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Sabir Aden

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  1. Since June 1, no team’s top three relievers have a lower wOBA than the group of Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey and Trevor May. Approaching their first postseason foray since 2010, no bullpen group, save perhaps the Rays, will face more heavy lifting than this trio. The Twins starting pitching has taken significant blows since June 1.In 2015, the Royals pioneered the strategy of five-and-dive starters, and allowed the pen to handle the rest. The merits of relievers now rests in the seventh through ninth innings, and given the Twins recent playoff demons that should bring nightmarish flashbacks. Bullpens are a focal point of postseason success. In the 2017 wildcard game, Ervin Santana was yanked three innings into his start. Luis Severino, the Yankees starter was also removed on a much shorter hook after just 1/3 of an inning with three runs already allowed. It's no safe assumption a starter will go five innings or 100 pitches. Shutdown starters and unhittable closers get all the glory, but the unsung heroes of the past season, such as Josh Hader, are much more valuable than they get credit for. Trevor May has received his fair share of criticism. Saturday night’s display of pure dominance predicated on fastball command would be a welcomed sight in the postseason. More breaking ball usage and less dependence on a flat changeup could perhaps be enough for May. A much smoother finish with his mechanics, and not leaving as many pitches in the whomping zone of hitters have been helpful for Trevor. Since his bad stretch of home runs he has lost all trust in his curve, which could fuel more good fortune. Download attachment: HardHitHeat.png May has had the year of his life in 2019. He had a promising end to his 2018 campaign that saw him flash the truly elite stuff that he flashed as a middling fourth/fifth starter in the dawn of his career. He’s bumped his velocity up considerably, and lately has sliced his pitch assortment, providing a better directive to his mound mindset. Taylor Rogers might be the most underrated pitcher, perhaps even player, in baseball thanks to his above average fastball and frisbee slider. A bullpen absent the invincible Aroldis Chapman fireball, or the radioactive cutter of Kenley Jansen, or the capital C-declared closer, might be an assembly of relief pitchers as effective, or more so, than any other in baseball. If there was one point of criticism for Rogers, I would point to the curveball and slider blending together. But that in no way detracts from the set of weapons that he has, and that the Twins have, that their playoff success could hinge on. Tyler Duffey might be the most remarkable story of the entire season for the Twins. He flamed-out as a starter in 2016 and followed with a pair of enigmatic seasons. At the tipping point of his career, he took on a complete overhaul, reinvention and refinement of his mechanics and approach under the tutelage of Wes Johnson. Duffey was taught sinkers inside and low, during the Rick Anderson, Neil Allen and Garvin Alston regimes. Jace Frederick of the Pioneer Press recently wrote an article that delved into Duffey's progress that included some illuminating quotes. Duffey spoke to how different Wes Johnson's mentality is. “Obviously I had the potential to be good, but it was seeing why I could be, understanding why I could be, and then doing it and repeating was the last piece of that. I think for me, personally, it’s just been trusting the whole plan that’s been set and going with it. “Pitching with conviction is the name of the game. Hitters can tell when you’re not convicted in what you’re doing. I think I’m trusting it, I feel good doing it and the results are speaking for themselves.” “He can be a strikeout guy, and he’s learned that,” Johnson said. “When we started back in spring training, our goal was to strike out more hitters than we ever have. We’re getting there, incrementally. And Tyler is someone you’re seeing make progress really fast.” The intuitive and tailored recipe for success spearheaded with the ongoing trend of elevating, decelerating and spiking. Fastballs up, sliders and curves down and away, and toggling with the velocity of those breakers has paved the way to a 2.35 ERA and a 1.0 WAR during this 2019 run to the postseason. A truly remarkable achievement for a pitcher once on the bubble. For the Twins to succeed in the postseason, a strong back-end of the bullpen must complement a competent starting staff. It could be a feasible plan, given that the trio of Trevor May, Tyler Duffey and Taylor Rogers has arrived and they are here to stay. Click here to view the article
  2. In 2015, the Royals pioneered the strategy of five-and-dive starters, and allowed the pen to handle the rest. The merits of relievers now rests in the seventh through ninth innings, and given the Twins recent playoff demons that should bring nightmarish flashbacks. Bullpens are a focal point of postseason success. In the 2017 wildcard game, Ervin Santana was yanked three innings into his start. Luis Severino, the Yankees starter was also removed on a much shorter hook after just 1/3 of an inning with three runs already allowed. It's no safe assumption a starter will go five innings or 100 pitches. Shutdown starters and unhittable closers get all the glory, but the unsung heroes of the past season, such as Josh Hader, are much more valuable than they get credit for. Trevor May has received his fair share of criticism. Saturday night’s display of pure dominance predicated on fastball command would be a welcomed sight in the postseason. More breaking ball usage and less dependence on a flat changeup could perhaps be enough for May. A much smoother finish with his mechanics, and not leaving as many pitches in the whomping zone of hitters have been helpful for Trevor. Since his bad stretch of home runs he has lost all trust in his curve, which could fuel more good fortune. May has had the year of his life in 2019. He had a promising end to his 2018 campaign that saw him flash the truly elite stuff that he flashed as a middling fourth/fifth starter in the dawn of his career. He’s bumped his velocity up considerably, and lately has sliced his pitch assortment, providing a better directive to his mound mindset. Taylor Rogers might be the most underrated pitcher, perhaps even player, in baseball thanks to his above average fastball and frisbee slider. A bullpen absent the invincible Aroldis Chapman fireball, or the radioactive cutter of Kenley Jansen, or the capital C-declared closer, might be an assembly of relief pitchers as effective, or more so, than any other in baseball. If there was one point of criticism for Rogers, I would point to the curveball and slider blending together. But that in no way detracts from the set of weapons that he has, and that the Twins have, that their playoff success could hinge on. Tyler Duffey might be the most remarkable story of the entire season for the Twins. He flamed-out as a starter in 2016 and followed with a pair of enigmatic seasons. At the tipping point of his career, he took on a complete overhaul, reinvention and refinement of his mechanics and approach under the tutelage of Wes Johnson. Duffey was taught sinkers inside and low, during the Rick Anderson, Neil Allen and Garvin Alston regimes. Jace Frederick of the Pioneer Press recently wrote an article that delved into Duffey's progress that included some illuminating quotes. Duffey spoke to how different Wes Johnson's mentality is. “Obviously I had the potential to be good, but it was seeing why I could be, understanding why I could be, and then doing it and repeating was the last piece of that. I think for me, personally, it’s just been trusting the whole plan that’s been set and going with it. “Pitching with conviction is the name of the game. Hitters can tell when you’re not convicted in what you’re doing. I think I’m trusting it, I feel good doing it and the results are speaking for themselves.” “He can be a strikeout guy, and he’s learned that,” Johnson said. “When we started back in spring training, our goal was to strike out more hitters than we ever have. We’re getting there, incrementally. And Tyler is someone you’re seeing make progress really fast.” The intuitive and tailored recipe for success spearheaded with the ongoing trend of elevating, decelerating and spiking. Fastballs up, sliders and curves down and away, and toggling with the velocity of those breakers has paved the way to a 2.35 ERA and a 1.0 WAR during this 2019 run to the postseason. A truly remarkable achievement for a pitcher once on the bubble. For the Twins to succeed in the postseason, a strong back-end of the bullpen must complement a competent starting staff. It could be a feasible plan, given that the trio of Trevor May, Tyler Duffey and Taylor Rogers has arrived and they are here to stay.
  3. Tough Criticism. I never in the article said that Pineda’s injury history or PEDs should be specifically ignored in the aggregate, but expecting him to trend upwards and not downwards would and should be a realistic possibility coupled with a low price tag, making him a very realistic option for resigning. There has never been a baseball team to enter the season with 5, and come out with 5 starters with 30+ starts in who knows how long. That’s just reality now. And given three roster spots have come open, the fruits for possibility are endless. I thought exploring this possibility was intriguing and that I’d get mixed bag reactions. I assumed that readers would enter this with open, impartial view and not be vindictive and resentful. Obviously I was wrong. I apologize if my content wasn’t up to your standards. I’ll try harder next time.
  4. I should premise before you guys blast me, I was trying to lobby for why Pineda should be considered as much a candidate as any other free agent pitcher. That was the purpose Not to rail against the ramifications of PEDs to be accepted as another offset of the game.
