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  • 5 Things To Know About New Twins Pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson


    Lucas Seehafer PT

    The Minnesota Twins sent shockwaves throughout Major League Baseball when they flipped starting pitcher Jose Berrios to the Toronto Blue Jays for top 100 prospects Austin Martin and Simeon Woods-Richardson. While Martin was undoubtedly the centerpiece of the deal, Woods-Richardson is no slouch either and could very well wind up as the better of the two players.

    Here are five things you should know about the new Twins prospect.

    Image courtesy of © Dan Hamilton | 2020 Jul 19

    1. He has four legitimate pitches...and maybe a fifth

    Woods-Richardson boasts a traditional fastball, slider, curveball, changeup pitch mix and delivers them all from an overhead release point.

    His fastball typically sits 91-93 mph but can touch the mid-90s on occasion and features late tailing action that rides in on right-handed batters.

    His slider sits in the upper-70s to low-80s and features good horizontal motion with a tight spin. While the pitch will likely not be among the league's elite, it's good enough to strike batters out and induce weak contact.

    The curveball sits in the low-70s with a good 12-6 break, though on occasion, it tilts in the 1-7 direction. While Woods-Richardson's fastball is arguably his best pitch, his curveball might be his second-best or at least has the potential to be.

    Finally, Woods-Richardson's changeup sits in the low-80s with good tailing action that plays exceptionally well off his fastball. Even on his bad days, his changeup frequently catches opposing batters off guard and sends them flailing.

    Although he doesn't deploy it very often, there's some evidence to suggest that Woods Richardson may also be working on a cutter, though it may be just a miss-thrown slider.

    Suppose the cutter development is an actual, tangible pitch. In that case, Woods-Richardson may have five MLB-caliber pitchers in his arsenal, which is not something many pitchers can say, regardless of level. 

     

    2. He's only 20-years-old

    This one is pretty self-explanatory. Woods-Richardson was selected in the second round of the 2018 draft by the New York Mets and later traded to the Jays as the centerpiece of the Marcus Stroman deal. He's already pitched in 44 games in his minor league career and owns a 4.09 ERA and a FIP around 3.00. Almost 44% of his innings have come at High-A or above.

     

    3. Walks have never been an issue of his until his last five starts

    Before the 2021 season, Woods-Richardson posted BB/9 numbers of 3.18, 1.95, and 2.22 at rookie ball, Low-A, and High-A, respectively. This season, this walk rate has ballooned to 5.16, though the vast majority of his free passes have come over his last five starts.

    So, is Woods-Richardson's control more like what he displayed for most of his minor league career or what he has done over his last handful of starts? That's the critical question when projecting Woods-Richardson's potential. His strikeout numbers have always been stellar, but if his command remains iffy, he may never reach his No. 2 or 3 starter ceiling.

    Luckily, as previously mentioned, he's young and has plenty of time to iron out this wrinkle in his game. While his motion is relatively fluid, it features long movements - such as a significant stride and trebuchet arm action - which increases the likelihood of mechanical breakdown and pitch inaccuracy. In many ways, his motion is similar to that of Jordan Balazovic, who also struggles with command from time to time.

    If the Twins can tighten up his delivery, even if just a skosh, it may improve his command enough for him to reach his full potential.

     

    4. His peripheral numbers suggest he's been even better than his track record suggests

    While Woods-Richardson's ERA currently sits at 5.76 and his career number is, as previously mentioned, 4.09, his FIP numbers paint a completely different story. 

    FIP's goal as a statistic is to project how a pitcher would perform if he had a league-average defense behind him. The stat aims to neutralize the impact of one's supporting cast on their pitching stats in an attempt to conclude how effective a pitcher truly is. Woods-Richardson's ERA is 5.76, which suggests his performance has been lacking. However, his FIP is 3.78, which indicates that he's been pretty good, especially for a 20-year-old at Double-A. 

    Before this season, Woods-Richardson had posted FIPs of 2.07, 2.53, and 2.46 at rookie ball, Low-A, and High-A, respectively, compared to ERAs of 0.00, 4.25, and 2.54. In short, he's always been pretty good since getting drafted.

     

    5. He's an Olympian

    Woods-Richardson, along with future teammate and fellow new Twin Joe Ryan, is playing on the United States Olympic Baseball team that is currently 2-0 and will soon face Japan in the tournament quarterfinals.

     

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    The only reason the Twins were able to get him as part of the trade is because of the ERA performance this year. Had Woods-Richardson been pitching like previously, he would have been untouchable so I like the move. Woods-Richardson has the pitches to be a top of the rotation starter. I haven't heard anything about a 5th pitch, but having 4 out of high school is exciting enough.

    I'm pretty sure I read that Woods-Richardson's walk rate might come down to control vs. command. Throwing strikes vs. throwing exactly where he wants to throw. If he's working on command, it would stand to reason he might be missing his spots, aiming for corners or something. Tough to say, but at at his age, he's got a good 2-3 years before it's time to make a verdict.

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    6 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

    The only reason the Twins were able to get him as part of the trade is because of the ERA performance this year. Had Woods-Richardson been pitching like previously, he would have been untouchable so I like the move. Woods-Richardson has the pitches to be a top of the rotation starter. I haven't heard anything about a 5th pitch, but having 4 out of high school is exciting enough.

    I'm pretty sure I read that Woods-Richardson's walk rate might come down to control vs. command. Throwing strikes vs. throwing exactly where he wants to throw. If he's working on command, it would stand to reason he might be missing his spots, aiming for corners or something. Tough to say, but at at his age, he's got a good 2-3 years before it's time to make a verdict.

