of high school and put up a 1.78 ERA and 10.1 K/9.

And you can't ask for much more than Victor Sanchez did at 17, first time in the states.  First 17-year-old to pitch for Everett since ... kid named Felix in 2003.  Note: Everett is above rookie league, where almost all teenagers start.

And the scouting types seem to prefer huge Brazilian lefty Luiz Gohara (6-3, 220 at age 16) to any of them.

Wonder if the trademark has lapsed on "Big Eight"?



I've read about them all too , but they're still a ways out. Sanchez could push into that conversation this year but by the time the others really do we could be talking 10 or 12 with others having been drafted. Should the M's start another MLB franchise in Portland or Vegas so they can fit them all into rotations?

The rotation is really still thin though...oops, thought it said Marlins.


I'll be able to give you a better grasp on where Gohara fits in the great scheme of things in a couple of weeks when I'm down in Peoria and putting "eyes on". I'm very intrigued with the kid and from what I've been hearing he may be in the top 5 of arms in the system.


to your posts at MC. You've been covering it well with pics and video. Hoping to hear more about Pike, Brazis, Elias, Sanchez, Fernandez, Shipers, of course Smith and whoever stands out. And those are just the pitchers.


Is something I'm pretty curious about too. His bat profiles pretty well there and he definitely has the speed to cover some ground but how he's adjusting and his defensive reads haven't been covered anywhere that I've seen. It seems he could be the 1st callup if CF is the need and he's adjusting well enough.


...for this opportunity to geek it up.

First off, Martinez played CF in 11 games last year for the AA Jackson Generals, so at least he has his feet wet. In those 11 games he had 24 opportunities and converted on all 24 to give him a fielding percentage of 1.000. While in the process of gathering in those 24 chances he showed a range factor of 2.18. In the Southern League in 2012 the median RF/G for the top 10 centerfielders was 2.31, so he would appear maybe not have quite the range as an average starting centerfielder in the Southern League. This, of course could easily be chocked (chaulked?) up to learning the position since it is so vastly different from 3rd. The only way it could be more different is if Martinez had been a catcher, or a base coach...

Good Lord.... will somebody please make tomorrow be April 1st so that we can get this season started????


That if his first stint there was already approaching average it seems that he could surpass average at least with work. Hard to say with that small of a sample but that's still positive. I'd imagine he stays with the club through the first couple cuts so there should be some opportunity to see how he looks. Speaking of which, the first cuts may come before Felix even gets in a game.

I'm with you on getting going. Very exited for the season to start.


ghost's picture


The reason his range factor was low was (a) partly random chance (how many balls did he have any chance to catch and how many of them fell in for hits? some of that is luck in such a short number of games) and (b) the Jackson Generals were a *VERY* high-K team. So the chances were low for ALL of the fielders in Jackson.


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mojicianNo scouting report up yet? Here goes: Legend tells of a player who washed out of the Major leagues and found himself in Sendai, Japan. Through error, he became accustomed to the brutal off speed game of NPB pitchers, and began to "let the ball get deeper into the zone" to hit the ball to all fields. He now controls the trajectory of the ball and bends it according to where the fielders are not. Armed with a technique some thought was only possessed by Ichiro and Cano, McGehee has returned to the United States with one thought on his mind: Revenge.22 min 19 sec ago
SABR MattTHAT...would actually be a nice pick-up1 hour 7 min ago
mojicianNew Heyman Rumor: M's making trade call on Casey McGehee of the Marlins.1 hour 29 min ago
moethedogHooray.....for Fangraphs pointing out that Ty Kelly is something worth having and using. Since we have him I would prefer we use him. Hooray for Taylor, too. But I'm with Beni and Matt, too. Booo Booo Hiss to the M's for watching July 22nd come and (nearly) go and STILL they haven't made any move to upgrade our lineup. None. Holy Moly! Booooo Hisssss!1 hour 45 min ago
DaddyOThe A's are a different matter. They are matching us in pitching and nearly match the Angels in offense. They have a +150 run differential. Hard to run down a club like that unless they have a rash of injuries and fall completely apart. It occurs to me that maybe Jack is looking at this very fact, that the 2nd Wild Card isn't that much different from the 1st Wild Card, so why try. I dunno. To me, we haven't got the 2nd Wild Card in the bag, and our first playoff appearance in over a decade might be worth actually trying to secure instead of fiddling around (sarcasm intended).1 hour 47 min ago
DaddyOmojician, actually, I was being sarcastic. Sorry I didn't make that clear. The M's have made all SORTS of roster moves, but it's just been rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic for the positions affected (with the exception of the Almonte for Jones swap in CF). The Angles have actually improved their bullpen, SIGNIFICANTLY, with all their moves. What have we accomplished? Squat. We have the same black holes at DH, in LF (so far), in RF (except for when Saunders was healthy, but even then he alternated flashes of production with periods of complete washout, like he always has). Like Matt, I've grown frustrated at the lack of urgency in fixing VERY fixable problems that would have long since vaulted us from 2nd Wild Card contenders into a serious challenge of the Angels.1 hour 51 min ago
GrumpyDon't forget Ackley can play a plus 2B also... He may look like an option to those clubs too.2 hours 22 min 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".2 hours 28 min ago
DaddyOmojican, I just laughed and laughed when you posted that.2 hours 50 min ago
mojicianWhy do I have to be Mindy?2 hours 54 min 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.3 hours 2 min 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.3 hours 5 min ago
DaddyOIn case anyone wonders, that was a joke.3 hours 7 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.3 hours 8 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.3 hours 53 min ago
SABR MattI'm still waiting for the Mainers to show any sort of urgency about this season.4 hours 22 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....5 hours 5 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.5 hours 49 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 ....6 hours 3 min 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.6 hours 10 min ago