  5. Michael Pineda's current contract with the Twins will end with him under suspension. So his comeback season was tainted and this is the end of the story for him in Minnesota, right? Wrong. He's among the best free agent starting pitchers and this will be a Twins team thirsty for rotation help.We all have that perception of what PEDs looks like. Artificial, manufactured bulk. Insatiable supplement drive. Drug-hungry monsters covered with knots and curls of the synthetic side-effects of the phony, lifestyle they can only bootleg themselves into believing. Above all, they’re cheaters. We all have dismay and disdain for cheaters, and its palpable. The inequity of those that load themselves with anabolics over those that play natural is stigmatic enough, but the impression that those cheaters are head and shoulders above competitors while playing with an abnormal, unfair and skewed advantage, especially when the PEDS are wildly condemned, is truly preposterous. Was Michael Pineda even using PEDs? All we know he has been suspended for testing positive for a drug identified as a masking agent, but that fact teams feel it's necessary to censor and exempt those who "juiced" before entering the free agent market doesn’t make sense. Since 2010 there have been 26 players of notable significance to be suspended by the MLB for PEDs juicing. Download attachment: WARimage.png And as you can, this graph pretty much debunk the myth that players with juicing ‘enhanced’ their performance by yielded results by aggregate. The Twins face crucial decisions in regard to all three of their pending free agent starting pitchers. As the gap between legitimate starters becomes wider, it’s especially crucial for teams to equip themselves with effective starters. With his climbing velocity and swinging strike percentages, I would especially encourage the Twins to approach Pineda with an extension. This may be more of the fact that Jake Odorizzi and Kyle Gibson pose more concerns. History has shown that after Tommy John surgery, velocity actually increases. Pineda was also showing impressive command. Of any free agent pitcher to have thrown 1,000 pitches this season, Michael Pineda leads every single one of them (including Gerritt Cole) in Quality Of Pitch Average. QOP is a patent-pending proprietary regression model that factors in mph, location, and movement (vertical break, horizontal break, breaking distance and rise). Not that Gerritt Cole wouldn’t be my dream acquisition, but location and movement gives a better testament to the longevity and success of a pitcher. This coupled with rising velocity, an insanely good knack for hitting the strike zone (third of any free agent pitcher) and three pitches trending above average (changeup, fastball and slider) make Pineda an even more appealing candidate. Reasons why the Twins shouldn't consider a reunion with Pineda are few and far between. They more than likely lie in the composition of your own values, ethics and morals than the actual product. Nelson Cruz is a prime example of why you shouldn’t allow a failed PED test to influence your psyche, because Cruz ended up posting a 3.6 WAR season after his suspension. The even more important thing I want to bring to light is the reasoning behind the PEDs usage. Below is Pineda's statement after the suspension was announced. “I mistakenly took a medication that was given to me by a close acquaintance, who obtained it over-the-counter and assured me it would safely help me manage my weight. I ingested a a few of these pills without the consent of the Twins’ training staff. Testing revealed trace elements of a substance called Hydrochloride, which is a banned diuretic under baseball’s testing program.” Take it for what it’s worth, but the fact that he felt it was necessary for him to regulate his weight is a deeply ingrained perspective, grounded in and molded by the stereotypes we insist players must adhere to. How often do we as fans judge players with striking weight or size problems and reduce them with slander saying they can't perform? I consider it bigotry that someone with weight issues should be slandered because of his weight, and anything below excellent performance be pointed to as a corollary aftereffect of that dysfunction. So would it be fair to say that the suspension may have been the net result of our preconceived notions that drove him to search for weight recovery? Let me know what you think in the comments. Please follow me for more discussion @Sabir_Aden. Click here to view the article
  6. We all have that perception of what PEDs looks like. Artificial, manufactured bulk. Insatiable supplement drive. Drug-hungry monsters covered with knots and curls of the synthetic side-effects of the phony, lifestyle they can only bootleg themselves into believing. Above all, they’re cheaters. We all have dismay and disdain for cheaters, and its palpable. The inequity of those that load themselves with anabolics over those that play natural is stigmatic enough, but the impression that those cheaters are head and shoulders above competitors while playing with an abnormal, unfair and skewed advantage, especially when the PEDS are wildly condemned, is truly preposterous. Was Michael Pineda even using PEDs? All we know he has been suspended for testing positive for a drug identified as a masking agent, but that fact teams feel it's necessary to censor and exempt those who "juiced" before entering the free agent market doesn’t make sense. Since 2010 there have been 26 players of notable significance to be suspended by the MLB for PEDs juicing. And as you can, this graph pretty much debunk the myth that players with juicing ‘enhanced’ their performance by yielded results by aggregate. The Twins face crucial decisions in regard to all three of their pending free agent starting pitchers. As the gap between legitimate starters becomes wider, it’s especially crucial for teams to equip themselves with effective starters. With his climbing velocity and swinging strike percentages, I would especially encourage the Twins to approach Pineda with an extension. This may be more of the fact that Jake Odorizzi and Kyle Gibson pose more concerns. History has shown that after Tommy John surgery, velocity actually increases. Pineda was also showing impressive command. Of any free agent pitcher to have thrown 1,000 pitches this season, Michael Pineda leads every single one of them (including Gerritt Cole) in Quality Of Pitch Average. QOP is a patent-pending proprietary regression model that factors in mph, location, and movement (vertical break, horizontal break, breaking distance and rise). Not that Gerritt Cole wouldn’t be my dream acquisition, but location and movement gives a better testament to the longevity and success of a pitcher. This coupled with rising velocity, an insanely good knack for hitting the strike zone (third of any free agent pitcher) and three pitches trending above average (changeup, fastball and slider) make Pineda an even more appealing candidate. Reasons why the Twins shouldn't consider a reunion with Pineda are few and far between. They more than likely lie in the composition of your own values, ethics and morals than the actual product. Nelson Cruz is a prime example of why you shouldn’t allow a failed PED test to influence your psyche, because Cruz ended up posting a 3.6 WAR season after his suspension. The even more important thing I want to bring to light is the reasoning behind the PEDs usage. Below is Pineda's statement after the suspension was announced. “I mistakenly took a medication that was given to me by a close acquaintance, who obtained it over-the-counter and assured me it would safely help me manage my weight. I ingested a a few of these pills without the consent of the Twins’ training staff. Testing revealed trace elements of a substance called Hydrochloride, which is a banned diuretic under baseball’s testing program.” Take it for what it’s worth, but the fact that he felt it was necessary for him to regulate his weight is a deeply ingrained perspective, grounded in and molded by the stereotypes we insist players must adhere to. How often do we as fans judge players with striking weight or size problems and reduce them with slander saying they can't perform? I consider it bigotry that someone with weight issues should be slandered because of his weight, and anything below excellent performance be pointed to as a corollary aftereffect of that dysfunction. So would it be fair to say that the suspension may have been the net result of our preconceived notions that drove him to search for weight recovery? Let me know what you think in the comments. Please follow me for more discussion @Sabir_Aden.
  7. Usually I don’t like Dick Bremer calling twins games, but that was my favorite call of his.
  8. The Twins bullpen has been among the best in the entire league. Still, many Twins fans don’t seem to like the team’s chances against the American League’s powerhouses in the postseason. With the inevitable arrival of the most-hyped Twins pitching prospect in the last decade, however, there’s an argument to be made that the depth of the Twins bullpen matches up with anybody.Since the All-Star break, the Twins have baseball’s best SIERRA (a better or more comprehensive branch of FIP), and K-BB% a very good indicator of sustainably- sterling pitching, even while posting baseball’s highest zone per pitch%. We expected Wes Johnson to initiate some velocity increases, but he’s also helped a few relievers unleash some more bite on their breaking pitches. Download attachment: RogersDuffeyMay.png Velocity has risen, the sharpness of break along with the tunneling of those pitches in relation to fastball location has improved, and in turn that’s led to more strikeouts and weaker contact. Tyler Duffey is an interesting experiment, and they’ve built a rapport with using the fastball as a catalyst to set up the wipeout slider, a new pitch he believes is just a harder thrown version of his former knucklecurve. With improved control, Trevor May has been an appealing seventh-inning guy to watch. Taylor Rogers, once was a generic LOOGY, is now perhaps the most impactful left-handed reliever in baseball excluding Felipe Vazquez. A 1.9 WAR is absolutely insane! Do you remember the old Rogers, Duffey, and May? They all relied on softer secondary stuff to get away with the weaker fastballs they had previously. Now armed and loaded with fastball velocity, they still haven’t ventured too far (apart from May) from their old plan of attack. What’s important to note is the current assembly of Twins pitchers is perfectly able at proving capable in the postseason. In Extra Innings, a book by Baseball Prospectus, Ben Lindbergh advocated for relievers to be picked at the margins or be groomed through the system once failing as starting pitchers. It’s an interesting proposal. Don’t ever buy a reliever because he'll often turn out to be a poor investment. Instead, build your bullpen with roster casualties and scuffling relievers that good teams feel they can’t wait to get better. Download attachment: FA contract WAR.png The Twins haven’t been the most hardcore adherents to this system of thinking. They jettisoned Nick Anderson, Nick Burdi, JT Chargois and others for guys that may or may not have been past their primes on the free-agent market. That Addison Reed, Matt Belisle, Dillon Gee and Craig Breslow were all acquired under the Falvine regime, might be the result of fan pressure than actual thorough analysis on the makings of on-the-margin acquisitions. Guys like Tanner Rainey, Nick Anderson, Brendan Brennan, Austin Adams and Ty Buttrey were all traded in low-profile deals and turned out to be dynamic relievers. The Twins found innovative ways to hire intuitive and introspective thinkers to take on these projects in Duffey, May, Rogers and others. This bullpen is stacked with assorted gadgets and analytical fireman. So here’s my postseason bullpen predictions…. Multi Inning Firemen; Brusdar Graterol (RHP) / Taylor Rogers (LHP) Set Up; Sam Dyson (RHP) / Trevor May (RHP) Situational; Tyler Duffey (RHP) / Trevor Hildenberger (RHP) / Sergio Romo (RHP) Swiss Army Knife; 1 OF EITHER Martin Perez (LHP) / Zack Littell (RHP) Not included on the postseason roster: Randy Dobnak (RHP), Sean Poppen (RHP), Cody Stashak (RHP), Lewis Thorpe (LHP), Ryan Harper (RHP), Devin Smetlzer (LHP). Click here to view the article
  9. Since the All-Star break, the Twins have baseball’s best SIERRA (a better or more comprehensive branch of FIP), and K-BB% a very good indicator of sustainably- sterling pitching, even while posting baseball’s highest zone per pitch%. We expected Wes Johnson to initiate some velocity increases, but he’s also helped a few relievers unleash some more bite on their breaking pitches. Velocity has risen, the sharpness of break along with the tunneling of those pitches in relation to fastball location has improved, and in turn that’s led to more strikeouts and weaker contact. Tyler Duffey is an interesting experiment, and they’ve built a rapport with using the fastball as a catalyst to set up the wipeout slider, a new pitch he believes is just a harder thrown version of his former knucklecurve. With improved control, Trevor May has been an appealing seventh-inning guy to watch. Taylor Rogers, once was a generic LOOGY, is now perhaps the most impactful left-handed reliever in baseball excluding Felipe Vazquez. A 1.9 WAR is absolutely insane! Do you remember the old Rogers, Duffey, and May? They all relied on softer secondary stuff to get away with the weaker fastballs they had previously. Now armed and loaded with fastball velocity, they still haven’t ventured too far (apart from May) from their old plan of attack. What’s important to note is the current assembly of Twins pitchers is perfectly able at proving capable in the postseason. In Extra Innings, a book by Baseball Prospectus, Ben Lindbergh advocated for relievers to be picked at the margins or be groomed through the system once failing as starting pitchers. It’s an interesting proposal. Don’t ever buy a reliever because he'll often turn out to be a poor investment. Instead, build your bullpen with roster casualties and scuffling relievers that good teams feel they can’t wait to get better. The Twins haven’t been the most hardcore adherents to this system of thinking. They jettisoned Nick Anderson, Nick Burdi, JT Chargois and others for guys that may or may not have been past their primes on the free-agent market. That Addison Reed, Matt Belisle, Dillon Gee and Craig Breslow were all acquired under the Falvine regime, might be the result of fan pressure than actual thorough analysis on the makings of on-the-margin acquisitions. Guys like Tanner Rainey, Nick Anderson, Brendan Brennan, Austin Adams and Ty Buttrey were all traded in low-profile deals and turned out to be dynamic relievers. The Twins found innovative ways to hire intuitive and introspective thinkers to take on these projects in Duffey, May, Rogers and others. This bullpen is stacked with assorted gadgets and analytical fireman. So here’s my postseason bullpen predictions…. Multi Inning Firemen; Brusdar Graterol (RHP) / Taylor Rogers (LHP) Set Up; Sam Dyson (RHP) / Trevor May (RHP) Situational; Tyler Duffey (RHP) / Trevor Hildenberger (RHP) / Sergio Romo (RHP) Swiss Army Knife; 1 OF EITHER Martin Perez (LHP) / Zack Littell (RHP) Not included on the postseason roster: Randy Dobnak (RHP), Sean Poppen (RHP), Cody Stashak (RHP), Lewis Thorpe (LHP), Ryan Harper (RHP), Devin Smetlzer (LHP).
  10. I looked into the numbers, and his 4 seam between his stretch and windup is 0.1 mph off, and two seam is 0.4 mph off, so I think we could definitively strike that as inconclusive, or at least inconsequential for the time being given that the numbers correlate to his career marks. It’s certainly a intriguing observation, and in theory you’d believe that it did (stretch would zap velo). But it’s actaully the converse of that, where pitcher velocities sometimes go up, or stay saddled. I guess Parker would have a good rebuttal, but you’d have to ask him.
