He was destined for AAA with the 4-man rotation to start the year. He may have made it to the last week with another shutout... I'd still peg him as #7 starter, behind Erasmo and Ariel, all things considered.
But perhaps Jerry Dipoto is. whooop! Late word is that Whalen goes to AAA, as Rockies Jeff had forseen. Dipoto's high words -- "best pitcher in camp" -- were blown sky-high by a single beating by the Indians, and they'll keep him "stretched out" until such time as they need a 9 starter. Which will be when .... about mid-May?
ROB WHALEN got blasted against the Indians; time after time he rolled an overhand curve up waist-high, and time after time they lined it on one hop into an OF's mitt.
Don't care. This is a guy who, the vast majority of the time, has a crackling 12-6 curve that draws large flotillas of swings-and-misses, and in fact the Indians whiffed on it many times yesterday. He just rolled a few too many.
Whalen spins an interesting yarn about the way his DAD taught him his curve ball spin AT TEN YEAR OLD - Whalen will demo it for the camera and it's a light, airy sports movement that was apparently safe for a 10-year-old's elbow ligaments. You can draw your own inferences about Whalen's massive 30% usage of the overhand curve and slider.
His fastball is a paint-your-wagon type also, a stinging little pitch that catches the black, and plays WAY up because of those 30%, 40% Bert Blyleven curve balls. Whalen got hit yesterday, but I'll take him and you can have Christian Bergman.
RockiesJeff, a pro-style pitching coach whose son Jeremy is in the Royals' system, said that maybe we shouldn't get our hopes up about Bergman being used in the #8 slot:
Fun to see the rare times when a youngster tears it up in Spring Training and birdies the first 5 holes. Who is this guy? Okay, it is Spring Training but still gives a measurement of some potential. Congrats to Whalen for working through some serious issues. And the same to Vogs for not packing it in mentally when another 1B was traded for.
For the bench, does Beckham not play the 6 hole? Can't remember with my aging brain.
I saw that Lawrence had a solid outing today. Good point about Whalen and the BP....but bet that they keep him as SP because that is what teams do? Great movement and location in his pitches. Of course, location + movement = success!
It's a constant source of amusement to me, how most real baseball men are so polite in their opinions that you can barely figure them out. HEH
Here the idea is, ML teams put LABELS on their assets, and they may figure Hey. When we get to our need for our #9 starter, and we will get there, then we'll want him stretched out. Some of those other guys cannot go 6, 7 IP; Whalen can and if it's June when his number comes up, we'll get our nine miles out of him then.
Here is our previous article on Whalen, just a few days ago on the 16th, in which Dipoto seemed to declare him the best pitcher in camp:
"Nobody has been any better than Rob [this spring]," Dipoto said. "And it's a great story. He went through so much last year battling depression and at one point went home. We accommodated it and made sure he had the help he needed.
"This guy worked his tail off to put himself in the position he's in," Dipoto said. "He's certainly a threat right now to break with the big-league club. He's pitched that well. He's freezing guys on front-hip cutters. The ball was moving all over the place and that was the single best breaking ball we've seen any of our pitchers have all spring."
The Mainframe insists there is only so much you can put on any one performance, especially Spring Training performances; wasn't Paxton lit up his last few outings?
Rob Whalen does remind me of Bert Blyleven - he pitches in the same style, that is, not to say Whalen is an odds-on bet to win 287 games. Blyleven would throw that yakker three times in a row, and by the time he whipped an 89 fastball onto the black, the hitter was helpless.
Other guys who remind me of Whalen, with late downward snap (usually) on all their pitches: Drew Pomeranz, Alex Cobb maybe, Sonny Gray has that odd little last movement that draws whuffs even when you can't quite figure out why.
Could be that Dr. D is over-infatuated but Rob Whalen moves up to #5 SP in his world, that being if you dismiss Erasmo from your thinking of course.
I think the happy talk was always signaling that the team considered him a valuable asset to have in reserve and his demotion changes nothing about that.
The top four pitchers were always going to be Paxton, Hernandez, Leake, and Gonzalez once Ramirez went down. What Whalen did was move up from "we hope maybe someday he'll be good" to "he's the first guy up if we need more than Gonzalez".
to 5th or 6th. I figured 5th would break camp in the pen, but not necessarily. First up sounds about right anyway.
Long baseball season ahead, Jeff, betting you will get your wish to see Whalen in Seattle. Hopefully for a long time too! Matt, great point above here and you know better than any that teams use and normally stick to labels????
Whalen did well to get a fresh label from last summer. Whalen's trouble on Sunday is partly baseball. If it were easy....we would all be doing it wouldn't we? And probably good to struggle a bit as now he gets a bit of a character check before the season starts. I hope he can get some good confidence in Tacoma!
Whalen over Bergman? If there was ever a nightmare in thin air here it was Bergman. When I was trying harder on the MLB Beat the Streak and it was a Bergman on the day mound, he was always my sacrifical lamb. I hope for the best for him but he isn't on 40 man so figure that Posve, Moore and Whalen are priority?
FYI, Jeremy is working through surgery after pitching all last summer on torn left knee. Hopefully he will get healthy before it is summer. Will let you know.
That call will go to whoever has the Tacoma hot hand, unless it comes very early in the season. Does Whalen outpitch Moore in Tacoma?
Moore has enough potential not to give up on him, but, right now, McClendon would say he throws nothing but horses$!& pitches.
I like zero of his offspeed pitches. He flashes a decent change once in a blue moon, but has no consistency with it at all. As of right now, he's not even a particularly good AAA starter.
Might not his 1.08 AAA WHIP, 7.9 K/1.6 BB/8.2 hits indicate otherwise?
In 14 AAA starts, his worst outings were 7 innings/7 hits/4 ER (9 K and 0 BB) and 5.2/9/3 (8 and 1). In 6 of the 14, he gave up zero or one run.
Saying he's not a particularly good AAA pitcher is not the same as saying he's not an effective AAA pitcher.
Back last decade, there was a guy hanging around AAA named Kirk Saarloos. He always had good numbers in AAA and scouts nonetheless didn't have much interest in him. He was effective, but not good, the way I mean it. A good AAA pitcher here means projectible to the majors.