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Believing in Ober


Ted Schwerzler

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The Minnesota Twins have slogged through a dismal 2021 in large part due to an inability to find consistent pitching. With a starting rotation now entirely flipped on its head, finding a silver lining may seem difficult, but I encourage you to dream on Bailey Ober.

During his first Major League Baseball draft as the Twins President of Baseball Operations, Derek Falvey’s club selected Ober in the 12th round. Ober was a 21-year-old pitching for the College of Charleston and threw 28 innings for Elizabethton during the summer of 2017. In 2018-19, Ober rose the ranks from Single-A to Double-A and finished with a 0.38 ERA across 24.0 IP for Pensacola. The strikeout numbers were gaudy, and the walk rate was stingy.

At 6’9” Ober has the uncanny ability to get on an opposing batter with quickness. His average fastball velocity this season has been just 92 mph, but with such a long stride the pitch is being delivered much closer to 50 feet from home plate. The year with no minor league action certainly didn’t help a guy needing innings due to injury, but it’s clear that he’s put in work.

Despite the Twins needing to call on Ober sooner than they may have liked; he also forced their hand by owning a 2.81 ERA across his first 16 innings of work for Triple-A St. Paul. What we can easily see in the track record is that there’s never been a point at which Ober wasn’t a dominant force on the farm. The only knock on him thus far has been his availability, or more succinctly, his injury history.

Now over 63 innings into his Major League career, we’re seeing the same type of results that have become the expectation thus far. A 4.38 ERA through 14 starts is hardly anything to scoff at, but it’s an even more impressive 3.46 through his last eight turns (39.0 IP). Ober’s bugaboo thus far has been the longball, giving up 14 in his time with the Twins, and a 2.0 HR/9 that seems certain to normalize. He has maintained the strong strikeout rate (9.2 K/9) and continued to limit free passes (2.3 BB/9).

Understanding that this is Ober’s initial run through a big league gambit, it’s fair to assume we haven’t seen the best of him yet. He’s still learning the opposition, and of course the league will be given a chance to adjust to him as well. Although the Twins have been dealt multiple blows in the rotation this year, allowing Ober to showcase his stuff is something that should provide plenty of excitement for Minnesota fans.

As has been the case over the course of his career to this point, keeping Ober healthy and on the mound is the next must for the organization. Maybe he gets shut down soon having now reached a career high in professional innings pitched during a single season. That isn’t a bad idea given where the season currently stands, and it still allows the heightened hurler plenty to build off of for 2022. It’d be hard to see a scenario where Ober isn’t in the rotation on Opening Day next year, and that should be cause for more excitement than concern.

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz

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I really like Ober, not that he is a future CY Young candidate or even top of the rotation pitcher, but a solid starting pitcher for Twins. Ober's case is a good argument against needing X amount of time or innings at each level before someone can advance. 

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Ober's been a bright spot this season for sure and I think there's no doubt the team is looking at him as a rotation piece next year.

Given the lengthy research showing innings limits and pitch limits have no value, you'd think all the analytics oriented front offices would finally accept that, but it seems like the dark ages of arm wear myths will continue to reign supreme. That said, it seems like a lot of pitchers are running on empty as the season winds down. If the Twins have reason to suspect Ober is wearing down, giving him extra rest is the obvious answer.

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30 minutes ago, notoriousgod71 said:

Dobnak an all-star? Believing in Ober?

 

Stay tuned next week for What's not to like about Grffin Jax?

 

 

Dude, chill with the attitude. Or keep pounding your head into the wall, eventually maybe the CTE kicks in and makes you happy.

 

If Ober can stay at the 93'ish velocity he can be a legitimate starter.

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Right now, Bailey Ober is the #1 pitcher for the Minnesota Twins. Tonight he faces the Boston Red Sox. We might as well hope for the best because he is our best shot. 

I do agree that Ober can be a rotation piece on a good team, but the current status of the rotation options  is worrisome.