  11. Yeah, Jose had some abnormally weird release points pockets in his chart, which may signal there is a change in something like maybe grip, or overworking the pronation of his pitches. https://twitter.com/Sabir_Aden/status/1166213643496841216 You can see how sporadic they are from start to start, and you have to imagine not throwing from the same window can’t really be a positive factor, for a guy whose had trouble replicating his delivery in his career. I looked into the release point pockets when I was writing this, I think I asked one of the driveline guys in the article about overpronating that changeup and I assumed that overpronation would lead to more spin which would validate my hypothesis that he’s overpronating and lowering his arm slot, and they said you can’t really “add” spin to your pitches. It’s more of an innate talent you get. I recently followed up with one of them, and they said…. “Not sure if this is the case with Berrios but we do see a lot when an athlete is trying to add or improve a pitch that requires the spin axis to shift they may alter mechanics slightly or more so arm slot slightly to get the desired axis shift as opposed to adjusting how the ball comes out of the hand or wrist orientation into and at release.” When we talk about extension, so his landing spot on the rubber I think that’s even more noticeable. We talk about this extension then leading to perceived velocity, and lately his extension has been down, this is just another inducing instrument to lowering his velocity (like you said, which is very essential to him). You’d think it’s very weird. He’s been pitching from a 5.5ft to 7.3ft extension domain span all season long. But guys like Verlander and Cole who’ve had their fair share of success use the same 2ft to 3ft window when they pitch, so I’d probably cross that off. Here below is Jose’s changeup from 1st half to 2nd Half (white is 2nd, blue and red is 1st) and you can see the noticeable differences you alluded to. P.S Thanks for the nice complement. You’ve been the only twins writer that I’ve known that constantly pursues what the twins are trying to teach, and not the on-field product over the years. I really tried to replicate my work to be as clean and airtight as yours so thanks. Means a lot Oh yeah and btw you should follow me
  12. “Baseball is a relative sport.” By nature we often remember the really good or really bad things, and not the okay or decent things that someone does. I bet you can vividly remember the last time you won an award, but perhaps not the last time you went to the grocery store, or who your 10th grade history teacher was. It’s a core principle to how memories are formed. Those that stand out are often fueled by the emotional context the situation derives from.Say me for instance, I remember when Adrian Peterson nearly clipped the 2,100 yards or when Jason Zucker beat the Blackhawks in 2013, and conversely when Blair Walsh's epic failure from 27. These were momentous occasions to me personally, and culminated milestones of jubilee and heartbreak with lots and lots of backstory. Why is that such an important thing to consider when discussing the plight to Jose Berrios? It’s these disaster moments to fans in a season, where we can get way over our heads and make truly outrageous statements, and during the offseason in retrospect be like -- ”Did I actually say that?” He began the season on a pristine pinnacle. Logistically, Jose was exerting his mechanical best in how he was driving through his hips along with his delivery, and keeping his hands back in sync with driving those hips, which was a bad tendency he would commit in his youth. You can in the video how the different the glove placement is imperative to gaining that two to three ticks in velocity to the plate. In hardcore pitching circles they call this the kinetic chain, where the components of one’s mechanics are at an equilibrium, where the joints are in a symphonic harmony, making it all a simplistic, clean, and efficiently repeatable delivery. And Berrios looked really good. He proved with the results to bear, and added a new wrinkle into that much anticipated pitch mix, the changeup. In that 2019 opening unveiling we saw the changeup being fruitfully showcased 12.5% of the time, more than his total the previous season (9.1%) and the cumulative average during his very short career (10.7%). He wasn’t deliberately delaying his arm speed, and everything in that start was sublime. Pristine. You could say Berrios was perhaps an “ACE” in that start had things not turned sideways and pear-shaped just a handful of months later. Now fast-forward to today. Fresh (or perhaps rotten) from that second consecutive All-Star appearance, Jose Berrios is showcasing his most agonizing and problematic struggle points of his career. He’s been hittable, hit very hard with declining velocity, and to boot; seemingly single-handedly taking baseball’s third-best offense (in wOBA and wRC+; .348 and 115 respectively) out of critically important games. What’s even more frightening? That the strength of the opposition over the past four games has sported a 91 wRC+, with 100 being league average. He’s struggling mightily against bad opponents, compounded with the fact that they shouldn’t be hitting him this hard, period. So far, we as all separate pitching expert entities haven’t found the culprit to what hindering subset of pitching statistics is responsible for pruning our Johan of today, devoid of the attributes that made us reminisce of Johan, the great killer of men, sheep, and those brave enough to step into the battered boxes of right and left. But jokes aside, what’s really been the inhibitor to Jose’s velocity and coincidentally his release point since his dynamic beginning? Let’s zoom into one of his particular starts, this one against the Indians on June 6, as the start to our inquiry. In that one start, Berrios didn’t feature the curveball like we have become expect. He would throw a whopping 25.4% changeups, nearly double his career total and triple his season percentage to that point. But something interesting of note lied in that changeup subgrouping. In that start he would throw 27 changeups of his entire 107 pitches in those six strong innings. Only one ball was hit harder than 85 mph, and here’s a mapping of those pitch velocities with their extensions metrics. Notice anything weird? For a guy throwing from an average release point of 6.5 ft away from the pitching rubber, the extensions point were remarkably scattered and the changeup release points also dropped, along with the average pitch velocity. Increasing extension would typically incite would velocity, (Josh Hader’s extension would come in mind) and it’s a very peculiar trend into Jose’s portfolio. If we critically analyze Jose’s pitching approach further, we wouldn't have anything particularly striking about his movements. Berrios has a unique windup, something of another other beast, where he utilizes his windup as a vehicle to increase the movement and velocity of his pitches. Whereas others use their windup as a balancing point or to find their zen, Berrios uses his windup like a stress ball where he curled himself into a ball. He breaks out of the ball in smooth rhythm to swing his front side, lurch the back end and launch the pitch. Looking at the progress he’s made since his debut, where his arms and legs need a lot of refinements, he’s made noticeable and encouraging strides. When he was young he would treat his arms and legs as separate mechanism, and he now manages to keep his core in rhythm and not out of motion with his elbows, knees, and front striding foot. So nothing abundantly different with the windup, and not that much difference in the general technique with his hand placement, etc. Berrios, technically speaking hasn't changed anything with the conducting of his delivery, until Glen Perkins spoke about it during Jose’s latest start. I’m paraphrasing what Roy Smalley said during the game, but here’s what he said: “This is what Glen Perkins was talking about in the pregame shows, where (Jose) coils up and then has to uncoil and gets way spun around and his arm either lags or he’s gotta really rush to catch up, and that’s what happens when you spike that curveball ... And just you’ve opened up way to quickly and your arm just whips around.” “They are trying to get (Jose) to alter his mechanics a little bit, but he’s very rotational and he gets really turned around and can’t get his arm back through, so when his hips come way around behind him he coils up, and his arm has to speed up to catch up. That’s why you see so many fastballs up and into lefthanders, and spiked breaking balls.” You can see that his windup is almost, where he isn’t riding with the energy generated by his windup as much and through that back heel, that the great Parker Hageman discussed during the offseason as a foundation through building and sustaining velocity. We can see the locked back leg not pulling through, anchored and dragging his weight in a counterproductive direction. It’s slinging and stopping, preventing him from riding through that back leg and pulling in his follow through. It’s a sign of stress and unease to rip through, as young pitching are taught today to rip through with elastic bands at data driven developmental programs. You can see the lazy back leg grappling with the front side and the glove holstered to his side, almost as if he’s more location conscious then ripping the back leg through for the additional ticks of velocity he needs to be at his best. This looks more like a fatigue and midseason swoon related dilemma than a mechanics dead-gone disaster, but the velocity problems and mechanical technique are very much redeemable. Additionally I wanted to dive into more of what’s causing the lower arm slot, and perhaps an aggravator of the lower velocity readings and the dropping of the arm slots. This graphic below shows the release points of all of Jose’s pitches horizontally since the beginning of the season. I postulated the changeup he’s been throwing has played role in why the release point has waned lately, so I consulted with two acute baseball minds to at least minimally come to a conclusion. Through some research and conspiracy thinking, changeups might play a part in cannibalizing fastball velocity. Now take with a grain of salt, but changeup reduces fastball velocity for youth pitchers, and Paul Nyman theorized that an intentionally manipulated change for sink and drop would lead to fastball velocity dropping. Coupled with the fact that Jose played with the changeup in the Cleveland start I spoke of, and that his deviation of his velocities are so wide, maybe the changeup is playing with his repertoire and his mechanics. It’s certainly cause for concern given that the more he’s thrown his changeup the more his velocity as dropped. I was curious about the changeup possibly curtailing Jose's potential, so I talked with two sources: a Manager of Mechanical Analysis at Driveline Baseball, who also happens to be a former pitching coach, and Michael O'Neal, a former professional pitcher who is now a trainer at Driveline and assistant coach at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. ME: Hey Guys. I was recently diving into a pitcher (Jose Berrios), and just wanted to ask that if ... say a right-hander where to increasingly lower their arm slot, which just so happened to coincide with an increase in spin rate and decrease in velocity, would you say an increase to using a changeup could be a detriment of this? I look at some of the side effects of short-arming a changeup (like slinging from the side) and couldn’t find anything, but I did however find that Jose’s changeup spin rate has increased. Do you think that a lowering of the arm slot on a changeup and an increase in spin could lead to decreased velocity? Or perhaps the lowering of arm slot could increase spin in general? Michael (Former MLB Player); It depends on the guy, but lowering the arm slot would help to create more sidespin on a changeup, which also would increase horizontal movement on the pitch. Jose’s arm slot might also be more natural for him which could be an increase in spin rate. (Driveline Pitching Analysis Expert); Unfortunately you can’t (increase spin on arm slot) when it comes to increasing spin rate. Raw spin rate that is, there is not anything definitive that has been found to increase it outside of the use of foreign substance. Michael (Former MLB Player); Me personally, I have the same tendency when I try to “get on top” of my fastball. I laterally trunk-tilt more causing a higher arm slot. This also negatively impacts my spin rate. When I stay taller and don’t tilt so much (unlike what Jose has been doing), my spin rate increases and also causes my arm slot/release point to be lower on the Z axis. (Driveline Pitching Analysis Expert); Now increasing true spin is different. Pitchers increase true spin all the time by improving spin efficiency. In terms of a change up you ideally and in most cases want to kill or decrease spin. Most changeups, whether it is a circle change or a split type change are trying to kill total spin, kill lift on the pitch to create separation from the heater and kill velocity. I would have to look at Berrios’ pitch metrics to really tell you anything in regards to arm slot changes or spin total changes. Traditionally a change up is predominantly side spin. The spin direction or spin axis for a righty usually needs to shift in the direction of 3:00. Sometimes pitchers won’t have a good feel for how to do that so they will manipulate theirs arm action or arm slot to try to get there instead of pronating the pitch more to create that side spin. In the case of Berrios and knowing how exceptionally good Wes Johnson is with utilizing Trackman data, I’m sure Wes has him trending in the correct direction at the very least. Michael (Former MLB Player); (It) Depends. A laggy arm could be possible, BUT better changeups have a fast arm speed. Also though, his changeup could play close to the 2 seam fastball, so hows his usage on the 2 seam changed? So that was the end to this conversation and the article. I hope you enjoyed. As far as what I would expect the Twins to do, we saw earlier in the season when Michael Pineda’s velocity was hitting a rough patch so they placed on the DL. I could conceivably see Rocco buying some time by giving the duo of Lewis Thorpe and Devin Smeltzer a start against the lowly White Sox and Tiger on this coming road trip, and perhaps recharge the rotation (Gibson and Odorizzi velocity has been down lately). Wes Johnson in the splendid piece by Dan Hayes of the Athletic during a makeup interview of his sudden unavailability, said something of significance. “We’re getting him back on his heel and trying to get him to rotate, get his chest velocity back up,” Johnson said. “It’s not just to get José to survive. We want more of the start against Chicago that he had when he was 94 mph and was dominant. Or even you go to the Miami start when his velocity was down a little bit. The pitch execution was through the roof for seven innings. “Our focus isn’t to find a way just to get this guy through. We have to try to get him better every time he goes out.” Which again corroborates with what Wes has done with biomechanics velocity induction. If you want to read more, I would encourage you to read this. Please Follow me @Sabir Click here to view the article
