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Berrios: starter or reliever

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#1 Marta Shearing

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 06:05 PM

Why so many people already projecting him to be a reliever?

#2 kab21

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 07:03 PM

Probably because he's short. I would be interested if there was anything based on his stuff.

#3 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 07:05 PM

Probably because he's short. I would be interested if there was anything based on his stuff.


I've only heard it mentioned in regards to his size. Understandably, it has been questioned whether his frame can hold up to multiple 200+ inning seasons as a starter.

#4 B Richard

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 07:14 PM

It's not entirely unreasonable to question whether his body can hold up, but the kid had a phenomenal work ethic. I recall watching several videos around the time of the draft showcasing his workouts- he himself has reiterated the importance of durability. He appears incredibly fit and dedicated to maintaining physical excellence. I would think this puts him slightly ahead of other short pitchers in terms of starting rotation probability.
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#5 Thrylos

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 07:21 PM

Short?

He is 6'0" and still 19.

Can you count the Cy Young awards among these "short pitchers":

Pedro Martinez 5'11"
Tim Lincecum 5'11"
Greg Maddux 6'0"
Tom Glavine 6'0"
Johan Santana 6'0"

People say stuff because people say stuff and it is ridiculous to say stuff without qualifying it.

Berrios might be a reliever not because he is short but because he has only one plus pitch (FB) one average pitch (change) and one mediocre pitch (slurve). If he does not develop at least an average breaking ball and improve his change, he will not be a starter. And his K% fell in half this season.

These are the reasons that he may be a reliever. Not his height ;)

But he is just 19 and it is very likely that it will all work out.
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#6 Chance

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 07:22 PM

I mentioned back when Seth did his top prospect list that I'm not AS high on Berrios. He got really fatigued last season and I am just not sure if he can make 200+ innings on a consistent bases without getting hurt. I hope I am wrong! With that said, I still have high hopes that he is in our rotation in 3-4 years and is able to contribute when healthy and fresh. I don't want him to switch to relief until it is absolutely necessary.

#7 B Richard

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 07:25 PM

Last year was his first full-season of pitching-- it wasn't really shocking to see him fade towards the end of the year. With last year under his belt, he should be interesting to watch this year. Only time will tell, but I'm betting on him.
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#8 AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 07:39 PM

Yea for some reason Keith Law believes height has everything to do with long term success of Pitchers.

#9 darin617

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 07:49 PM

Probably because he's short. I would be interested if there was anything based on his stuff.


Berrios 6 ft
Tim Lincecom 5 11

#10 darin617

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 07:50 PM

Yea for some reason Keith Law believes height has everything to do with long term success of Pitchers.


Someone please remind Keith Law how tall Pedro Martinez was. He was one of the most dominate pitchers of his era.

#11 AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 08:11 PM

Someone please remind Keith Law how tall Pedro Martinez was. He was one of the most dominate pitchers of his era.


exactly.

#12 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 08:49 PM

I'll see him as a reliever when he can no longer be a starter. Thus far, he's given little indication that he cannot do it. Thrylos hit the nail on the head with this one. The development of his secondary pitches will determine where he ends up. Until then, the kid starts.

#13 Jim Crikket

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 08:54 PM

Yeah, I don't know who the "so many people" are that you think are projecting him as a reliever already, but that's an absurd thing to project at this point. 2013 was a bizarre season for Berrios, with the WBC to leadoff his first full pro season. I'm not as down on his breaking ball as Thrylos is. I thought he used it very effectively through June and in to July, though he struggled to control it at times. The last few weeks, I thought he was clearly tired, but I don't think it had anything to do with his size.

It's possible that any Class A pitcher may be a bullpen arm down the road, but I saw nothing about Berrios that would suggest to me he should be "projected" as a reliever already.
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#14 Winston Smith

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 09:18 PM

Whitey Ford was 5-10, 175 and averaged 230 innings over 13 years. Guess he didn't know he was small.
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#15 nicksaviking

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 09:59 PM

It's a legit concern. Everyone knows the Twins 6ft plus starters regularly throw 200 innings. Can't wait to see Alex Meyers. That skyscraper is sure to throw 500 innings.

#16 cmb0252

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 10:14 PM

Height, being too short or too tall by MLB pitcher standards, definitely does come into play. There is a reason scouts look for the ideal pitchers frame. Height effects fastball plane, durability, control, and pitch release just to name a few. Heck, when teams are looking to spend hundreds of thousands to millions of bucks on a player they look at everything. Height, make up, family blood lines, arm length, grades, and so on and so on. Does that mean that you can exceed if you don't have the ideal qualities? Of course not, but pointing at outliers doesn't mean Berrios will join them.

Berrios has gotten and will continue to get every chance to be a starter. He is a solid prospect but a few height related concerns came into play this year.

#17 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 08:15 AM

Someone please remind Keith Law how tall Pedro Martinez was. He was one of the most dominate pitchers of his era.


Berrios 6 ft
Tim Lincecom 5 11


No one is saying that Berrios cannot be a starter just because of his height and build, they're saying that smaller guys have a harder time holding up over the course of a career.

Tim Lincecum is an example that favors Law's point, not yours. He was a dominant pitcher for the first three years of his career.

Since 2008, his average fastball has dropped from 94.0 to 90.2. Unsurprisingly, his performance during that time has gone from "best in league dominant" to "really bad".

Sure, small guys can have success in the league. Pedro was a classic example of that happening. Johan held up... for awhile. But the odds are stacked against a small guy holding up compared to a guy who is 230 lbs and 6'4".

People shouldn't take this as some kind of affront to Berrios. We all hope he succeeds... But there's a chance his smallish frame holds him back somewhat or forces a move to the bullpen.

