Doogie 7.0 5 1 1 1 4

Q.  So 7 full, five hits, 1 walk, 1 run for Doogie.  How'd he do it?

A.  Pitched the same game he has most the year, and added mistake avoidance.

I only saw a couple of pitches that could feasibly be hit for homers at all -- compared to 10 in the usual ML game -- and a Mariner outfielder only ran back on a ball one time.


Shandler uses the PQS paradigm that says a pitcher has five major skills -- STA, CTL, DOM, CMD, and Mistake Avoidance.   From where I sit, Doogie has the whole game in place, needing only to sharpen his "mistake avoidance."

That's the same thing as saying, get a little less of the plate.  He did that Thursday.


Compare a pitcher like Garrett Olson.  What one thing does he need to do?   Right.


Q.  How was the fastball?

A.  Consistently 88-90, good life.  Good command.  When a guy throws 70 strikes in only 103 pitches, that's heavy duty.


Q.  The change & slider?

A.  Let this saying sink deep into your ears:  27 changes and sliders thrown for strikes, 7 for called balls.

The list of ML pitchers who can throw offspeed for strikes -- at will -- without hanging them -- is a very short one.  This is a special skill.


In this particular game, Fister actually did throw two different pitches in the 80-82 range -- the parachute change and a tight-spin change-slider that had late break.   Both were thrown for strikes virtually every time.


Q.  How about the ability to get strikeouts?

A.  Again, a solid 4 strikeouts against 1 walk, that being a 4:1 CMD, leaving him at 36-15 CMD on the year.

I realize that swinging strike % is topical, but Fister is consistently freezing batters at the plate with Catfish Hunter fastballs two inches off the plate, as well as the offspeed stuff.

Brooks has 5 swinging strikes; it seems like it was more.  But c'mon.  Fister threw 49 balls into the zone that the A's failed put into play.  Let's not get crazy over one statistic.  :- )

5.3 strikeouts and 2.2 walks isn't Fister's ossified K/BB ratio.  It might turn out to be 4.9, or 6.1.   But if his current 5.3 were his strikeout rate, well, Brad Radke's career K rate is 5.4 (and his ERA+ was 112).


Q.  Anything else?

A.  OKDan brought up "rhythm" on Brandon Morrow -- the ability to move forward lightly and on balance ... in a relaxed way ... with smoooooth tempo .... giving yourself a chance to find feel.  

This is the "you better get him in the first inning" effect -- a starter with rhythm starts hitting gnats in the 2nd, 3rd inning and next thing you know, the announcer is saying "That's seven in a row retired for Fister."

Among Fister's big plusses are his makeup and rhythm.  I flat believe the kid could put together a 1,000-inning career.  It might be for a 100 ERA+, but that' has a lot of value.


Q.  His standing for the rotation in 2010?

A.  Well, you've got Felix-RRS-Snell-Morrow pretty well set, for all practical purposes.  There's a big line for #5, including Erik Bedard's recovery and including offseason adds.

If the M's have five guys better than Doug Fister, and he's #6 or #7, that would be awfully sweet.

The announcers were going, "He's very much in the discussion for 2010" and that'll do for us too.


Dr D


Taro's picture

Mistake avoidance will be the key for Fister. Hes gets the HR/9 in the 1.2-1.4 range and hes a viable rotation option.
The Ms really have a ton of rotation depth and also a ton of uncertainty. They'd do well to go after some high risk, high reward SPs (one-year deals) in the offseason.

Taro's picture

We may find out in ST if one of these guys' regresses/improves.
They've both been pretty much the same effectiveness-wise this year.

Sandy - Raleigh's picture

My take?
No clue as to who is better.  The stats have been close enough on enough fronts that from a stat-analysis, it's coin flip city for me.  Ideally, they BOTH succeed.  (Gee, we have too many GOOD pitchers is the kind of problem every franchise dreams of).
That said -- why I'd like to see French, (or Olson or Vargas), turn things around next season and magically manifest the mistake avoidance that has plagued the lot of these guys?  Because it would be evidence that Z *IS* seeing something in the scouting and numbers that he can work with and develop into success stories.  If French, Olson and Vargas *ALL* plummet into the AAAA -- ("boy, I hope we don't need these guys any time this year") - pile previously reserved for Feierabend -- then the initial returns on Z's talent scouting for pitching comes up a big fat 'F'. 
Granted, the best hitters can go oh-for-three on a given day, and still win MVP titles.  The hitting side had plusses for every minus -- Gutz, Branyan, on one side, Cedeno on the other.  Hannahan and Langerhans were decent pickups -- Jack Wilson, not so much.  But, I don't expect a GM to bat a thousand.  But, you certainly cannot win if he is batting .000, either. 
My worry -- three young guns, French, Olson, Vargas.  Three guys the ALL end up with horrid HR rates.  If Fister comes up, and reproduces the same HR rates, then the evidence starts suggesting that the problem may not be in talent assessment, but an issue with teaching and development.  But, to fix a problem, you have to KNOW what the problem happens to be. 
But, given the park they get 1/2 their games in, the HR problems for these kids are not simply annoying, but astronomically terrible.  If you don't think gopheritis is a problem, here's a little tidbit from the monthly pitching line (and run allowance), for Seattle:
April - 84-RA - 13-HR
May - 146 RA - 37-HR
June - 84 RA - 20-HR
July - 132 RA - 41-HR
Aug - 135 RA - 40-HR
Sep - 98 RA -- 21-HR