  13. Say me for instance, I remember when Adrian Peterson nearly clipped the 2,100 yards or when Jason Zucker beat the Blackhawks in 2013, and conversely when Blair Walsh's epic failure from 27. These were momentous occasions to me personally, and culminated milestones of jubilee and heartbreak with lots and lots of backstory. Why is that such an important thing to consider when discussing the plight to Jose Berrios? It’s these disaster moments to fans in a season, where we can get way over our heads and make truly outrageous statements, and during the offseason in retrospect be like -- ”Did I actually say that?” He began the season on a pristine pinnacle. Logistically, Jose was exerting his mechanical best in how he was driving through his hips along with his delivery, and keeping his hands back in sync with driving those hips, which was a bad tendency he would commit in his youth. You can in the video how the different the glove placement is imperative to gaining that two to three ticks in velocity to the plate. In hardcore pitching circles they call this the kinetic chain, where the components of one’s mechanics are at an equilibrium, where the joints are in a symphonic harmony, making it all a simplistic, clean, and efficiently repeatable delivery. And Berrios looked really good. He proved with the results to bear, and added a new wrinkle into that much anticipated pitch mix, the changeup. In that 2019 opening unveiling we saw the changeup being fruitfully showcased 12.5% of the time, more than his total the previous season (9.1%) and the cumulative average during his very short career (10.7%). He wasn’t deliberately delaying his arm speed, and everything in that start was sublime. Pristine. You could say Berrios was perhaps an “ACE” in that start had things not turned sideways and pear-shaped just a handful of months later. Now fast-forward to today. Fresh (or perhaps rotten) from that second consecutive All-Star appearance, Jose Berrios is showcasing his most agonizing and problematic struggle points of his career. He’s been hittable, hit very hard with declining velocity, and to boot; seemingly single-handedly taking baseball’s third-best offense (in wOBA and wRC+; .348 and 115 respectively) out of critically important games. What’s even more frightening? That the strength of the opposition over the past four games has sported a 91 wRC+, with 100 being league average. He’s struggling mightily against bad opponents, compounded with the fact that they shouldn’t be hitting him this hard, period. So far, we as all separate pitching expert entities haven’t found the culprit to what hindering subset of pitching statistics is responsible for pruning our Johan of today, devoid of the attributes that made us reminisce of Johan, the great killer of men, sheep, and those brave enough to step into the battered boxes of right and left. But jokes aside, what’s really been the inhibitor to Jose’s velocity and coincidentally his release point since his dynamic beginning? Let’s zoom into one of his particular starts, this one against the Indians on June 6, as the start to our inquiry. In that one start, Berrios didn’t feature the curveball like we have become expect. He would throw a whopping 25.4% changeups, nearly double his career total and triple his season percentage to that point. But something interesting of note lied in that changeup subgrouping. In that start he would throw 27 changeups of his entire 107 pitches in those six strong innings. Only one ball was hit harder than 85 mph, and here’s a mapping of those pitch velocities with their extensions metrics. Notice anything weird? For a guy throwing from an average release point of 6.5 ft away from the pitching rubber, the extensions point were remarkably scattered and the changeup release points also dropped, along with the average pitch velocity. Increasing extension would typically incite would velocity, (Josh Hader’s extension would come in mind) and it’s a very peculiar trend into Jose’s portfolio. If we critically analyze Jose’s pitching approach further, we wouldn't have anything particularly striking about his movements. Berrios has a unique windup, something of another other beast, where he utilizes his windup as a vehicle to increase the movement and velocity of his pitches. Whereas others use their windup as a balancing point or to find their zen, Berrios uses his windup like a stress ball where he curled himself into a ball. He breaks out of the ball in smooth rhythm to swing his front side, lurch the back end and launch the pitch. Looking at the progress he’s made since his debut, where his arms and legs need a lot of refinements, he’s made noticeable and encouraging strides. When he was young he would treat his arms and legs as separate mechanism, and he now manages to keep his core in rhythm and not out of motion with his elbows, knees, and front striding foot. So nothing abundantly different with the windup, and not that much difference in the general technique with his hand placement, etc. Berrios, technically speaking hasn't changed anything with the conducting of his delivery, until Glen Perkins spoke about it during Jose’s latest start. I’m paraphrasing what Roy Smalley said during the game, but here’s what he said: “This is what Glen Perkins was talking about in the pregame shows, where (Jose) coils up and then has to uncoil and gets way spun around and his arm either lags or he’s gotta really rush to catch up, and that’s what happens when you spike that curveball ... And just you’ve opened up way to quickly and your arm just whips around.” “They are trying to get (Jose) to alter his mechanics a little bit, but he’s very rotational and he gets really turned around and can’t get his arm back through, so when his hips come way around behind him he coils up, and his arm has to speed up to catch up. That’s why you see so many fastballs up and into lefthanders, and spiked breaking balls.” You can see that his windup is almost, where he isn’t riding with the energy generated by his windup as much and through that back heel, that the great Parker Hageman discussed during the offseason as a foundation through building and sustaining velocity. We can see the locked back leg not pulling through, anchored and dragging his weight in a counterproductive direction. It’s slinging and stopping, preventing him from riding through that back leg and pulling in his follow through. It’s a sign of stress and unease to rip through, as young pitching are taught today to rip through with elastic bands at data driven developmental programs. You can see the lazy back leg grappling with the front side and the glove holstered to his side, almost as if he’s more location conscious then ripping the back leg through for the additional ticks of velocity he needs to be at his best. This looks more like a fatigue and midseason swoon related dilemma than a mechanics dead-gone disaster, but the velocity problems and mechanical technique are very much redeemable. Additionally I wanted to dive into more of what’s causing the lower arm slot, and perhaps an aggravator of the lower velocity readings and the dropping of the arm slots. This graphic below shows the release points of all of Jose’s pitches horizontally since the beginning of the season. I postulated the changeup he’s been throwing has played role in why the release point has waned lately, so I consulted with two acute baseball minds to at least minimally come to a conclusion. Through some research and conspiracy thinking, changeups might play a part in cannibalizing fastball velocity. Now take with a grain of salt, but changeup reduces fastball velocity for youth pitchers, and Paul Nyman theorized that an intentionally manipulated change for sink and drop would lead to fastball velocity dropping. Coupled with the fact that Jose played with the changeup in the Cleveland start I spoke of, and that his deviation of his velocities are so wide, maybe the changeup is playing with his repertoire and his mechanics. It’s certainly cause for concern given that the more he’s thrown his changeup the more his velocity as dropped. I was curious about the changeup possibly curtailing Jose's potential, so I talked with two sources: a Manager of Mechanical Analysis at Driveline Baseball, who also happens to be a former pitching coach, and Michael O'Neal, a former professional pitcher who is now a trainer at Driveline and assistant coach at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. ME: Hey Guys. I was recently diving into a pitcher (Jose Berrios), and just wanted to ask that if ... say a right-hander where to increasingly lower their arm slot, which just so happened to coincide with an increase in spin rate and decrease in velocity, would you say an increase to using a changeup could be a detriment of this? I look at some of the side effects of short-arming a changeup (like slinging from the side) and couldn’t find anything, but I did however find that Jose’s changeup spin rate has increased. Do you think that a lowering of the arm slot on a changeup and an increase in spin could lead to decreased velocity? Or perhaps the lowering of arm slot could increase spin in general? Michael (Former MLB Player); It depends on the guy, but lowering the arm slot would help to create more sidespin on a changeup, which also would increase horizontal movement on the pitch. Jose’s arm slot might also be more natural for him which could be an increase in spin rate. (Driveline Pitching Analysis Expert); Unfortunately you can’t (increase spin on arm slot) when it comes to increasing spin rate. Raw spin rate that is, there is not anything definitive that has been found to increase it outside of the use of foreign substance. Michael (Former MLB Player); Me personally, I have the same tendency when I try to “get on top” of my fastball. I laterally trunk-tilt more causing a higher arm slot. This also negatively impacts my spin rate. When I stay taller and don’t tilt so much (unlike what Jose has been doing), my spin rate increases and also causes my arm slot/release point to be lower on the Z axis. (Driveline Pitching Analysis Expert); Now increasing true spin is different. Pitchers increase true spin all the time by improving spin efficiency. In terms of a change up you ideally and in most cases want to kill or decrease spin. Most changeups, whether it is a circle change or a split type change are trying to kill total spin, kill lift on the pitch to create separation from the heater and kill velocity. I would have to look at Berrios’ pitch metrics to really tell you anything in regards to arm slot changes or spin total changes. Traditionally a change up is predominantly side spin. The spin direction or spin axis for a righty usually needs to shift in the direction of 3:00. Sometimes pitchers won’t have a good feel for how to do that so they will manipulate theirs arm action or arm slot to try to get there instead of pronating the pitch more to create that side spin. In the case of Berrios and knowing how exceptionally good Wes Johnson is with utilizing Trackman data, I’m sure Wes has him trending in the correct direction at the very least. Michael (Former MLB Player); (It) Depends. A laggy arm could be possible, BUT better changeups have a fast arm speed. Also though, his changeup could play close to the 2 seam fastball, so hows his usage on the 2 seam changed? So that was the end to this conversation and the article. I hope you enjoyed. As far as what I would expect the Twins to do, we saw earlier in the season when Michael Pineda’s velocity was hitting a rough patch so they placed on the DL. I could conceivably see Rocco buying some time by giving the duo of Lewis Thorpe and Devin Smeltzer a start against the lowly White Sox and Tiger on this coming road trip, and perhaps recharge the rotation (Gibson and Odorizzi velocity has been down lately). Wes Johnson in the splendid piece by Dan Hayes of the Athletic during a makeup interview of his sudden unavailability, said something of significance. “We’re getting him back on his heel and trying to get him to rotate, get his chest velocity back up,” Johnson said. “It’s not just to get José to survive. We want more of the start against Chicago that he had when he was 94 mph and was dominant. Or even you go to the Miami start when his velocity was down a little bit. The pitch execution was through the roof for seven innings. “Our focus isn’t to find a way just to get this guy through. We have to try to get him better every time he goes out.” Which again corroborates with what Wes has done with biomechanics velocity induction. If you want to read more, I would encourage you to read this. Please Follow me @Sabir
