Is the 'net more like a book or like TV? Well, are we talking SSI?


Jeff Sullivan has a typically sparkling writeup as to --- > the rise and fall of pitch framing.  For sure umpires are calling the zone much more consistently from one catcher to the next, and more so all the time.  And the theory is that umpires realized that this statistic was making them look like braying donkeys, and so they targeted the pitch framers for termination.

This is good for you and for me, seeing that we like fairly referee'd sports decided between two parties, not three.  Who it ain't good news for, is Mike Zunino.  And particularly the tandem of Felix Herandez and his shin-pulling partner in crime.  There's an upside, which is that we Mariners fans will get a "lengthened" lineup.  Has Dr. D mentioned that he likes to watch Steve Clevenger swing his baseball bat at flying objects?


Bill James had an article up estimating Matt Kemp's chances of earning his contract.  Well, he's had it up since 2011, and Dr. D just happened to be peering at the scrolls by candlelight.  Summing 2,000 words up into 20:  Kemp's chances of declining dropped a lot, every following year Y+1, Y+2, ... Y+8.

Robby Cano's do too.  But!  Bill James just now, last week, heartily endorsed the David Price contract.  It's becoming Public Domain wisdom that you want to play for this year.  Nobody ever SIGNED free agents based on the last year of the deal; it's just that FANGRAPHS always analyzed deals based on the last year or two.  They've since learned better.

Take no thought for the morrow, my friend.  Sufficient unto today is the evil thereof.  Or, you've got every ounce worth's of problems you could ask for, if you funnel ALL your energy into 2016.


From Hardball Times, Here's a pretty decent 31 ways to spend your day until pitchers and catchers report.  I'd forgotten about Dizzy Dean's quote, "If you can do it, it ain't braggin'."  or was that Colin Kaepernick.  :: shrug ::


More BJOL archives:

Hey Bill, Yu Darvish seems highly unusual. A. J. Pierzynski, for example, said that he's remarkable for having a large variety of pitches which maintain a high level of quality. To which other pitchers would you relate Darvish?
Asked by: exegesis
Answered: 4/27/2013
David Cone was like that; all of his pitches were outstanding.    Gene Mauch once told me, about Jim Bunning, that you couldn't bring anybody in to relieve him because all of his pitches were better than the relievers, so when you brought in the other guy, the other teams eyes would light up like, "well, we can hit THIS guy."   I think there is kind of one pitcher in each generation who just has an exceptional feel for the baseball, and who can very easily learn to throw almost any pitch.   
Mike Mussina, Dr. D would add.  One of his teammates once told us that in college, it seemed like he was making pitches up on the mound.  Doesn't it seem like ALL the Japanese pitchers are like that?  Whichever pitch they throw this next one, it is a quality offering well thought out?  Just savoring the moment that Hisashi Iwakuma is ours.  Makes you smile, just thinking about him on Day Two.
Yep.  Day Two, we've got WBC-san cruising after 5 innings when lefty-masher Franklin Gutierrez takes Derek Holland into the gap to put us ahead...


This makes Iwakuma's / Bunning's / Cone's / Maddux' / NPB's approach precisely the opposite of Taijuan Walker's.  So we get the cold purple end of the spectrum on Day 2, and the hot red end of it on day 4.  Interestingly, on Day 3 we get the boring center of the spectrum, and from the left arm instead of the right.  Making Day 2-3-4 like this:

-100 --------- 0 ------- +100

And days 1 and 5 are rather interesting also.  A crunchy rotation for Dr. D's television viewing pleasure.


#22 on the HBT list is "wander through team websites" ... the Mariners' site is actually one of Dr. D's favorite non-SSIage.  Two articles out of three were written for Soccer Mom, but one out of three are very verrrrry readable by non-SSI standards.  Greg Johns does a pretty mean Mailbox.  In this one he relays that Nelson Cruz isn't the kind of guy to sulk if he has to DH.



Dr D



tjm's picture

Is in the category of having all above average pitches. Not sure if the strike zone compression will hurt him too much since he doesn't get a lot of called strikes on his change, which is really more like Smoltz's split than any other changeup in baseball.


That's a great point about its quality.  ... Not sure why Felix didn't occur At All when discussing Bunning.  For some reason he seems above that fray, more of a K pitcher, but objectively speaking there's no reason I'd think that.

Now I got something fun to muse about with Felix.  How does his game compare to the Mussina/Cone/NPB approach?  It is just his delivery that looks different?


To steal B. James usage.  Feel, that is.

I think we commonly underrate the "feel" it takes for a Bartolo Colon to pitch, or a T. Walker, if he never develops anything beyond the Death-Ray Heater.

Colon must have an exceptional amount of "feel" because he has to know how to get away with his one offering even when he's facing armed and dangerous guys who are sitting dead-red.  And his red isn't all that red, if you catch my drift.

He has to take a bit off, move it a bit up, sink it a bit, hump it up a bit...something to make it a bit more unhittable even though some Trout/Pujols is licking his chops, waiting for that very pitch.  Nuance is everytihg to a guy like Colon.  Nuance is feel.    

A Cone/Bunning/Felix could almost have some random generator pick each and every pitch....and they could still survive, nay flourish.  They had/have enough quality offerings to dominate, even when one pitch went/goes sour.

It doesn't work that way for a Colon.  He lives on feel.  Maybe it is a different quality of feel, but it isn't any more insigificant.

Lee Trevino won a ton of majors hitting one shot, just one.  He swiped out there that sliding/bending/swerving fade of his....even when it wasn't the shot to hit. Even when it was exactly the shot not to hit!! He had to approach Point A to Point B in a different way than a Tiger did.  

What impresses me most about Taijuan is that he's doing it with one quality pitch, that's it.  Oh...and he's doing it at 22.  Man, he still should be in short pants, shouldn't he? 

Different courses for different horses is an old golf adage, but it applies to chucking a baseball, too.  Greg Maddux was the greatest RHP I had the opportunity to watch.  I do not count that doping doper who won a ton of Cy's up there in Boston.  Seaver might be #2 in my "got to see on TV" book.  Hershiser was somewher up there. Maybe Pedro was #2.  That might be right. Felix is on the short list, too.    They were all pitching maestros, artists as it were.

But I do love to watch a Colon or T. Walker say, "Here you go boys, hit this, it's all I've got!" to the best hitters on the planet and still thrive.

Now that takes feel.  Huevos, too.


Caveat:  All I had was a sliding fade, nothing else. So maybe I'm a bit too admiring of guys who do one thing and still get by.  Truth in advertising, I suppose. 

tjm's picture

Depends on what tool you have, too. I'd love to do an even swap of your siding fade for my big round hook. What was it Trevino said: You can't talk to a hook.


There is an entire Zen monastery in that quote somewhere TJM.  :- )

My old-school fave Jack Nicklaus also strongly preferred fades, and liked to lag putts juuuuuuust at the hole, toppling it in the sides when he was off a few millimeters.

That's a great line, "talk to your fade."  Should do an article on points of virtuosity in Mariner-ville ...


How much you can "get away with" even from one pitch to the next.  You get the impression that a Bartolo Colon is walking on the side of an ice mountain - that a half step over to the right would be his demise, but he's fine with brushing that edge by an inch.

Iwakuma of course has this "pitchability" but it seems to take him 5 starts per injury to get his dart-throwing motion back into "bullseye" mode.


Best case scenario, Taijuan locked in this sense of danger and that's why he was throwing his splits outside the zone in September ...

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