Fister's:  36-15.
French's:  23-17.
A rookie pitcher comes up and runs a near-1.00 control ratio, that tells us 9,000 bad things about him.   He's nibbling, getting very little of the plate, yet still not getting the benefit of any bites outside the zone.  His stuff is questionable.  His mastery of his own game is questionable.  9,000 things.
You want to give me 100 pitchers with 36-15 control ratios to bet on, and I'll give you 100 guys at 23-17 to bet on, and we'll see which group of 100 pitchers has better careers?
Great post as always, but I'm flabbergasted about how French and his 6.63 ERA, 1.0 control ratio is being sold as a sabermetric "push" for Doug Fister.  Doug Fister threw very well.

Taro's picture

5.30 FIP vs 5.05 in the bigs. Theres been pretty much no difference.
French was legitimately awful in Seattle without the slider (I see you're only using French's stats). With the slider he was more effective than Fister in Detroit.


The report on past FIP is not the only piece of paper we look at.
Again and again you isolate to this one FIP statistic, because it is the one thing that points to any kind of equality between the two pitchers.   The K/BB, the late-season progress, the pitch value on the change, none of that is relevant for you champ. 
Hey, we're trying to predict the future here.   We're asking, what would have to happen with either pitcher to get to a 4.25 FIP.
For Doogie, it's merely "don't groove two pitches next start."  :- )   That's a task, but it's not much compared to what French is facing.


HR rate is (and Pirata Morado proved this at MC) *EXTREMELY* volatile from year to year for any given pitcher.  K/BB is *ETREMELY* stable.  You're pointing to FIP...but the FIP is entirely slanted by Fister's likely unlucky HR rate...give both Fister and French a normal HR rate and Fister will immprove significantly more than French does.

Taro's picture

True, but this is for "most (not all)" MLB caliber guys. Vargas, Olson, Fister, etc. Guys like this that are hanging in betweeen AAA and MLB are more likely to run high HR/FB until they up their games.
The difference betweeen French's 1.5 K/BB and Fister's 2.4 K/BB is also a lot less than you'd think. Fister has a 64.9 Strike %, French's is 63%. French's BB rate has been a bit unlucky.

Taro's picture

Late season progress? Fister has been awful his last 5 starts, good in only his last.
I don't see how the tool sets differ much really, its a toss-up.


In which he locked the enemy down for 4-5 innings, then gave up a tater late.
Last night, while Fister was crushing the A's, what was French up to?  :- )  He's had to be pulled out of the ring.  I'd say that Fister's staying power is the preferable of the two, wouldn't you?

Taro's picture

French has certainly regressed since coming to Seattle.
Fister wasn't exactly a world beater against NY and Texas himself either. His last start was good. I've yet to see anything to indicate that Fister has a 50% chance of sticking and French a 1/30 chance as you've suggested before. These guys look like the same type of prospect to me. 


Sorry Taro...but walks as LUCK?
That's just beyond ridiculous.  Taking the component pitch data statistics way way way way WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY too far.


...this is the first time I've ever heard anyone attempt to argue that walks can be "lucky" if you're throwing strikes and walking guys anyway...that's gotta be the most bizarre argument I've ever heard.
You must realize that strike percentage doesn't vary all the much and yet walk rates are in a wide spray...Also...if walk rate was twisted by muck much, it wouldn't be so stable from year to year for the vast majority of pitchers.  If you've actually watched French attempt to pitch, you would realize that a lot of his strikes were either put in play or fouled because he was not missing bats...whereas a lot of Fister's strikes are taken because he's freezing hitters.
That one totally caught me unprepared...hence the angry response.

Taro's picture

Luck is luck especially in a short sample. A swing here and a call there can change things pretty dramatically.
BB/9 can fluctuate in short sample as well, and ya it can be luck. French's MLB BB/9 is unlucky just as Fister's AAA BB/9 was lucky.

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