  14. “Baseball is a relative sport.” By nature we often remember the really good or really bad things, and not the okay or decent things that someone does. I bet you can vividly remember the last time you won an award, but perhaps not the last time you went to the grocery store, or who your 10th grade history teacher was. It’s a core principle to how memories are formed. Those that stand out are often fueled by the emotional context the situation derives from. Say me for instance, I remember when Adrian Peterson nearly clipped the 2,100 yards or when Jason Zucker beat the Blackhawks in 2013, and conversely when Blair Walsh's epic failure from 27. These were momentous occasions to me personally, and culminated milestones of jubilee and heartbreak with lots and lots of backstory. Why is that such an important thing to consider when discussing the plight to Jose Berrios? It’s these disaster moments to fans in a season, where we can get way over our heads and make truly outrageous statements, and during the offseason in retrospect be like ---”Did I actually say that?” He began the season on a pristine pinnacle. Logistically, Jose was exerting his mechanical best in how he was driving through his hips along with his delivery, and keeping his hands back in sync with driving those hips, which was a bad tendency he would commit in his youth. You can in the video how the different the glove placement is imperative to gaining that 2 to 3 ticks in velocity to the plate. In hardcore pitching circles they call this the kinetic chain, where the components of one’s mechanics are at an equilibrium, where the joints are in a symphonic harmony, making it all a simplistic, clean, and efficiently repeatable delivery. And Berrios looked really good. He proved with the results to bear, and added a new wrinkle into that much anticipated pitch mix, the changeup. In that 2019 opening unveiling we saw the changeup being fruitfully showcased 12.5% of the time, more than his total the previous season (9.1%) and the cumulative average during his very short career (10.7%). He wasn’t deliberately delaying his arm speed, and everything in that start was sublime. Pristine. You could say Berrios was perhaps an “ACE” in that start had things not turned sideways and pearshaped just a handful of months later. --------------------------------------------------------------TD-------------------------------------------------------------- Now fast-forward to today. Fresh or perhaps rotten from that second consecutive all-star appearance, Jose Berrios is showcasing his most agonizing and problematic struggle points of his career. He’s been hittable, hit very hard with declining velocity, and to boot; seemingly single-handedly taking baseball’s 3rd best offense (in wOBA and wRC+; .348 and 115 respectively) out of critically important games. What’s even more frightening? That the strength of the opposition over the past 4 games has sported a 91 wRC+, with 100 being league average. He’s struggling mightily against bad opponents, compounded with the fact that they shouldn’t be hitting him this hard, period. So far, we as all seperate pitching expert entities haven’t found the culprit to what hindering subset of pitching statistics is responsible for pruning our Johan of today, devoid of the attributes that made us reminisce of Johan, the great killer of men, sheep, and those brave enough to step into the battered boxes of right and left. But jokes aside, what’s really been the inhibitor to Jose’s velocity and coincidentally his release point since his dynamic beginning? Let’s zoom into one of his particular starts, this one against the Indians on June 6th as the start to our inquiry. In that one start, Berrios didn’t feature the curveball that we have become expected of. He would throw a whopping 25.4% changeup, nearly double his career-total and triple his season percentage to that point. But something interesting of note lied in that changeup subgrouping. In that start he would throw 27 changeups of his entire 107 pitches in those 6 strong innings. Only one ball was hit harder than 85mph, and here’s a mapping of those pitch velocities with their extensions metrics. Notice anything weird? For a guy throwing from an average release point of 6.5ft away from the pitching rubber, the extensions point were remarkably scattered and the changeup release points also dropped, along with the average pitch velocity. Increasing extension would typically incite would velocity, (Josh Hader’s extension would come in mind) and it’s a very peculiar trend into Jose’s portfolio. If we critically analyze even more into Jose’s pitching approach, we wouldn't have anything particularly striking about his movements. Berrios has a unique windup, something of another other beast where he utilizes his windup as a vehicle to increase the movement and velocity of his pitches. Whereas others use their windup as a balancing point or to find their zen, Berrios uses his windup like a stress ball where he curled himself into a ball, and breaks out of the ball in smooth rhythm to swing his front side and lurch the back end, and launch the pitch. Looking at the progress he’s made since his debut, where his arms and legs need a lot of refinements, he’s made noticeable and encouraging strides. When he was young he would treat his arms and legs as separate mechanism, and he now manages to keep his core in rhythm and not out of motion with his elbows, knees, and front stridding foot. So nothing abundantly different with the windup, and not that much difference in the general technique with his hand placement, etc. Berrios, technically speaking hasn't changed anything with the conducting of his delivery, until Glen Perkins spoke about it during Jose’s latest start. I’m paraphrasing what Roy Smalley said during the game, but here’s what he said: “This is what Glen Perkins was talking about in the pregame shows, where (Jose) coils up and then has to uncoil and gets way spun around and his arm either lags or he’s gotta really rush to catch up, and that’s what happens when you spike that curveball….. And just you’ve opened up way to quickly and your arm just whips around.” “They are trying to get (Jose) to alter his mechanics a little bit, but he’s very rotational and he gets really turned around and can’t get his arm back through, so when his hips come way around behind him he coils up, and his arm has to speed up to catch up. That’s why you see so many fastballs up and into lefthanders, and spiked breaking balls.” You can see that his windup is almost, where he isn’t riding with the energy generated by his windup as much and through that back heel, that the great Parker Hagemen discussed during the offseason as a foundation through building and sustaining velocity. We can see the locked back leg not pulling through, anchored and dragging his weight in a counterproductive direction. It’s slinging and stopping, preventing him from riding through that back leg and pulling in his follow through. It’s a sign of stress and unease to rip through, as young pitching are taught today to rip through with elastic bands at data driven developmental programs. You can see the lazy back leg grappling with the front side and the glove holstered to his side, almost as if he’s more location conscious then ripping the back leg through for the additional ticks of velocity he needs to be at his best. This looks more like a fatigue and midseason swoon related dilemma than a mechanics dead-gone disaster, but the velocity problems and mechanical technique are very much redeemable. -----------------------------------------------------------TD-------------------------------------------------------------- Additionally I wanted to dive into more of what’s causing the lower arm slot, and perhaps an aggravator of the lower velocity readings and the dropping of the arm slots. This graphic below shows the release points of all of Jose’s pitches horizontally since the beginning of the season. I postulated the changeup he’s been throwing has played role in why the release point has waned lately, so I consulted with two acute baseball minds to at least minimally come to a conclusion. Through some research and conspiracy thinking, changeups might play a part in cannibalizing fastball velocity. Now take with a grain of salt, but changeup reduces fastball velocity for youth pitchers, and Paul Nyman theorized that an intentionally manipulated change for sink and drop would lead to fastball velocity dropping. Coupled with the fact that Jose played with the changeup in the Cleveland start I spoke of, and that his deviation of his velocities are so wide, maybe the changeup is playing with his repetiore and his mehanics. It’s certainly cause for concern given that the more he’s thrown his changeup the more his velocity as dropped. So I talked with Bill Hetzel, Manager of Mechanical Analysis at Driveline and Analysis, and former pitching coach and Michael O’Neal, former pro-ball pitcher and Driveline pitching trainer, and now SIUE baseball assistant coach about the changeup possibly curtailing Jose’s potential. ME: Hey Guys. I was recently diving into a pitcher (Jose Berrios), and just wanted to ask that if….. say a righthander where to increasingly lower their arm slot, which just so happened to coincide with an increase in spin rate and decrease in velocity, would you say an increase to using a changeup could be a detriment of this? I look at some of the side effects of short-arming a changeup (like slinging from the side) and couldn’t find anything, but I did however find that Jose’s changeup spin rate has increased. Do you think that a lowering of the arm slot on a changeup and an increase in spin could lead to decreased velocity? Or perhaps the lowering of arm slot could increase spin in general? Michael (Former MLB Player); It depends on the guy, but lowering the arm slot would help to create more sidespin on a changeup, which also would increase horizontal movement on the pitch. Jose’s arm slot might also be more natural for him which could be an increase in spin rate. Bill (Driveline Pitching Analysis Expert); Unfortunately you can’t (increase spin on arm slot) when it comes to increasing spin rate. Raw spin rate that is, there is not anything definitive that has been found to increase it outside of the use of foreign substance. Michael (Former MLB Player); Me personally, I have the same tendency when I try to “get on top” of my fastball. I laterally trunk-tilt more causing a higher arm slot. This also negatively impacts my spin rate. When I stay taller and don’t tilt so much (unlike what Jose has been doing), my spin rate increases and also causes my arm slot/release point to be lower on the Z axis. Bill (Driveline Pitching Analysis Expert); Now increasing true spin is different. Pitchers increase true spin all the time by improving spin efficiency. In terms of a change up you ideally and in most cases want to kill or decrease spin. Most changeups, whether it is a circle change or a split type change are trying to kill total spin, kill lift on the pitch to create separation from the heater and kill velocity. I would have to look at Berrios’ pitch metrics to really tell you anything in regards to arm slot changes or spin total changes. Traditionally a change up is predominantly side spin. The spin direction or spin axis for a righty usually needs to shift in the direction of 3:00. Sometimes pitchers won’t have a good feel for how to do that so they will manipulate theirs arm action or arm slot to try to get there instead of pronating the pitch more to create that side spin. In the case of Berrios and knowing how exceptionally good Wes Johnson is with utilizing Trackman data, I’m sure Wes has him trending in the correct direction at the very least. Michael (Former MLB Player); (It) Depends. A laggy arm could be possible, BUT better changeups have a fast arm speed. Also though, his changeup could play close to the 2 seam fastball, so hows his usage on the 2 seam changed? So that was the end to this conversation and the article. I hope you enjoyed. As far as what I would expect the Twins to do, we saw earlier in the season when Michael Pineda’s velocity was hitting a rough patch so they placed on the DL. I could conceivably see Rocco buying some time by giving the duo of Lewis Thorpe and Devin Smeltzer a start against the lowly White Sox and Tiger on this coming road trip, and perhaps recharge the rotation (Gibson and Odorizzi velocity has been down lately). Wes Johnson in the splendid piece by Dan Hayes of the Athletic during a makeup interview of his sudden unavailability, said something of significance. “We’re getting him back on his heel and trying to get him to rotate, get his chest velocity back up,” Johnson said. “It’s not just to get José to survive. We want more of the start against Chicago that he had when he was 94 mph and was dominant. Or even you go to the Miami start when his velocity was down a little bit. The pitch execution was through the roof for seven innings. “Our focus isn’t to find a way just to get this guy through. We have to try to get him better every time he goes out.” Which again corroborates with what Wes has done with biomechanics velocity induction. If you want to read more, I would encourage you to read this. Please Follow me @Sabir