    It's odd. I watched his last start for the majority of my analysis above and through 3 innings he was absolutely untouchable. The command wasn't great, but he had something like 7 Ks and 1 BB. Then he walked 3 in the fourth inning and was pulled mid-way through the fifth after giving up a home run and 4 ER overall. When he was rolling, he looked like a future ace, but when he fell apart, he was *no where* near the zone. I don't expect his command to be an issue to that degree in the future because there is little evidence that that was the case at lower levels. 

    Edited by Lucas Seehafer PT
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    1 minute ago, Lucas Seehafer PT said:

    It's odd. I watched his last start for the majority of my analysis above and through 3 innings he was absolutely untouchable. The command wasn't great, but he had something like 7 Ks and 1 BB. Then he walked 3 in the fourth inning and was pulled mid-way through the fifth after giving up a home run and 4 ER overall. When he was rolling, he looked like a future ace, but when he fell apart, he was *no where* near the zone. I don't expect his command to be an issue to that degree in the future because there is little evidence that that was the case at lower levels. 

    So you're saying Francisco Liriano level meltdowns? Hope we're able to fix that haha

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    55 minutes ago, Lucas Seehafer PT said:

    It's odd. I watched his last start for the majority of my analysis above and through 3 innings he was absolutely untouchable. The command wasn't great, but he had something like 7 Ks and 1 BB. Then he walked 3 in the fourth inning and was pulled mid-way through the fifth after giving up a home run and 4 ER overall. When he was rolling, he looked like a future ace, but when he fell apart, he was *no where* near the zone. I don't expect his command to be an issue to that degree in the future because there is little evidence that that was the case at lower levels. 

    Sounds a little like a guy we just traded away...

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    The bigtime stuff and the control questions which recently surfaced could be related. That video of his nasty curveball looked to me like with a different umpire and/or on a different day could have been called outside of the strike zone.  As he's moved up to AA now, he's facing more-experienced batters, who are more likely to be able to lay off, leaving SWR at the mercy of the day's ump - same story for every prospect worth talking about. It could be that his stuff is MLB-ready but what he needs to polish up is that ineffable ability to persuade the ump to give him the borderline calls, inning after inning - a single pitch every inning or two can be the difference between a successful outing and an unsuccessful one.

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    5 hours ago, ashbury said:

    The bigtime stuff and the control questions which recently surfaced could be related. That video of his nasty curveball looked to me like with a different umpire and/or on a different day could have been called outside of the strike zone.  

    The umpire made a bit of movement after that pitch, but it was all with his left hand. I don't think he got the call on that one, and I don't think he ever would (except maybe with a robo-ump - occasionally pitches with a sharp downward break look low to everyone except the computer.)   

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    OMG. That cutter Richardson threw...same motion as Mariano Rivera. Watch how his throwing hand follows through into his left armpit, the way it flops loosely at the wrist at the finish. That's how Mariano threw the cutter nobody could hit. I saw a video where Rivera was teaching that same motion to some other pitcher.

    Kid, keep throwing that pitch. Mix it in with a two-seem fastball, and hitters will have no clue where the ball will be. Mix it with a change-up, and you'll be looking at Cy Young awards.

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    Great write up! Thank you.

    Had to look up this word..."such as a significant stride and trebuchet arm action"...

    "Trebuchet" Excellent vocabulary Lucas! 

    The Atlantic or ESPN doesn't have this type of talent!

     

    Edited by twinssporto
    miss spelled word
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    The slider is my favorite pitch, but if it’s acting more like an off speed pitch, it might be best to drop it. Keep him in the rotation though, knock on wood we got a legit starter here. 

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    The stuff is clearly there with him; now it's all about refinement and command. The move to put him in AA after a year where he didn't get to pitch was an aggressive one by Toronto and I'm sure it's a big part of why his numbers have suffered.

    Looking at his game logs is interesting; he started a game on June 15th, struck out the side and left the game. I would presume he tweaked something? He didn't miss a start, but he's definitely struggled after that short game with some real stinkers in there. Makes you wonder if he hasn't been able to get comfortable out there and should have gotten shut down for a couple of starts? All speculative, but he was very effective until then and the BB/9 was pretty manageable. Prior to these rough 4 starts, he was keeping the ball in the park quite well too.

    Not a finished product, but the way he hunts Ks is impressive and he looks like he has the kind of pitch mix and stuff to be a top of the rotation starter if he can command his pitches effectively and consistently. Ton of potential at age 20. Hope he has a good time at the Olympics with Joe Ryan and they both come back ready to roll!

     

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    On 7/31/2021 at 12:00 PM, bean5302 said:

    The only reason the Twins were able to get him as part of the trade is because of the ERA performance this year. Had Woods-Richardson been pitching like previously, he would have been untouchable so I like the move. Woods-Richardson has the pitches to be a top of the rotation starter. I haven't heard anything about a 5th pitch, but having 4 out of high school is exciting enough.

    I'm pretty sure I read that Woods-Richardson's walk rate might come down to control vs. command. Throwing strikes vs. throwing exactly where he wants to throw. If he's working on command, it would stand to reason he might be missing his spots, aiming for corners or something. Tough to say, but at at his age, he's got a good 2-3 years before it's time to make a verdict.

    I highly doubt that his ERA is playing into Toronto's evaluation of him.  It might play into public perception, as it did with you, thinking Toronto's soured on him because of it.

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