Hokey Doke, let's try this again. Since the Lost Weekend in Mordor the Seattle Mariners have found their walks, their ERA+, and their 99 win pace. Nate KKKarns has found that Strike One is a joyful place to be. And Rich Hill has found three days off for himself and his cursed 11.5 strikeout rate.
Kendall Graveman is a young sinker-slider righty who has been over-challenging a bit. The idea of Shandler Quality Starts (PQS) is based on an 0-5 scale rather than just 6 IP, 3 ER. It's designed to let you the roto owner know how a given SP has been throwing if you're trading for him on July 31. It scores Durability (6 IP), Hit Prevention (IP = H), Mistake Avoidance (1 HR max), Control (BB = 1/2 K) and Dominance (K = IP - 2). If you don't go 5 innings, that's an 0 regardless.
If you score 3, that's marginally a QS. An outing with 4 or 5 is dominating. 1 or 2 is a disaster. Graveman's have been:
|Apr 7 CHW
|Apr 12 LAA
|Apr 20 @ NYY
|Apr 25 @ DET
If there were a grade lower than 0 last time out, Graveman would have gotten it. I'd put the score around -2 on the 0-5 scale: 4.2ip 10h 6er 1bb 4k 3hr. He threw strikes, yes. Unfortunately for him, the Tigers thoroughly enjoyed all of them.
But, just the start before, he three-hit the Yankees with 8 strikeouts. A righty pitcher doing that to the lefties, that's just about Nate Karns' ideal outcome. So he's well capable.
Here is a video of him at his best. Drop-and-drive, converted shortstop pitching motion. Powerful down the centerline, keeps the fastball down, nice hot 94'ish velocity but lousy angles and movement. The max-effort pitching motion creates excellent deception on the slider and even lefties react as though facing a Pineda slider.
Key for me would be to dip the back knee and go down into the bottom of the strike zone with him, as Randy Velarde used to do with Randy Johnson and as the Rangers try to do to Felix now.
Nate Karns has a lot of ways to win. Last time out he went to a 2-pitch combo and his fastball benefitted gloriously from it. Here it is, hit it, with a coin flip as to which of the two weapons they'd see.
In Mordor a few weeks ago, it seemed like the A's could go yard on any pitch. Since then they've settled in as #12 in the AL in slugging; the three lefties you have to watch a bit are
- LH Josh Reddick 4 HR, .435 SLG
- LH Chris Coghlan 4 HR, .412 SLG
- LH Stephen Vogt 3 HR, .443 SLG
That's respectable, but nothing that should chase Karns off the plate. Throw tons of curves, but take lots of the plate. If they hit two more taters, that's baseball.
If you go to baseball-reference.com > Mariners > More > Minor Lg Affiliates and sort by total bases ... Mike Zunino has 62 of them. in 21 games. That is considerably more total bases per game than Ruth and Gehrig had in 1927. It's fun to look at Gehrig's baseball card and see all the 400's in the Total Bases column. Zunino is on pace to exceed Gehrig's MVP season.
Now, your knee-jerk reaction to that is the asterisks. But once you get past that, get past the fact that it's the PCL and not the AL, get past the fact that it's 21 games against 155, what are you left with?
.570 to .630 will lead the PCL in slugging in any particular season. And there are a fair number of Bryan LaHairs, Brandon Woods and Dallas McPhersons who do that. There are also a fair number of Nelson Cruzes. Showing tremendous power in the minor leagues is certainly no guarantee, but some people think a minor league .700 SLG is a negative, and that's not right, either.
Stefen Romero is hitting .390/.429/.662 and he never strikes out. Chris Taylor is hitting .333 with 11 walks and 10 doubles in 22 games. Ed Lucas has the major problem that he's only hit .207 since spring training; his minor problem is that he's got Kyle Seager in front of him.