  15. Thanks! Screwed up some Spotrac. Correction made. Now I’m gonna change the prospect value.
  16. R-E-L-A-X. Some words of wisdom I’m recycling, and it’d probably be best I don’t reveal the source of such resonating words of prudence, humility and humbleness. After some gut wrenching loses on the last homestand, and now a complete phase shift to an assertive series win (super hard to believe at this point), we’re back at a medium of limbo once again. Just ahead of the trade deadline, this stretch sandwiched in between the AS break and the trade deadline proves as pivotal as ever, now newly the sole universal trade deadline with the waiver deadline in August eradicated. This is only a boon for the MLB, serving as the backdrop for the most ultimate and frenetic trade deadline ever. Or at least we thought. But ... the trade deadline offers the most boom or the most bust, just ahead of the most visionary moment of the year. Make the right move and press the right buttons, and catapult yourself into the hoisting a world championship. Make the wrong move, short-circuit your postseason hopes, and even worse navigate a direct path into a course of demolition taking years to recover from. Yes, headsy moves like the esteemed Justin Verlander trade can pay vast dividends in the short term and long terms, but they don’t just appear out of thin air. The ramifications can unquestionably postpone a team’s contention window for years to come, which is one reason why it’s so important to straddle the lines of immediate and future consequences of parting away with prospects in the future, for major league help in the present, especially if the chances of even making the cut aren’t guaranteed. So to fulfill the appetites of those of you who can’t wait for the Twins to stop flirting with on the block chips (or Sergio Romo), to actually pulling the trigger on blockbuster trade deals, we’ll please your craving with fruitful speculation to rest your itches just until the action begins unfolding. A BRIEF OVERVIEW With the bullpen by far being the most indisputable area of improvement, it wouldn't be sensible to include both hitters and pitchers together on the same list, especially for an area of need so dire and existential. Just because Edwin Encarnacion is so much better on every level than Jake Diekman, the desperation meter for the Twins greatly supersedes any above and beyond difference maker that could conceivably add any added production offensively. That’s why the list is exclusive to difference making relievers, when the position group is so bamboozled in their own mannerisms. I’ll even add my patented likelihood meter and my hypothetical trade proposal infusions with twins prospects to add a little authenticity. It wouldn’t hurt to foster a little jockeying for trade value validity would it? So without any more small talk, let me present to you the first annual edition of The Ultimate Trade Deadline Special. Let the games begin! Capital C Closers 1. Ken Giles W/L Record; 1-2 1.64 ERA, 14/15 Saves 33.0 innings & 57 strikeouts Controlled Through; End of 2020 Season (1 ½ Years of Control) The Toronto Blue Jays certainly have an encouraging young core with cornerstone young stars, namely Vladimir Guerro, and other projectable, consistent, sneaky good prospects in Bichette, Biggio, and Danny Jansen that give the front office of Ross Atkins a very good preliminary sketch to the core of this team in the not so distant competitive future. With that said though, the Blue Jays possess many young, controllable, team friendly affordable, problematic stars that assuredly would be jettisoned in the short term. Ken Giles, formerly of the Houston Astros comes into the fray as the most dominant reliever of the trade block crop. After a brutal season where Giles was relinquished the Astros closer role and soon traded for a reliever in the plight of a domestic assault scandal, you’d assume rock bottom was hit. GB 36.9% FB 21.5% LD 30.8% Hard Hit 33.8% Barrel 7.7% Giles, has improved on a fastball that was absolutely torched in his 2018 campaign, and paired it with an omnipotent breaking ball, that at it’s best can be one of the most effective pitches in baseball. His slider isn’t an artificially overthrown and loopy-like, frisbee slider but more of a fall of the table type that has held left handed to a redundantly anemic triple slash of .034/.034/.034. Giles should demand a buyer's haul, given that he’s assumed his former dominance as a top-flight, and at times unhittable closer. Of his 135 pitcher versus batter appearances that end up with a result, he’s induced balls in play fewer times than outs at the plate (strikeouts & walks). Therein lies the sheer dominance of Giles, as he’s afforded a 42% strikeout rate, the highest in the major leagues. But Giles isn’t doing it with an approach of nickel and diming the zone, a core principle of this bullpen staff that has come under scrutiny, and even more exacerbated by this mid-season funk. Given that Giles is under control for another season, he should require some blue chip prospects to convince the Blue Jays front office to ship Giles in a deal. Giles is at peak value, but given that the trade block market is so broad and robust with relievers that are equally as good or better than Giles, that should be enough to humble Tornoto’s brass from a lucrative offer. TRADE PROPOSAL; Ken Giles for Jake Cave + Willians Astudillo + Prospect Lewis Thorpe (#11) TRADE LIKELIHOOD; 85% 2. Kirby Yates W/L Record; 0-2 1.02 ERA, 31/33 Saves 44.0 innings & 72 strikeouts Controlled Through; End of 2020 Season (1 ½ Years of Control) An unheralded and most unexpected star to blossom as maybe the most desirable relief arm to take center stage in this trade deadline, Kirby Yates is a true impact arm to feel for the market. Probably one of the brightest spots of the 2019 MLB season, has been the profound and overwhelming emergence of Kirby Yates. Besides being named one of my most favorite and iconic childhood fictional characters, he has sliced and diced in a Padres uniform that’s quickly on an upswing with an even more loaded prospect class, ranked arguably top of the game. En Route to leading the league in saves with 31/33 saves (arbitrary statistic, but notable stat for a once journeyman pitcher). Number 2 on that list? Brad Hand, predecessor of Yates having his own season, and the primary contender to a Twins division crown. GB 48.8% FB 30.2% LD 16.3% Hard Hit 34.9% Barrel 4.7% So what’s made Yates put the league on notice? Your guess is as good as mine. So, is it a dead red fastball that’s made hitters plainly look foolish? Wrong. Is it a senile breaking crafted from hell? Wrong again. Could it be a fluke season, were he’s benefited from stats that just don’t line up with the subliminal metrics? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Kirby Yates is carving up the big leagues with an arsenal that isn’t going to strike fear into the hearts of hitters. It isn’t a breaking pitch or fastball that’s a conventional bread and butter, either. Nor is it a pitch that is sexy or @pitchingninja gif worthy as pitchers like Chapman and Jansen. It’s the splitter that’s been both tremendously effective and swing and miss worthy, along with a fastball that has held hitters to a sub .200 BA. Both pitches have been especially susceptible to strikeouts, and the surface level statistics match the peripherals as Yates owns the best wOBA and the best xwOBA in the league. So because Kirby Yates is simply legit, what’s the price is the real question. San Diego should request a haul for Yates, but this does come with it’s pros and cons. It was only a season ago when the LA Dodgers traded a large package for the rental of Manny Macado, for 5 other prospects. Only one of which was in MLB top 100, and the 4 others were tried and true depth pieces for a barren Orioles minor league pipeline. When the Padres traded AS Closer Brad Hand and promising sidearmer Adam Cimber, they received one prospect in the now destined preeminent catcher of the future Fransico Mejia. You’ve got to believe the Padres would ask for prospects on the fastrack to the bigs, but the Twins don’t have any high profile prospects knocking on the door. This would lead you to believe that the only feasible option would be overpaying for 1.5 years of Yates, and that wouldn’t be the most sensible transaction. TRADE PROPOSAL; Kirby Yates for Prospects Brusdar Graterol (#2) + Brent Rooker (#8) + Jhoan Duran (#9) TRADE LIKELIHOOD; 65% 3. Will Smith W/L Record; 3-0 2.37 ERA, 26/28 Saves 46.1 innings & 66 strikeouts Controlled Through; End of 2019 Season ( ½ Years of Control) Of the relievers that have been on the spotlight to be sold at the trade deadline, the one reliever I’ve heard the most chatter about is Will Smith. This is ironic, because it might be that the Giants (currently 2.0 GB of the 2nd WC) at no indication would abandon ship. It seems even storybook, in the final season of the Bouchy tenure to make some waves in the postseason picture. The problem with Smith is that he is the only legitimate left-handed closer on the market, that for his benefit is equally as dominant against lefties or righties. I might be the biggest believer of this, but I’ve adamantly believed relievers always have their faults and warts, but accentuating those positive attributes to there fullest is what makes a reliever great. And Will Smith has done just that. GB 46.8% FB 23.4% LD 22.3% Hard Hit 42.6% Barrel 3.2% Will Smith has the stuff to be a truly impact arm in postseason. But what should be noted is that Will Smith’s ceiling isn’t anywhere near the capabilities of Yates or Giles. In a season full of positives, it’s easy to pasteurize the negatives. A career high strikeout rate masks the scent of a career high hard hit rate. A career low walk rate and top 2% expected wOBA, hids the fact that he’s afforded a mildly pedestrian average exit velocity. Will Smith is striking batters at wildly remarkable rates, but when he’s been hit it’s been hard. And lately he’s been hit hard just as well as he has been striking out batters. Will Smith throws his fastball at 93mph on average, and relies heavily on the breaking stuff to offset the straight fastball. Because Will Smith got off to such a great start to begin the season and since has faded a bit, I’ve decided to split his seasons into two parts. From the beginning of the season to the end of May Smith threw 43% fastball paling in comparison to 56.9% of the breaking pitch offerings (changeup-light, slider-heavy, curveball-heavy). That fastball mitigated a .235 BA, and the breaking stuff an even better .100 BA. That was the gameplan, plant the fastball to set up the killshot breaking ball and it showed as the breaking ball consummated 60% of the two strike pitches he’s thrown, and 65% of the 3-2 offerings he’s thrown. That’s a red flag that the breaking stuff owns priority over the fastball. So since we covered the fact that the bread and butter relationship between the breaking stuff and the fastball is symbiotic, and breaking stuff is option #1, why is it that Smith is #3 on this list? One thing that shouldn’t be discounted is the fact that the fastball velocity is fluky. Velocity of pitches is always the measuring stick for the performance bar to how a pitcher can succeed. Average velocity can usually be bridged by the complementary attributes, but when the offspeed is so overwhelming the star to the platter it can become such a predictable serving. I say this because both Yates and Giles profess fastballs that at times can be dominant, and the matter of those pitches and not the deception can bear the results. Not to mention, Smith owns one of baseball's best BABIP, an indicator of what of the defense (or dimensions of the ballpark) might be inhibiting, or perhaps producing in distorting ERA. Smith granted is a beyond stellar reliever, but in my wishlist he just doesn’t cut top priority. TRADE PROPOSAL; Will Smith for Trevor Larnach (#5) + Blane Enlow (#12) TRADE LIKELIHOOD; 49% 4. Ian Kennedy W/L Record; 0-2 3.40 ERA, 19/22 Saves 42.1 innings & 52 strikeouts Controlled Through; End of 2020 Season (1 ½ Years of Control) If you haven’t been tabs on Ian Kennedy lately, you’d probably be quite shocked to know Ian Kennedy hasn’t been pitching as a starter. That’s the main backstory with Kennedy, a solid, reliable mid-rotation starter with flashes of #1 starter and somes flashes of #5 starter. It’s the inverse of the classic Michael Pineda scenario, where the stuff and the peripherals were vastly outperformed by the actual on the field performance, reinforced by a 2 seam/4 seam with a higher than average spin rate. So what’s made a pitcher, once below average and egregiously overpaid a suddenly hot trade deadline candidate? Well for starters, an unleashed fastball brought upon by a conversion from the starters slab into the pen, has enkindled a higher average velocity and better conviction. GB 47.0% FB 25.9% LD 20.