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Defing an ace

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#1 gunnarthor

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 03:02 PM

Sickels has a nice article at minor league ball on defining the different sorts of pitchers.

http://www.minorleag...-3-4-5-starters

Baseball prospectus had similar definitions for their pitching categories as well.

#2 Thrylos

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 03:08 PM

The issue I have with those definitions is that they are all subjective. And every definition that uses "makeup" as a factor, really turns me off. About as good as Blyleven's (who called Diamond an "Ace" in last night's telecast.)
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#3 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 03:14 PM

The issue I have with those definitions is that they are all subjective. And every definition that uses "makeup" as a factor, really turns me off.


I thought the exact same thing reading the article. My response was something akin to:

WTF is "makeup"?

#4 gunnarthor

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 03:20 PM

I thought the exact same thing reading the article. My response was something akin to:

WTF is "makeup"?


Probably things like not exploding when things start unraveling or how competitive a guy is or how hard he'll work. Sickels pointed to Grienke as a guy who has make up questions.

#5 Thrylos

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 03:25 PM

WTF is "makeup"?


Stuff that late 70s and 80s Rockers put on their face (See: KISS) Not to be confused with "eye black", even though for some people (See: Doumit, Ryan) has the same results.

BTW, according to their criteria Frankie Viola, Randy Johnson and Dwight Gooden were not "number 1" pitchers.
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#6 James

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 03:34 PM

I thought the exact same thing reading the article. My response was something akin to:

WTF is "makeup"?

It hides skin blemishes.

Yeah, I can't put much stock in this article. I did a decent enough job of clarifying that there are very, very few #1 starters. But I knew that already, so I didn't gain much from this one.

You can come up with statistics to prove anything. Forty percent of all people know that.


#7 YourHouseIsMyHouse

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 03:40 PM

If those are the definitions, I'll take two #2s over a #1 and a #3.

#8 gunnarthor

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 03:46 PM

Stuff that late 70s and 80s Rockers put on their face (See: KISS) Not to be confused with "eye black", even though for some people (See: Doumit, Ryan) has the same results.

BTW, according to their criteria Frankie Viola, Randy Johnson and Dwight Gooden were not "number 1" pitchers.


??? Randy Johnson certainly had two plus pitches (Fastball and slider). He had an avg third pitch. His K/BB ratio is 3.25, good for 30th all time. Ate innings. Not sure how Sickels article indicates he wasn't a #1 pitcher. "For me, a Number One starter is a guy who anchors your rotation, will be in line for the All-Star game most seasons, and is on the pre-season candidate list for the Cy Young Award. The exact style can vary between pitchers, but the results have to be there." Certainly had the results.

#9 CRArko

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 03:48 PM

If those are the definitions, I'll take two #2s over a #1 and a #3.


And save enough money to sign an extra bat or two in the process.

#10 Thrylos

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 04:46 PM

??? Randy Johnson certainly had two plus pitches (Fastball and slider). He had an avg third pitch. His K/BB ratio is 3.25, good for 30th all time. Ate innings. Not sure how Sickels article indicates he wasn't a #1 pitcher. "For me, a Number One starter is a guy who anchors your rotation, will be in line for the All-Star game most seasons, and is on the pre-season candidate list for the Cy Young Award. The exact style can vary between pitchers, but the results have to be there." Certainly had the results.


this is what the definition is:

NUMBER ONE STARTER:
**Two plus pitches
**Average third pitch
**Plus/plus command
**Plus makeup

plus plus fastball, plus slider. check
no third pitch - that is where that fails. He did try to throw something slow ones in a while but 96-98% of the time it was one of those two.
plus plus command. - no check. effectively wild
plus makeup - whatever.


BTW, this is a fun read about scouts and Randy Johnson.
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#11 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 05:43 PM

I thought the exact same thing reading the article. My response was something akin to:

WTF is "makeup"?


It's why Liriano isn't an ace.

#12 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 06:41 PM

It's why Liriano isn't an ace.


Liriano isn't an ace because he hasn't been a very good pitcher in four of the past five seasons.

#13 Badsmerf

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 09:31 PM

Waste of time with this article. A "number 1" is a guy that can go out and dominate a game and does it consistently. In my opinion, there are a number of guys each year that you can call a number 1 pitcher. People have off years with injuries or other issues where they don't perform as well, but I don't think you have to be a ****ing HOF to be considered a number 1 pitcher. There is reason people get to the HOF, its because they were great. I would say in any year there are 10-20 guys I would call a number 1 pitcher, the next 30 would be number 2's and the range for number 3 and 4 or 5 is all dependent on the pitcher. For example, Diamond is in the top 15 in the MLB for ERA. That's pretty damn good. At this point, I'd still consider him a strong number 3 because the lack of an out pitch places a lot of emphasis on the fielders. This level of success just isn't sustainable. My point is, labeling 1-5 starting pitchers is going to vary. While I think number 1 pitchers are the elite group of every year, Sickles thinks in order to be a number 1 you need a ticket to Cooperstown. Who knows, maybe Dave thinks everybody could be a number 1 if they battled hard enough!

#14 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 07:55 AM

Liriano isn't an ace because he hasn't been a very good pitcher in four of the past five seasons.



very little of which has to do with stuff.... almost all of which has to do with the fact that he's got a 10 cent head.

#15 notoriousgod71

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 08:23 AM

so to be a number three starter you must pitch to contact and be a former, current, or future Minnesota Twin.

#16 gunnarthor

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 09:38 AM

Waste of time with this article. A "number 1" is a guy that can go out and dominate a game and does it consistently. In my opinion, there are a number of guys each year that you can call a number 1 pitcher. People have off years with injuries or other issues where they don't perform as well, but I don't think you have to be a ****ing HOF to be considered a number 1 pitcher. There is reason people get to the HOF, its because they were great. I would say in any year there are 10-20 guys I would call a number 1 pitcher, the next 30 would be number 2's and the range for number 3 and 4 or 5 is all dependent on the pitcher. For example, Diamond is in the top 15 in the MLB for ERA. That's pretty damn good. At this point, I'd still consider him a strong number 3 because the lack of an out pitch places a lot of emphasis on the fielders. This level of success just isn't sustainable.

My point is, labeling 1-5 starting pitchers is going to vary. While I think number 1 pitchers are the elite group of every year, Sickles thinks in order to be a number 1 you need a ticket to Cooperstown. Who knows, maybe Dave thinks everybody could be a number 1 if they battled hard enough!


I guess there are a few ways to look at this article. I liked it since it explained the scouting side of pitchers. When BA, Klaw, Goldstein etc said that guys like Zimmer, Gausman and Appel were more likely #2s than aces it meant that, from the scouting view, those pitchers lacked something - a second plus pitch, command, an avg third pitch, etc. I think labeling ML pitchers aces, #2 etc is a bit redundant since results matter in the majors more than projection. Radke was a better pitcher than Beckett, for example, even though Beckett was surely rated higher.

#17 mbents

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 09:47 AM

very little of which has to do with stuff.... almost all of which has to do with the fact that he's got a 10 cent head.


Command and control are more important than "makeup". Liriano has very good stuff, he just can't always throw it where he's supposed to throw it.