TCR Friday Notes
- The Hardball Times also looks at hitters with an affinity at swinging at first pitch fastballs - Gathright (in a bad way) and Soto (in a good way) are mentioned.
- Fantastic piece by Stats Inc. on newly acquird Aaron Heilman and his repertoire. There's some words of warning in there, but it's pretty clear he has filthy stuff.
More after the jump...
When ex-hitters become managers, some, like Lou Piniella of Seattle,
never develop an understanding for pitchers. Piniella has been able to
channel the manic competitiveness of his playing days into the dugout,
barking at umpires, screaming at his coaches, demanding accountability
for mistakes and sometimes just plain bullying his players. Hitters
like Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez have responded to his
intensity. Pitchers have not. Piniella ''is the manager who hates
pitchers,'' says Jeff Nelson, a Yankees reliever who used to pitch for
Seattle. ''It's not hard to understand why that is.''
was a great hitter for 18 seasons; his professional responsibility was
to loathe pitchers. How could he just shut that off?
doesn't have patience,'' Nelson says. ''He doesn't understand pitchers.
He tells you, 'Throw the ball over the plate.' You feel like saying:
'Is that what I'm supposed to do? I didn't know that. I thought I was
supposed to come out here and walk everyone.' ''
To quote Jim Kaat from Sunday night's BBWAA dinner, about his old
Yankees teammate Lou Piniella: "I've always been amazed that a guy
could be such a successful manager even though he hates pitchers."
- A look at the potential mechanical flaws with Rich Hill. I have some issues with the article since it appears to be relying on stock photos from different time periods with no true reference point. For all we know, those could be at different points in his motion and nothing has changed. For the right way to do a pitching mechanics comparision, check out a Carlos Gomez or Chris O'Leary post (NSFMPH - Not Suited for Mark Prior Haters).
Also, the article points to a re-teaming with O's pitching coach Rick Kranitz, although Hill has often given more of the credit to Alan Dunn. Of course, Dunn is the bullpen coach for the Orioles, so same difference.
- Wild-ass speculation on my part, but let me weigh in on this Blanco vs. Bako debate that seems to be raging. When the first reports of Bako signing came out I recall a throwaway line about the Cubs wanting someone who would be comfortable with not playing much. Then last week there was another throwaway line from a radio report that the Cubs weren't too pleased with Blanco last year. This leads me to the conclusion that Blanco did a bit of behind the scenes sulking about not getting into more games and probably why they chose to go another route. And Bako is one of God's People, i.e. hits from the left side.
- To follow up recent top 50 announcers of all-time lists, Yahoo Sports does the bottom 50. I respectfully disagree on #13(Gus Johnson) and #29(Dick Enberg). If you don't like Gus Johnson, you watch sports for all the wrong reasons.
- The Heckler pokes fun at the Bleacher Stalkers.
- Wrigleyville23 and Out of Right Field have taken up our MVN spot after The View from the Bleachers left. Hope it goes better for you guys. (Bites lip...checks calendar to see when non-disclosure agreement expires).
Enjoy the weekend!
Tommy La Stellar
Scherzer is not a bad hitting pitcher, but really???
This game is already bumming me out. Hope the Cubs brought their bats.
Just read that when Hendricks starts the Cubs have won 33 times in his first 50 games which is the best for any Cubs starter since the 1940s. So he might not be getting a ton of wins but he's at least leaving the team in a winnable spot
That and we've had a lot of terrible teams.
I agree, but just wanted to point out that Hendricks didn't really have a significant difference between his first and second half like Hammel did. Instead he had alternating good and below average months last year, without much fluctuation in his peripherals except a BB-heavy August and some up-and-down in opp avg. Mostly the team just couldn't win games for him in the months he pitched well. His 16 starts in May, July, and Sep/Oct (in which he limited opponents to OPS+ of 88, 75, and 44) resulted in a 4-2 record.
I think with Hammels and Hendricks struggles the 2nd half we forget how dominate of 1st halves they had and how many games they won us as the offense was struggling. We also forget they are back of the rotation guys and we can't be expecting ace quality there.
Maybe it's just Werth & Ross I'm noticing. Weird.
CRAIG: Jose Albertos is not chunky like Fernando. He's built more like Dylan Cease. Exact same body type. And his delivery is free & easy. He's definitely not a "max effort" guy.
Hendricks after 50 MLB starts: 17-11, 3.45 ERA, 1.12 WHIP. Not bad for a #5 starter. He may be a 6-inning max guy, but, if he can keep those stats up, I will gladly take it.
Speaking of WHIP -- last year, he was tied for 11th in the NL. Tied with Hammel.
Last year's NL rank in WHIP: Arrietta 2nd, Lester 9th, Haren 10th, Hammel T11th, Hendricks T11th. Wow.
I went to a Nats game in DC two years ago while looking at colleges with my son -- it's a fun park, worth a visit if you are in the area.
I also saw the "slowness" thing -- particularly Werth, who would mosey out of RF about 5 seconds before the inning started.
It's Dusty's fault. It'll be the end of them.
Speaking of how teams "look", my take on the Nats- It's really weird, but the pace of the entire team seems slow. Slow walking to the plate, slow on the mound, even on some routine groundouts, it looked as if there wasn't a ton of hustle. Don't get me wrong, when the ball is hit to their outfielders, they get after the ball, I'm really referring to non-critical action- they mosey around. It's kind of odd. Maybe that "calm power" is part of the Nats ethos, idk.
My favorite moment of Hendricks' performance last night was the last strikeout he rung up- the cajones it took to throw a high, 86MPH fastball to Zimmerman on a 0-2 count. And he swung the bat like it was a 96MPH heater. I literally laughed out loud.
In listening to Maddon's post-game, he is interested in how these other teams "look" to him. He is assessing for today...and tomorrow. I love this guy.
One observation from last night: Joe Ross is incredibly slow. 20-30 seconds between pitches at times. Hendrix had a nice, peppy rhythm which is great to see.
I know there are plenty of purists here which I applaud, but the game just will not sustain itself unless change of pace rules come into play. Pitch clock, improve the shit-ass reviews, mound visits (there is a clock for this), batter time outs, etc.
Thanks, Phil. Albertos at 17, and having gotten a good signing bonus ($1.5, even though as Mexican prospect I think his team gets half of that?), throwing in the 90's and showing some command of a curveball sounds pretty interesting, even if that control is only for a dozen-pitch sample.
What kind of a frame does he have? Is he on the stocky and short-ish side (I'm recalling Fernando Valenzuela!), or somewhat taller? A lot of 17-year olds have projection, "when he fills out" projection. Would that apply at all for Albertos?