% Hard Hit 33.3% Barrel 6.1% The most intriguing and savorful thing about Kennedy is the fact that he’s owed 33 million over the next two years, and for many of us inclined to be a wee bit clingy to the prospects that are the fuel to these midseason trades, could assume rights to control without eviction. It’s pretty simple. Swallow the contract, pay a marked down price and keep the prospect that so dearly are vital to sustained success, every GM’s favorite buzzword. I really do think Kennedy’s promise is substantial and his newfound approach is real. The fastball has always played, and he’s showing the signs necessary of taking the groundbreaking measures of change, given that he’s tinkered with a new cutter, a pitch he’s introduced into his repertoire only a year ago and is throwing at a 15.1% clip. From a pitching analysis point of view, what concerns me is that the knuckle-curve isn’t being optimized. If there was one point of improvement, it’s that in 2 strike counts Kennedy is using his curveball only 23% of the time. It’s a curveball that ranks 15th in baseball with 58 inches of vertical drop, 11% above average. This metric is calibrated to determine pitches thrown at the same speed and release point, and of pitches thrown at that velocity Kennedy’s has the 15th best rate of drop to velocity. Kennedy began the season during the month of April throwing his curveball 24% of the time, but has since dwindled it to around 8% as of recently. Why you might ask? Well hitters are hitting .378 on the pitch, when by Expected Batting Average (xBA) a metric that assigns an expected hitting percentage to when all variable such as positioning, defensive efficiency and luck has hitters hitting just .201 (which is weird given that I thought the royals were going all speed this season). As far as the 2 strike curveballs, and Kennedy isn’t getting any luckier with a .320 BA, when by expected BA assigns it a .130 BA, a .190 point discrepancy. It’s pretty understandable why Kennedy has feared from using the pitch, because the curveball has played some function or role in all 3 of his blown saves and 2 of his worst outings of the season. I’d be very happy, in fact even jubilant with Kennedy being the headline crown jewel for the Twins trade deadline bonanza. I’ve seen plenty on Kennedy not having the chops to be a legitimate closer, but the stuff and the peripherals tell me that the actual performance should at minimum match the underlying metrics. TRADE PROPOSAL; (Swallowing the remainder of the contract) for Kohl Stewart + late-round draft pick TRADE LIKELIHOOD; 95% 5. Felipe Vazquez W/L Record; 2-1 1.87 ERA, 21/22 Saves 43.1 innings & 68 strikeouts Controlled Through; End of 2023 Season (4 ½ Years of Control) It’s hard to not imagine in this day of the 3 true outcomes, when I allude to shutdown closer, you not think of someone blowing triple digit gas. I’m not gonna recollect like everybody else does when they mention 100mph stuff being an endangered thing, but Felipe Vazquez certainly fits the bill as being the shutdown, at times truly invincible closer. GB 47.0% FB 25.9% LD 20.% Hard Hit 33.3% Barrel 6.1% I’m not questioning the stuff. It’s certainly there. But this may be more of a problem with the situation than the actual substance of the transaction. With the NL being the most enticing narration of keeping up with the K’s, it’s hard to speculate what the Pirates could given that the NL is so evenly matched. The con to this is that Vazquez is running on a very affordable deal, that runs through 2023. That makes his baggage season also a part of the price, and given that he’s under control for more season that just perfectly coincides with his peak, makes his deal and the workings to pry him out a challenging, and perhaps future-jeopardizing endeavor with the haul he’ll receive in return. Vazquez is a top-notch closer make no mistake about it. But I’ll pass if the Pirates are asking for the sun, moon and galaxy for only a handful of years of an injury hampered closer with an ascending career hard hit rate. TRADE PROPOSAL; Felipe Vazquez and Michael Feliz for Tyler Duffey + Trevor Larnach (#4) + Jhoan Duran (#8) + Nick Gordon (#11) TRADE LIKELIHOOD; 60% 6. Shane Greene W/L Record; 0-2 1.22 ERA, 22/25 Saves 37.0 innings & 41 strikeouts Controlled Through; End of 2020 Season (1 ½ Years of Control) You can count me with the group of people who didn’t not in the least suspect Shane Greene to be trade bait during the deadline. But here we are, you reading a persuasive article on Shane Greene and I wracking my brain on how to write something juicy enough, for you to somehow want a Shane Greene. Weird world, isn’t it? Shane Greene might be the most shopped reliever, and he certainly should be. Which such an antithesis to the overwhelmingly successful season Shane Greene is having. Shane Greene has improved in every possible way a reliever can transition from good to great. Strikeout a lot of batters (highest rate of his career 28%), don’t give up hard hits, and when you do keep it on the ground (career-high groundball rate). The total package for most relievers………...on first glance. Yes, Shane Greene might be having a career year of substance, but the underlying metrics say this shouldn’t and won’t continue to be as cherry as it is. Shane Greene is pitching by far his best season in the majors. A sub 2 ERA, and a major league 6th best .223 wOBA, the most all-encompassing offensive statistic in baseball. But the peripherals suggest regression, not only to the mean but perhaps even worse. GB 55.3% FB 23.4% LD 13.8% Hard Hit 37.6% Barrel 9.6% Just because Greene is having an absolute wonderstruck ERA, that is undoubtedly influenced by luck, has no indications of carrying over to Target Field. Speaking of fields, Greene is the unknown, or probably well known to Greene himself, beneficiary of pitching at the most pitch friendly by dimensions in baseball. Shane Greene has given up a hard hit rate of 37.6% the highest of career, yet owns the lowest BABIP of his career. Pitch repertoire has no notable change, meaning the results are the only things that must be changing. At some point you’ve got to parse the good with the bad, and the only plus pitch of Greene’s might be the slider. It may be very straight vertically (combatted that with using cutters to lefts, sliders to rights) but the horizontal movements is truly remarkable. That horizontal moving slider is 12th in the league in right to left movement which might be a really good paring to the cutter once refined. One thing that I would love to see Greene tinker with is a cutter that could slice his his sinker usage in half. He’s certainly got a knack for the cutter and slider horizontal movement, (cutter 4th, slider 12th) and his sinker is an outdated pitch that when hit should be hit hard (xSLG .444). So cutter’s better than sinker, so flipping the ratios into 50-50 would be ideal. Even though Shane is benefiting from amazing expected statistics, a metric enumerated by exit velocity and launch angle doesn’t mean those numbers hold any water. Shane Greene plays in a very pitcher friendly ballpark by the dimensions (not lately though) but still very pitcher friendly field. Expected statistics play in a virtual reality, meaning the area/field the expected statistics take place are virtual and the averaged dimensions of every MLB park. So the expected statistics underplay the actual expected statistics, because Comerica’s space between fielders is larger than anyone else's, Greene is worse than even the discrepancy of his wOBA to expected wOBA difference. Shane Greene might be having a good season, but at face value (ignoring the fact he’s a rental) he shouldn’t cost much more than a top 7-10 prospect and nothing more. TRADE PROPOSAL; Shane Greene for Travis Blankenhorn (#24) + Gabriel Maciel (#28) TRADE LIKELIHOOD; 80% 7. Sean Doolittle Yeah, he’s not getting traded. TRADE PROPOSAL; NOPE TRADE LIKELIHOOD; -100% Please follow and direct all inquires at @Sabir_Aden on Twitter. Till my next pen.
  17. The Twins raging inferno, I mean offense, kept their scalding hot pace, with some essential late-inning insurance runs to stomp any chances of a Ranger recovery. The offense wasn’t nearly as prolific as yesterday’s 13 extra-base performance, but a nearly carbon copy script of the second inning of yesterday’s game, spearheaded a series win.Box Score Pineda: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 61.5% strikes (59 of 96 pitches) Bullpen: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 K Home Runs: Gonzalez (10) Multi-Hit Games: Castro (2-for-3, 2B), Polanco (2-for-4) Top 3 WPA: Pineda .220, Rogers .182, Buxton .118 Starting Strong in the 2nd, Nailing the Coffin in the 8th It was in the second inning, when the Twins drew first blood against recently converted starting pitcher Jesse Chavez. It began with a stinging double by our Man on Fire Luis Arraez, followed by a stellar plate appearance by Miguel Sano producing a walk, then a short pop-up to the infield by LaMonte Wade and then a Johnathon Schoop walk that loaded the bases for Jason Castro with nobody out. A sac fly that produced an astoundingly impressive overthrow by Joey Gallo set the stage for our Moment of the Day. It was that two-run single by Byron Buxton that gave the Twins the lead for good. Shaky Bullpen Lately In the top of the seventh, there was a notable comment that deeply resonated with me, and perhaps should resonate more with Tyler Duffey himself. On the FSN broadcast, newly minted booth color commentator Tim Laudner mentioned that Tyler Duffey, “took a page out of the book of Jake Odorizzi”, namely how his fastball has become a strength from a weakness. Well, maybe I have some criticism on how the Twins have been unleashing that animal in Tyler Duffey. It was in the seventh inning that provided the first nervous murmur at Target Field with an announced crowd of 36,969, when left-handed hitting Willy Calhoun torched a hanging slider, the fourth of that sequence to momentarily startle the crowd. Throughout the season we’ve been noticing a trend in how the starting pitchers pitch in the best way to conduce success. In other words, putting yourself in the best position to succeed. How often this season have we seen Jose Berrios, Martin Perez and Jake Oddorizzi vary their breaking ball distributions to gravitate to the results they desire. Now bear with me, this might be hard to understand. But below here is a rolling distribution of Jose Berrios and Martin Perez’s rolling breaking ball usage by K%: Download attachment: Berrios.png Download attachment: Perez.png This might be one of the points of practice that pitching coordinator Wes Johnson and company are hammering home. Ride with what you feel is getting the best results (in this case weak contact and Ks), not what should be your best pitch. This is not to say that Taylor Rogers was beyond straight filth today. I mean my goodness, flawless seven outs turned, five strikeouts and topping out at 97 mph! He truly reminded me of peak Andrew Miller Well, Duffey faltered again, it may be interesting to note this and see if Tyler does rely on his newly improved fastball above the zone in high-leverage situations. It seemed abundantly clear that the Texas hitters were ambushing Duffey in anticipation of fastball usage in two-strike situations. Adding to the Injured List While Micheal Pineda was lights out in arguably his best performance (from a stuff standpoint) at Target Field, he did serve his only cookie of the day when Elvis Andrus belted a shot into the Twins bullpen that barely cleared the wall in right. It was then that LaMonte Wade collided with the wall in right, and dislocated his right thumb, according to this report…. Postgame With Baldelli Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days. Click here to view the article
  18. Box Score Pineda: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 61.5% strikes (59 of 96 pitches) Bullpen: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 K Home Runs: Gonzalez (10) Multi-Hit Games: Castro (2-for-3, 2B), Polanco (2-for-4) Top 3 WPA: Pineda .220, Rogers .182, Buxton .118 Starting Strong in the 2nd, Nailing the Coffin in the 8th It was in the second inning, when the Twins drew first blood against recently converted starting pitcher Jesse Chavez. It began with a stinging double by our Man on Fire Luis Arraez, followed by a stellar plate appearance by Miguel Sano producing a walk, then a short pop-up to the infield by LaMonte Wade and then a Johnathon Schoop walk that loaded the bases for Jason Castro with nobody out. A sac fly that produced an astoundingly impressive overthrow by Joey Gallo set the stage for our Moment of the Day. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1147580729590632448 It was that two-run single by Byron Buxton that gave the Twins the lead for good. Shaky Bullpen Lately In the top of the seventh, there was a notable comment that deeply resonated with me, and perhaps should resonate more with Tyler Duffey himself. On the FSN broadcast, newly minted booth color commentator Tim Laudner mentioned that Tyler Duffey, “took a page out of the book of Jake Odorizzi”, namely how his fastball has become a strength from a weakness. Well, maybe I have some criticism on how the Twins have been unleashing that animal in Tyler Duffey. It was in the seventh inning that provided the first nervous murmur at Target Field with an announced crowd of 36,969, when left-handed hitting Willy Calhoun torched a hanging slider, the fourth of that sequence to momentarily startle the crowd. Throughout the season we’ve been noticing a trend in how the starting pitchers pitch in the best way to conduce success. In other words, putting yourself in the best position to succeed. How often this season have we seen Jose Berrios, Martin Perez and Jake Oddorizzi vary their breaking ball distributions to gravitate to the results they desire. Now bear with me, this might be hard to understand. But below here is a rolling distribution of Jose Berrios and Martin Perez’s rolling breaking ball usage by K%: This might be one of the points of practice that pitching coordinator Wes Johnson and company are hammering home. Ride with what you feel is getting the best results (in this case weak contact and Ks), not what should be your best pitch. This is not to say that Taylor Rogers was beyond straight filth today. I mean my goodness, flawless seven outs turned, five strikeouts and topping out at 97 mph! He truly reminded me of peak Andrew Miller Well, Duffey faltered again, it may be interesting to note this and see if Tyler does rely on his newly improved fastball above the zone in high-leverage situations. It seemed abundantly clear that the Texas hitters were ambushing Duffey in anticipation of fastball usage in two-strike situations. Adding to the Injured List While Micheal Pineda was lights out in arguably his best performance (from a stuff standpoint) at Target Field, he did serve his only cookie of the day when Elvis Andrus belted a shot into the Twins bullpen that barely cleared the wall in right. It was then that LaMonte Wade collided with the wall in right, and dislocated his right thumb, according to this report…. https://twitter.com/dohyoungpark/status/1147625364144963585 Postgame With Baldelli https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1147627402375204865 Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.
