K-Pax UP With a Bullet
We got a ticket to Ride, dept.


It gets harder and harder to write for your feebs.  I'm trying to imagine one or two of you, who doesn't already know everything we're going to say before we say it. Ah, well ... I was lookin' for a job when I got this one.  There's always the Armed Forces Day blogging circuit.

:- )


Yes, We Know He's Not a Prospect, But ...

You know the most fundamental question about prospect evaluation?  = how much you want to weight UPSIDE versus CHANCE OF SUCCESS.  And that's a tougher question than it looks, because ... suppose that Nick Hill has a 90% chance of being Charlie Furbush, but Tyler Pike has a 30% chance of being Gio Gonzalez, or even (in the fantasy scenario) James Paxton. ...Do you want a 2-in-10 lotto ticket at a star, or an 8-in-10 lotto ticket at a regular?

Y-AXIS = UPSIDE ... X-AXIS = % CHANCE OF SUCCESS.  Pike = Red, Hill = Yellow

Usually, we nimrod saber types just shoot back breezily, "You want the rectangle with the largest area."  But is that true?  Supposing that you already have 9,000 players who reach 0.5 on the left column above?  Then the yellow rectangle gives you only a MARGINAL improvement over what you already have, right?

You might very well want ONE Felix Hernandez over ANY NUMBER of Blake Beavans, even if the Beavans Brigade is going to give you an unlimited number of 1.0 pitchers.  If you have to ask why, you wouldn't understand...  Unless you ever tried to squeeze your available talent into 25 phone booths, that is.



James Paxton's UPSIDE is to be CC Sabathia, or even Clayton Kershaw.  Fine.  Move on.

... well, okay, one thing.  The first image up top of the page?  The Aguilar K?  There is that up-and-down whipsaw, the one that takes advantage of the fact that his curve drops off the line of his fastball.  One stays up, the other doesn't, but ... too late.  Grab some bench.

How would, hypothetically, Paxton avoid striking out a ton of batters?



Had you noticed each angle from which James Paxton's chance of success has increased in the last two weeks?  Count them up:


He brought his command with him across the Atlantic Ocean of a cold winter.  What does that tell you about the repeatability of his mechanics?  

It's not a done deal, but it's hardly a bad sign, that he reported to camp throwing the same strikes he did last fall.


True, his landing knee got better.  True, his stuff allows him wide margin-for-error as to "getting away with" fastballs that Beavan couldn't.  But you notice something else about the first batter on Wednesday?

The Zunino Doctrine:  Keep your pitcher in rhythm.  Worry about your guy first, worry about their guys second.

Here we see the application:  4-for-4 fastballs to start the game.  They all split the plate, bisecting it laterally, and then on 1-2 here came the jam pitch.

On the 2nd batter, Raburn, Zunino called 6-of-8 fastballs, including quadrupling up on the heater -- again:

erybody's.  Having a loopy delivery, that's David Wells'. ... I mean ... are we getting giddy here?

It's just nice to see Paxton come out of the winter in his September form, is all.  :- )


If all that weren't enough, the yellow (x-axis) factor on Paxton is way up because of attrition (to other pitchers, of course).  They're calling him the #3 starter only because it would sound too weird to call him the #2.

Hey, do you play roto?  I got a tip for yer...





Thanks for the linkup!  Probably will do a post on that.
And, as we all know, this metrics don't at all capture the things that Zunino is doing as discussed above, "putting a pitcher into rhythm" and so forth.  Although, of course, it doesn't hurt that rhythm to get some close calls!
Wow, Zunino is up with a bullet, too.  Looks like he's the real deal.


I previously hypothesized after the 2012 2nd half that Zunino and Paxton seemed to do well with each other - Zunino even seemed to hit better in Paxton's starts, which may have been a carryover of his confident enjoyment of calling pitches and getting them right where they needed to be. I think that is happening again. Paxton seems to enjoy the way Zunino calls and catches a game, and Zunino almost seems to have a Snidely Whiplash smirk on his face going back to the dugout after one of *those* innnings.

Add comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><p><br>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.


  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.