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What happened to Ricky Nolasco?

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#1 jorgenswest

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 06:20 PM

Ricky Nolasco was a very effective pitcher for the Dodgers last year.

What happened? Is it his pitch mix? Is there something mechanical that has made his slider less effective?

The following article looks at how pitching backwards helped Nolasco in 2013 (particularly with the Dodgers)

http://www.beyondthe...f-ricky-nolasco

He is using his four seam fastball more often with the Twins than he has in the previous two years. His fastball has never been an effective pitch.

Parker wrote about Suzuki's high rate of calling for the fastball in March

http://twinsdaily.co...p-Out-of-Suzuki

The Twins need to take a close look at what made Nolasco an effective pitcher last season - particularly with the Dodgers. He has increased his slider usage this month, but it has not been as effective. He needs to find that 2013 slider and use it often.

#2 Paul Pleiss

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 06:31 PM

He needs to stop giving up long balls. And some legitimate OF contenders would help with all of the fly balls he's giving up.

#3 Trautmann13

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 06:48 PM

I honestly believe that Nolasco is more unbelievably unlucky than bad. 1st inning today, rag tag outfield gave the dangerous Giants 5 outs to score twice. Morse hit a bases clearing double by about 2 inches. I honestly believe that if we give Ricky a damn outfield, he wouldn't be 2-4.

#4 jorgenswest

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 06:48 PM

The Twins OF defense was league bottom last year and worse this year. Buxton and Rosario will eventually help. It needs to become a priority.

It would also help if Nolasco increased his strikeout rate. A drop is expected moving to the AL, but not 19.8% to 15.2%

#5 Marta Shearing

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 07:24 PM

He'll be fine once the weather warms up.

#6 Paul Pleiss

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 07:41 PM

The weather was just fine out in San Fran and he gave up 7. When he pitched in a climate controlled dome in Tampa he gave up 6 runs, and his best start of the year was on a cold Minnesota day in April.

No, my friends, the cold weather is not what's keeping Nolasco from pitching well.

31Mar Chicago - 65F, 5 ER in 6 IP
06Apr Cleveland - 43F, 5 ER in 4 IP
12Apr Minnesota - 53F, 1 ER in 8 IP
18Apr Kansas City - 69F, 5 ER in 5.2 IP
24Apr Tampa - 72F (dome), 6 ER in 6 IP
02May Minnesota - 56F, 3 ER in 9 IP
07May Cleveland - 65F, 3 ER in 6 IP
13May Minnesota - 51F, 3 ER in 6 IP
18May Minnesota - 69F, 3 ER in 5 IP
25May San Francisco - 67F, 7 ER in 4.2 IP

Not pretty any way you shape it. If he needs temps of 70+ to pitch well then the AL central is a bad place to pitch early and late in the season. The temperature logic seems suspect at best.

#7 Brandon

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 07:54 PM

I just hope he figures it out before his contract is up....We would be serious contenders if he was pitching like he is capable of. I guess part of it is the lack of range in the OF and the rest is up to him.

#8 Oldgoat_MN

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 08:54 PM

I don't really feel anyone has a right to act surprised. He has been a league average pitcher in the NL since his career year in 2008 (124 ERA+, 1.102 WHIP).

His SO/9 rate has dropped (by over 20%), as has the SO/9 rate of almost every pitcher who comes to the Twins and starts to work with Anderson.

I wish him the best. Not expecting very much.
I'm on a whiskey diet. I've lost 3 days already.

#9 twinsnorth49

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 09:00 PM

Anderson, gotta be Anderson.

#10 TheLeviathan

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 09:07 PM

A lot of the negatives with him were pointed out this offseason: he's an NL pitcher who has spent much of his career in pitcher friendly parks. He's never been a top guy nor pitched well enough for long enough to earn that distinction. This is a mid rotation starter with the bar set too high.

#11 drock2190

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 09:19 PM

Really wish I would hear some good stories about Anderson helping pitchers find new ways to be effictive. Developing new pitches. Maybe help Gibson find a strikeout pitch.

The pitching coach in Cleveland is helping Kluber to become an ace. I know its up to the players but geez...

#12 jorgenswest

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 09:55 PM

A lot of the negatives with him were pointed out this offseason: he's an NL pitcher who has spent much of his career in pitcher friendly parks. He's never been a top guy nor pitched well enough for long enough to earn that distinction. This is a mid rotation starter with the bar set too high.


He will earn his contract as a mid rotation starter for the duration. He needs to get to that bar.

#13 Pius Jefferson

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 09:56 PM

Anderson might be doing a decent job with Hughes.

I expected a regression because of the league change, but never thought Nolasco would struggle so much.

#14 benchwarmerjim

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 10:32 PM

When you have to get 5 outs an inning because the defense is playing short stops in the OF and are misplaying balls, of course the numbers are going to look bad.

Nolasco has not been great, but I would like to see him pitch with an actual major league defense behind him.

#15 h2oface

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 01:29 AM

When you have to get 5 outs an inning because the defense is playing short stops in the OF and are misplaying balls, of course the numbers are going to look bad.

Nolasco has not been great, but I would like to see him pitch with an actual major league defense behind him.


I hear you....... but I also feel that it is up to a pitcher to be able to pick up his defense in those times, too. Nolasco has an average against of .322 this year. That is not all because of the defense. Playing infielders and catchers in the outfield is a whole other discussion.

#16 jorgenswest

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Posted 29 June 2014 - 05:36 PM

Another poor month for Nolasco.

Both Ryan and Gardenhire talked about Nolasco's trouble with the fastball today. They have been focusing on the fastball in bullpens. He is throwing the 4 seam fastball about 33% more often than he did with the Dodgers.

When they signed him they must have known that he has never had an effective fastball. His fastball has had a negative pitch value in every season except 2008. If their plan was to turn him into a pitcher that gets ahead in the count with early fastballs, it has been a disastrous plan. I know that is the Twins way. It isn't Nolasco's way.

http://www.beyondthe...f-ricky-nolasco

I don't want to turn this into a conversation about Suzuki, but Parker wrote about his frequency in using the fastball last year. Seems like the perfect catcher for Anderson.

[FONT=Arial]Interestingly enough, for all the discussion of his game-planning and ability to smother pitches in the dirt, in 2013 Suzuki’s pitchers threw more fastballs to him than any other catcher in the game (save for Houston’s Carlos Corporan). With more than 12,000 pitches called while splitting time between Washington and Oakland last year, over 63% were heaters says ESPN/trumedia’s database. [/FONT]


I am sure if the pitch sequence plan from Anderson was to pitch backwards, Suzuki would be more than capable in calling that sequence. He isn't the problem.

Nolasco needs to go to the pen and work on what he previously did well. He needs to regain the dominance of his slider, slow curve and other off speed pitches. That is the only path to regain his effectiveness. He will never be (and never has been) an effective pitcher with the fastball.

#17 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 29 June 2014 - 06:36 PM

Maybe the Twins try divorcing Nolasco from Suzuki?

#18 jorgenswest

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Posted 29 June 2014 - 07:18 PM

Maybe the Twins try divorcing Nolasco from Suzuki?


I don't disagree, but Suzuki isn't the problem. He has caught every Nolasco pitch this year. A new catcher may offer a change of pace.

The solution is within Nolasco. He needs to find and rely on his slider and other off speed offerings. That is where he should focusing his work in the bullpen.