  19. It's no secret, the Twins will be seeking bullpen help as the trade deadline approaches. The current group of relievers has helped get the Twins where they are, but let's face it, there is plenty of evidence that suggests upgrades are required, and soon coming. Who may be available? Today we'll dive into the arm of Kansas City's Jake Diekman. Could this lefty help save the bullpen?Jake Diekman, 32-years-old, LHP Kansas City Royals (29-55, fourth in the AL Central) Has a $5.75MM mutual option in 2020 (500K buyout). 2019: 4.76 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 13.5 K/9, 5.3 BB/9 in 34.0 IP 2018: 4.73 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 11.1 K/9, 5.2 BB/9 in 53.1 IP What's to like? Frankly, to traditional, antiquated, bare-minimum statistics Jake Diekman projects as a crummy reliever. But here at Twins Daily, we uncover the stories behind the stories, that are behind those stories, too. And Jake Diekman's story is very intriguing, indeed. Despite what the label "lefty" might engender, Diekman is anything but an everyday soft tosser. Among left-handed relievers, he averages 95.5 mph with a sinking fastball, and ranks third among American League relievers in average fastball velocity. Additionally, Diekman is valuable in containing the long ball. He presently carries a slugging-against percentage of .320 (that's fantastic). He also sports 13.5 K/9. That alone is ticketed for the postseason. It's also worth mentioning that Diekman has SUFFERED against Twins hitting, of which he hopefully is not the last victim. The Twins have hit .364/.440/.682 over 25 PAs against him, which to put in perspective is about the same as Barry Bond's 2004 MVP season but only slightly less power. Two of the three homers Diekman has given up this year have come from the Twins. If you can't beat em, join em? I guess. Concerns Walks. Not only are walks the cardinal sin in the postseason, they are self-inflicted damage and tend to snowball and makes bigger messes out of small messes. Well, the bummer is Diekman fashions a 13.4% walk rate, good for the bottom fifth percentile in the league. In the 15 appearances he's granted a walk, he's been pegged for runs 80% of the time. That's indicative of a bad bullpen in inherited runners scored (something the Twins bullpen aren't much better at in their own right), and a bad escape artist in Diekman. One external factor that might end up being the most contingent factor of a trade could be the Twins' reluctance to making an intra-division deal. Consider it friendly fire, possibly accelerating a Royals rebuild. This is probably not what the Twins want for simply a semi-rental asset. The last time the Twins made a trade with a Central Division foe, was with the Royals in 2015 for a fringe prospect. In return for that prospect, Jason Adam, the Twins shipped to Kansas City the rental Josh Willingham. That was under the Terry Ryan regime. Under the long-term-success oriented team of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, it might not be perceived to be in the Twins' best interest to offer a blue-chip prospect for a flawed reliever. Well then it's pretty much settled. Jake Diekman is a somewhat appealing arm, and would conceivably complement Taylor Rogers pretty well if the walks came down. If the Twins so desperately want to end the revolving door of relievers, then Jake Diekman could be a stellar choice as a secondary reliever in our bullpen. He could also be a lethal left-handed weapon in high leverage spots. See Also Ian Kennedy, RHP, Royals Sergio Romo, RHP, Marlins Shane Greene, RHP, Tigers Felipe Vázquez, LHP, Pirates Will Smith, LHP, Giants Liam Hendriks, RHP, Athletics Ty Buttrey, RHP, Angels Ken Giles, RHP, Blue Jays Sam Dyson, RHP, Giants Brad Hand, LHP, Indians Oliver Perez, LHP Cleveland Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds John Gant, RHP, Cardinals Alex Colome, RHP, White Sox Seth Lugo, RHP, Mets Greg Holland, RHP, Diamondbacks Sean Doolittle, LHP, Nationals Kirby Yates, RHP, Padres 10 Relievers Minnesota Could Target Click here to view the article
  20. Jake Diekman, 32-years-old, LHP Kansas City Royals (29-55, fourth in the AL Central) Has a $5.75MM mutual option in 2020 (500K buyout). 2019: 4.76 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 13.5 K/9, 5.3 BB/9 in 34.0 IP 2018: 4.73 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 11.1 K/9, 5.2 BB/9 in 53.1 IP What's to like? Frankly, to traditional, antiquated, bare-minimum statistics Jake Diekman projects as a crummy reliever. But here at Twins Daily, we uncover the stories behind the stories, that are behind those stories, too. And Jake Diekman's story is very intriguing, indeed. Despite what the label "lefty" might engender, Diekman is anything but an everyday soft tosser. Among left-handed relievers, he averages 95.5 mph with a sinking fastball, and ranks third among American League relievers in average fastball velocity. Additionally, Diekman is valuable in containing the long ball. He presently carries a slugging-against percentage of .320 (that's fantastic). He also sports 13.5 K/9. That alone is ticketed for the postseason. It's also worth mentioning that Diekman has SUFFERED against Twins hitting, of which he hopefully is not the last victim. The Twins have hit .364/.440/.682 over 25 PAs against him, which to put in perspective is about the same as Barry Bond's 2004 MVP season but only slightly less power. Two of the three homers Diekman has given up this year have come from the Twins. If you can't beat em, join em? I guess. Concerns Walks. Not only are walks the cardinal sin in the postseason, they are self-inflicted damage and tend to snowball and makes bigger messes out of small messes. Well, the bummer is Diekman fashions a 13.4% walk rate, good for the bottom fifth percentile in the league. In the 15 appearances he's granted a walk, he's been pegged for runs 80% of the time. That's indicative of a bad bullpen in inherited runners scored (something the Twins bullpen aren't much better at in their own right), and a bad escape artist in Diekman. One external factor that might end up being the most contingent factor of a trade could be the Twins' reluctance to making an intra-division deal. Consider it friendly fire, possibly accelerating a Royals rebuild. This is probably not what the Twins want for simply a semi-rental asset. The last time the Twins made a trade with a Central Division foe, was with the Royals in 2015 for a fringe prospect. In return for that prospect, Jason Adam, the Twins shipped to Kansas City the rental Josh Willingham. That was under the Terry Ryan regime. Under the long-term-success oriented team of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, it might not be perceived to be in the Twins' best interest to offer a blue-chip prospect for a flawed reliever. Well then it's pretty much settled. Jake Diekman is a somewhat appealing arm, and would conceivably complement Taylor Rogers pretty well if the walks came down. If the Twins so desperately want to end the revolving door of relievers, then Jake Diekman could be a stellar choice as a secondary reliever in our bullpen. He could also be a lethal left-handed weapon in high leverage spots. See Also Ian Kennedy, RHP, Royals Sergio Romo, RHP, Marlins Shane Greene, RHP, Tigers Felipe Vázquez, LHP, Pirates Will Smith, LHP, Giants Liam Hendriks, RHP, Athletics Ty Buttrey, RHP, Angels Ken Giles, RHP, Blue Jays Sam Dyson, RHP, Giants Brad Hand, LHP, Indians Oliver Perez, LHP Cleveland Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds John Gant, RHP, Cardinals Alex Colome, RHP, White Sox Seth Lugo, RHP, Mets Greg Holland, RHP, Diamondbacks Sean Doolittle, LHP, Nationals Kirby Yates, RHP, Padres 10 Relievers Minnesota Could Target
  21. (Disclaimer; this article was written during the time the Twins had the lead. In the time they relenquished it, it approximately induced me into a cycle of imminent doom and hate for the Twins Baseball. Also, the comments on the pitching staff were written before a cheese puff decided to disguise himself as Taylor Rodgers) Lately, Jake Odorizzi has been making a legitimate case as new staff ace of the Twins staff. And to be a frank, so has every starter the Twins have thrown out their not named Michael Pineda on the mound. But in all seriousness, Jake has been head and shoulders above the rest in consistency, durability, pitching length, in every start minus the Citi Field and Citizen Park debacles that really could’ve (and should’ve) been called off in the first place. That however shouldn’t dissuade anybody that this Jake Odorizzi isn’t here to stay. Refashioned, maybe. High Octane, umm sure. New, and very much improved. Hell, yeah. The last season version of Jake Odorizzi was the ultimate head scratcher. In an splendid article writer by fellow handyman John Bonnes, he dissects the warts and wallows that doomed the hurler they call ODO to his less than stellar opening Twinkie season. I highly encourage you to give it a descent peek, cause it’s as I said, splendid. The season as of today, has been a pleasure to watch, far above mine and probably your meager expectations. From the power splurge, and tremendous pitching, the Twins are on a nuclear level of destruction, one that isn’t internal, but external on how they’ve creamed everyone in their course. But wait, wait, wait……….. wasn’t I the very person who implored and preached that everyone that everyone take a broader perspective on what the twins really are? Seemingly every season has been a loop of the constant theme of the Twins of what they are; a team taking one step forward and a half-mile back. Well, I’m sorry to inform you, but the Twins are for-real. I received so many inquiries by family and friends, if they should emotionally invest into this club. Even though I’m the last you wanna ask from any gambling standpoint, as evidenced by my arbitrary affinity for the Buffalo Sabres. But, nothing so far has indicated to me that the Twins are teetering, and are bound to falter. So if that compels you to buy season tickets, just letting you know that I’m not liable if they epicly crash and burn just like the Vikings did versus the Bears. On a more positive note though, I’ve gotta give it to the braintrust of Falvey and Levine. They’ve nailed nearly single decision they’ve been tasked to wage, and to resounding success. From the coaching staff and the unconventionality of hiring zero experience candidates, to reclamation projects in Perez and company, and how they’ve masterfully approached minor league development through the entire pipeline. So I think it’s fair to say that I’ll stop ripping them every time Niko Goodrum gets a hit under the Ron Gardenhire regime. But……..we all know the seasons a constantly oscillating corkscrew, full of highs and lows, and the customary fluctuations that define baseball itself. The Twins however have defied the gravity that grapples to aspirerers, of which that plunged the high-flying mariners that looked destined to make a serious bid for launching taters into the space time continuum. But the pessimistic Minnesotan in me says, it could collapse at a moments notice, so it isn’t extraterrestrial to keep a healthy dose of skepticism even if things have been so ever optimal in every challenge that has posed this team. God I’m so desperate. But that's besides how the Twins have completely house cleaned and refurbished a pitching units that once sported literally the least upside since 3M started manufacturing post it notes. Once the achilles heel of the twins, the troubles for any above average pitching was the worst kept secret in baseball, and one documented well over the management of Ron Gardenhire. In every facet of pitching, in the pen and on the starters hill. Velocity, Swinging Strikes, Walks, and the results they bear, have all in some form or another improved. Remember the old pitch to contact mantra that epitomized the starting staff? That’s so far in the Twins rear view mirror, that Kyle Gibson was pushed so far to the brink to eschew that searingly nightmarish era of twins pitching baseball, that he actually began tallying strikeouts. Jake Odorizzi on a specific note, has been nothing short of really damn good. Brandishing a fastball, that will haunt the White Sox batting order for years to come, Jake has been wreaking havoc on the American League. The Twins have taken the league by storm, and plenty of that is owed to how well the Twins have pitched in length, and quality. Add to that repertoire with a already finely tuned splitter from hell, the once fitful pitcher has ascended to a different medium. Pitching has really been a godsend, and much more that just a mere pleasant revelation on how exceedingly stupendous this frontline, backline and in between starting rotation has performed in their proficiency. Remember the rumblings of the bullpen crisis? Overextension has been on the back burner, and much credit is due to the starting staff to keep everyone fresh in the marathon, not race that is the MLB season. Chemistry from coaching staff to roster has been the heart of how the twins have been able to instill such radical changes in approach, sequencing, and on the field conduct. Nevertheless this season has been such a divine omen, that it might be better to just enjoy it, instead of mincing and nitpicking every trivial error and miscalculation (which have been very few and far between), because god knows the next team that borders this will have an electronic strike zone, and retractable foul made of shatterproof glass, and a underground transparent seating area underneath the baseball field and etc and etc and etc…….. So savor this folks, cause the next good team will be playing in a new stadium post-Target Field. Follow me at @Sabir_Aden
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