#18 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 08:18 AM

Height, being too short or too tall by MLB pitcher standards, definitely does come into play. There is a reason scouts look for the ideal pitchers frame. Height effects fastball plane, durability, control, and pitch release just to name a few. Heck, when teams are looking to spend hundreds of thousands to millions of bucks on a player they look at everything. Height, make up, family blood lines, arm length, grades, and so on and so on. Does that mean that you can exceed if you don't have the ideal qualities? Of course not, but pointing at outliers doesn't mean Berrios will join them.

Berrios has gotten and will continue to get every chance to be a starter. He is a solid prospect but a few height related concerns came into play this year.


Well stated. I wish people would understand that outliers are just that... OUTLIERS.

Using Pedro Martinez to "prove" a point isn't going to convince anyone who is looking at the situation objectively because we all understand that Pedro Martinez was a freak of nature.

No one here wants to see Berrios fail. Every report writes up the kid as being an incredible personality. A few of us are merely tempering our optimism based on historical evidence, nothing more.

#19 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 08:21 AM

Whitey Ford was 5-10, 175 and averaged 230 innings over 13 years. Guess he didn't know he was small.


Yep, baseball is pretty much the same game it was 60 years ago.

#20 TRex

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 08:39 AM

Actually, it may resemble the game from 60 years ago more closely than the game 6 years ago!

#21 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 08:41 AM

Actually, it may resemble the game from 60 years ago more closely than the game 6 years ago!


Eh, not so much. 60 years ago, a guy nicknamed "The Beast" was closing out his career... At a mighty size and weight of 5'11", 195 lbs. Mantle was roughly the same size, as was Harmon Killebrew. Most of the "big" guys of that era were around six feet tall, barring a few guys like DiMaggio and Williams.

It was a different game. Pretty much every slugger today is 6'3" and 230 lbs.

#22 TRex

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 09:40 AM

It was just a tongue-in-cheek poke that their biceps (and hat sizes) are more like Mantle's than Bonds'.

#23 Boom Boom

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 02:52 PM

I'd be interested in seeing a study of pitcher size and how it correlates to longevity. My guess is you can probably find many examples of really big pitchers who fell apart physically, and small pitchers who had long careers.

As for Berrios, you have to assume he's a starter until he shows he can't handle it. He's not really that small anyway, and has room to grow.

#24 twinsfan34

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 03:33 PM

I've heard the 'height' factor plays into matchups and the 'plane' on which they pitch.

The mound height was lowered...and so today the plane is more favorable to batters than previous to 1968.

Michael Wacha has only 2 pitches, a fastball and a changeup. Throws a curve on occasion but something like 8% of the time (1 in 12 pitches). He's successful because he's 6'6" and has a overhand-3/4 (high release point) and the hittable (flat) plane that ball goes through for the hitter is very short. Makes him very difficult to hit.

So the theory is a guy who's under 6 feet (and a lower throwing angle) throws a ball that's in the 'hittable plane' area much longer.

I haven't seen Berrios pitch myself. So I can't say. I know that's why many scouts and website pundits favor Felix Jorge over Berrios.

Edited by twinsfan34, 05 December 2013 - 03:36 PM.


#25 ashburyjohn

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 03:35 PM

So the theory is a guy who's under 6 feet (and a lower throwing angle) throws a ball that's in the 'hittable plane' area much longer.


Sounds more like a difference between major leaguer versus career minor leaguer, than starter versus reliever.

#26 jokin

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 03:54 PM

Eh, not so much. 60 years ago, a guy nicknamed "The Beast" was closing out his career... At a mighty size and weight of 5'11", 195 lbs. Mantle was roughly the same size, as was Harmon Killebrew. Most of the "big" guys of that era were around six feet tall, barring a few guys like DiMaggio and Williams.

It was a different game. Pretty much every slugger today is 6'3" and 230 lbs.


Off the top of my head:

Frank Howard 6'7" 255#
Rocky Colavito 6'3" 215#
Boog Powell 6'4" 230#
Willie McCovey 6'4" 225#
Babe Ruth 6'2" 250#
Hank Greenberg 6'3" 220#

#27 Willihammer

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 04:15 PM

I was skeptical about the height advantage assumption but the Trackman studies written in recent years have brought me around to it. The one thing Lincecum does is launch off the rubber so his extension is effectively closer to your average 6 and a half footer. More extension > shorter flight times > faster "effective" velocity. Taller pitcher will be able to extend farther on average. I don't believe there's any evidence that height correlates with durability though.

#28 twinsfan34

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 04:17 PM

Sounds more like a difference between major leaguer versus career minor leaguer, than starter versus reliever.


I agree.

The thinking is a reliever only pitches to a batter once...and usually only 3-6 hitters.

So, one, he can throw a little harder (less time in that plane) and, two, the hitter doesn't get to see that pitch a 2nd time through.

#29 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 08:41 PM

Off the top of my head:

Frank Howard 6'7" 255#
Rocky Colavito 6'3" 215#
Boog Powell 6'4" 230#
Willie McCovey 6'4" 225#
Babe Ruth 6'2" 250#
Hank Greenberg 6'3" 220#


I never said tall guys didn't exist.

Guys 6'1" or shorter and under 200lbs:

Mays, Mantle, Aaron, Musial, Matthews, Hodges, Snider, Berra, Killebrew, Robinson, Banks... I stopped there.

Guys are bigger now. I didn't realize this was news.

#30 ashburyjohn

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 08:51 PM

I never said tall guys didn't exist.


I'll say it: tall guys didn't exist. Never did. Never will.

That was fun.