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I think Ober real future may lie in the pen as a late inning reliever, setup guy. For now he's where he belongs in the rotation. Hopefully next year There are a couple of Veterans and some of our top prospects can take the reigns in the rotation, and let Ober move into that setup role that it seems to me he is well suited for.

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1 hour ago, Karbo said:

I think Ober real future may lie in the pen as a late inning reliever, setup guy. For now he's where he belongs in the rotation. Hopefully next year There are a couple of Veterans and some of our top prospects can take the reigns in the rotation, and let Ober move into that setup role that it seems to me he is well suited for.

Why do you think he's a bullpen arm?

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He looked good against a tough hitting Red Sox team.  As stated in the article he has always had a good WHIP and K rate so that bodes well for his chances.  The thing I see that might make it tough for him is he seems to live up in the zone right now and once guys realize most of those pitches are not going to be strikes and he brings the ball down to make them strikes I think he could stay homer prone.  We will see if he proves me wrong.

I think the league will adjust but hopefully he has the pitches to counter those adjustments. I think he already has faced Chicago 3 times and did better each time he faced them so maybe he is already getting there.  If he continues to do well he might end up being better than a lot of people thought he would be. 

 

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23 hours ago, bean5302 said:

Why do you think he's a bullpen arm?

I just think we have more "electric dominating" type arms coming up, and I see Ober being able to come in for an inning or two and being able to be a shut-down type relief pitcher. He is somehow sneaky fast and deceptive and guys only being able to see him for an at bat here and there would have a harder time adjusting to him IMO.

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2 hours ago, Karbo said:

I just think we have more "electric dominating" type arms coming up, and I see Ober being able to come in for an inning or two and being able to be a shut-down type relief pitcher. He is somehow sneaky fast and deceptive and guys only being able to see him for an at bat here and there would have a harder time adjusting to him IMO.

Ober's K:BB ratio was absolutely dominating while still striking out more than 10.0 per 9 innings at every level across the minors while not allowing a lot of hits, either. The biggest knock against Ober was how much time he missed with injury, which is also related to the reason he was drafted so low.

Ober's velocity certainly doesn't look like the dominant model of the day, but there are plenty of very good pitchers out there who's average fastball is very similar to Ober's. Ober's strikeout and walk rates are both better than Jose Berrios this year and his xFIP is almost as good. Berrios gives up fewer hits partially due to a favorable BABIP. Now, I'm not saying Ober is as good as Berrios. Ober has a whopping 68 innings pitched at the MLB level, but with little time at AA or AAA, the results suggest a pretty high ceiling for a non-elite prospect.

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I am an absolute believer in Ober right now! And it's not just some hope/hype. I've seen enough young pitchers come up over the years, including Gibson, Berrios, etc, who took their lumps. And I've seen a lot of kids who came up and had magic for a game or two and the  reality set in quickly.

I was NOT a fan of Ober being protected. HONESTLY, I was WTH? Despite video game numbers, there was just a sense it was an illusion. And he was always hurt. He commented a year or so ago that be always felt poorly after a start. And he's worked hard to perfect his delivery for health and production. 

And I'm repeating ALL OF THIS from previous posts. So forgive me.  Ober has been promoted VERY aggressively! Take the time to look at his career numbers. Don't be lazy. 

He's started 15 games and has pitched better the more times he takes the bump. His numbers are solid across the board and he hasn't built those numbers against poor teams. 

Just recently, it was reported he changed his slider on the fly. He's throwing it harder now, with a little less break, but it plays off his FB better. And he's doing this as a rookie.

I have watched most of his games thus far and have commented at times his stuff seems to break almost too much. And I will echo Dman that you can't live high in the zone all of the time. But his FB PLAYS. Especially considering it looks even faster than 92-94. His slider also plays big time if he can harness it a bit more. Early returns look good. If he can find any sort of 3rd pitch to keep LH honest, he might be a legit #3 rotation piece. 

I believe in him that much! And before the season began, I was like REALLY?

 

 

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