Brandon Maurer - a Big FIVE?!

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

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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?

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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."

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

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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.

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Comments

...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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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"?

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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...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????

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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.

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ghost

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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Bat571And the HP ump can allow time after a WP, PB, or foul that the catcher removes his mask, so everybody can get resituated.33 min 14 sec ago
Bat571And the umps can grant time for fouls that hit one of the three of them (batter, catcher, ump) or after 5 pitches, but otherwise, the at-bat proceeds. Mound conferences with the catcher should be limited, probably twice per inning, plus once for a replaced pitcher but only if a runner gets to second, and if more attend than the catcher it should count as a coaching visit. Then just let the umps enforce it.36 min 50 sec ago
Bat571I don't want to change the rules of the game (balls/strikes/fouls/pickoffs) - I just want the batter to get in the box and the pitcher to throw the ball. The step-outs and timeouts are out-of-hand. Starting with Hargrove and Garciaparra, it's degenerated. Once the batter steps in, he can't step out for the first 5 pitches, then every 3 pitches after, max time 5 seconds. If your gloves really are loose, you can tighten them in 5 seconds. But get in and hit. The pitch delivery rules are fine, if enforced. And again, make a rule that the crew chief can request a clock be displayed if a pitcher or hitter is dawdling, so the fans can get on him, but don't make it a regular feature. If Josh Beckett had the whole stadium counting down for him, he'd start doing it right, and it wouldn't be needed. 2 warnings from the HP ump and it goes up on the big screen for folks to sing along.47 min 3 sec ago
SABR Mattthe problem, of course, is that there's no way in hades that MLB can cut down the commercial breaks...all of their revenue deals assume those breaks49 min 57 sec ago
SABR Mattthe time out between half innings was, in the 80s, 90 seconds, and is now 125 seconds.1 hour 55 sec ago
moethedogI'm with Bat: Simply don't allow a batter to step out of the box, unless knocked out, etc. And I agree with Daddy about the un-need for a "shot" clock. To shorten a game by 30 minutes you need to shorten every inning by just 3 minutes and change. Shorten every 1/2 inning by 90 seconds and you get there. I don't see pitchers as being the problem. I do see the batter's ridiculous routine, especially with batting gloves as a problem. Heck, if you outlawed batting gloves you could probably shorten the game by 20 minutes. And TV is partially to blame, as it is with the delays in any sport. TV timeouts have ruined the flowing nature of the NBA and college b-ball. How much longer is the between inning gap today, compared to 20 years ago? With nearly every game now being televised it must certainly have driven up the average between-inning time.1 hour 57 min ago
SABR MattDaddyO...I would be all for your suggestion if I didn't know that, at present, the average distance a pitcher misses the catcher's mitt is 11". :)2 hours 1 min ago
DaddyOMatt, my thought was that it would change the way pitchers pitch, forcing them to throw more strikes and fewer waste pitches. I admit it's a radical thought, and I'm not actually proposing it, just noodlin'.2 hours 58 min ago
mojicianIf the sublime aesthetic of the Samurai duel between pitcher and batter doesn't draw or interest a fan, maybe he should try football.3 hours 7 min ago
SABR MattAnd limiting 2 strike fouls might counter-balance the prior comment some, but would totally break the game, IMHO. Fouling off pitcher's pitches is a skill that separates great contact hitters from poor ones.3 hours 11 min ago
SABR Mattdropping the walk ball count to 3 would lengthen games by a lot. It would increase on base percentages by 50 points or more.3 hours 12 min ago
mojicianI dunno about speeding up at bats. Here's Exhbiit A: On April 24, 2014, the Mariners were 8 and 15, had lost 8 games in a row, and were about to be swept by the Houston Lastros. In the ninth inning, Kyle Seager of the sub-Mendoza average, came to bat with two men on base. He worked the count through ten pitches before hitting a three run home run that became the defining turning point in the season.3 hours 13 min ago
DaddyOIt seems to me also that the automated strike zone would be helpful in reducing the time of games. Greg Maddux made famous the art of inducing batters to swing at balls off the plate because umpires would give him strike calls if he demonstrated the ability to continue to hit his spot 3 to 4 inches outside. A cat and mouse game has developed over the years between hitters and pitchers. Taken to it's ultimate conclusion, it is Red Sox and Oakland A's baseball. Work walks, and endlessly spoil pitches just off the plate. Instead of at-bats being resolved, they are prolonged to ridiculous lengths.4 hours 25 min ago
Bat571Just limiting time-outs and step-outs (of the batter's box) would help.4 hours 54 min ago
Bat571The Wolcott game I'm referring to is the one where he threw 80 pitches and the game lasted just over 2 hours (against Oakland, I believe). But it was like the Walker game - both pitchers got the ball and pitched and everyone kept in the game - I'd love to hear Jay Buhner talk about maintaining the pace of games, since he won that one with a homer in the ninth as I recall.4 hours 56 min ago
DaddyOIf you REALLY wanted to speed up the game, you'd reduce the number of balls that would trigger a "base on balls" to three. It'll never happen, but it would eliminate a lot of lengthy pitcher nibbling. Another thing you could do would be to limit the number of foul balls. After two strikes count a third foul ball as a strikeout. Again, it'll never happen, and I'm not sure it should, but it's the kind of thing that would have a dramatic impact.5 hours 9 min ago
Bat571Walker v. Buehrle or the Bob Wolcott game or any of Maddux's 2 hr. games ought to be the model - look at what everyone: pitchers, hitters, fielders, and umps did in those games and try to see if you can get that to work. Don't use a visible clock unless the pitcher or hitter continually delay - then do it electronically on a big board at the discretion of the crew chief to get things back on track. Having it all the time would distract from the flow of the battle - but using it on Mike Hargrove or in certain Yankee-Red Sox games would have been a blessing!5 hours 17 min ago
csiemsI think most of the "too long" cries come from east coast media who have to watch Yankees-Red Sox games. I also think it's funny when I meet people who think the game is too long who also want more home runs. Pitching duels tend to move quickly; it's slugfests like yesterday's that tend to go long.5 hours 36 min ago
DaddyOI agree with every reasonable attempt to speed up the game, but a big clock and a hard time limit between pitches is IMO not the way to go. Last night's game is a perfect example. When the drama builds, and everything's riding on a particular pitch, the idea that the catcher would have to hustle through his signs, and the pitcher hustle to deliver the pitch would simply spoil the drama inherent in the game. Baseball take place in time, but it is not a timed sport. Somehow that needs to be kept.5 hours 53 min ago
SABR Mattthere should be a time out limit of one per plate appearance for the batter.6 hours 3 min ago