Archive for June, 2013

Daily Notes: A Brief Review of Kyle Gibson’s Debut Start

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. A Brief Review of Kyle Gibson’s Debut Start
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

A Brief Review of Kyle Gibson’s Debut Start
Introduction
As noted in these pages of late, Twins right-handed prospect and 22nd-overall pick in the 2009 draft Kyle Gibson made his major-league debut on Saturday. What follows is a brief review of same.

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Daily Notes: Largely Concerning Two Notable Debuts

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. Two Debuts of Note
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

Two Debuts of Note
The Purpose of This Post
The purpose of this post is mostly to inform the readership that two pitchers are scheduled to make their major-league debuts today (Saturday) — namely, Washington right-hander Taylor Jordan (against the New York Nationals) and Minnesota right-hander Kyle Gibson (home against the Kansas Citiers).

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The Worst of the Best: The Week’s Wildest Swings

Oh, hello! I didn’t see you there. Well, welcome, to the second part of the 12th edition of The Worst Of The Best. Sorry for the mess. Here’s a link to the second part of the 11th edition, from last Friday. Now, many of you will have already read the earlier first part of the 12th edition, chronicling the wildest pitches. As such, you already know the punchline: this week’s wildest swing came on this week’s fifth-wildest pitch. So, there’s no more surprise there, but there is the satisfaction of finally seeing that overlap, as some people have yearned for. What’s next? The wildest swing on the fourth-wildest pitch? On the first-wildest pitch? More than one pitch/swing overlap? Complete, all-five overlap? We know it isn’t impossible; if one can be the same, five can be the same. It might just take forever. I think this would be good terms of a serious jail sentence. “You’re eligible for parole when the five wildest swings come at the five wildest pitches.” It might never happen. It might happen next Friday! Then there’s a murderer on the loose! Jail sentences should be more game-y.

Going to look at the five wildest swings, now, those being the swings at the pitches furthest from the center of the strike zone. Window: Friday, June 21 through Thursday, June 27. Once again, I went in intending to exclude hit-and-run swings, but I didn’t find any. I did exclude a few more check swings, and I hate them. I’ve already psyched myself out regarding how I’m going to write about the wildest swing, since I already did that in the post about the wildest pitches. This is not going to be easy. Maybe I’ll just write something short and stupid. The sooner I’m done, the sooner it’s my weekend! So long, suckers! I’m going to the woods!

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On Matt Garza’s Last Three Starts

The Cubs didn’t have hearty expectations entering the year, but coming on the heels of some nice acquisitions, it wasn’t inconceivable that they would hang around and make some noise in the pennant race. And in a just world, perhaps they would have. They have played better than their record all season, and in fact still carry just a -12 run differential into this weekend’s action. But contention seems far off at this point. The Pirates and Cardinals are tearing it up, and the Reds are drafting off them as they wait to make their move as well. With only one game separating them and the Brewers in last place, you can bet on the Cubs being sellers at the deadline. One of their chief assets will be Matt Garza, who has been fairly fantastic in his last three starts.

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The Worst of the Best: The Week’s Wildest Pitches

Hey there, people who hopefully aren’t the following baseball players, and welcome to the first part of the 12th edition of The Worst Of The Best. From last Friday, here’s the first part of the 11th edition. Meanwhile, here’s a link to all the posts in the series. Some time ago, I was given the advice to write as if the post were being read by the player or players I was writing about. The advice was invaluable, and I always try to keep it in mind, but the posts in this series are apparently my personal exception. It didn’t begin that way but now this series has a voice, and that voice can be mean. With luck, the players have no idea, or they have a sense of humor about themselves that I might have underestimated.

Following will be a top-five list of the week’s wildest pitches, the week spanning June 21 through June 27, and the wildest pitches being the pitches furthest from the center of the strike zone, according to PITCHf/x. Meaning we end up with a lot of breaking balls in the dirt, because I’m stubborn about my methodology. I was born this way. Lots of images are coming, and here are some pitches that just missed the list: Jhoulys Chacin to Ian Desmond on June 22, Jorge de la Rosa to Chris Marrero on June 23, and Jason Marquis to Ben Revere on June 25. Now let’s move on, because I’m excited. We’re encountering a season first. We’re going to see something we haven’t seen before.

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The Remarkable Marco Scutaro

Marco Scutaro made his Major League debut at age-26. It took him two years to get regular playing time, and at age-28, given his first real chance as a big leaguer, he hit .273/.297/.393, good for a 77 wRC+ and an exactly replacement level performance. Undeterred, the A’s stuck with him, and he eventually turned into something pretty close to a league average hitter. From 2005 to 2012 — his age-29 to age-36 seasons — Scutaro posted a 98 wRC+, which isn’t bad at all for a middle infielder. He wasn’t anything special, but through hard work, a no-tools non-prospect turned himself into an average player. That’s a pretty big accomplishment.

But that’s not the amazing thing about Marco Scutaro. Well, not the most amazing thing anyway. The real remarkable story here is how he’s just continuing to get better.

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Breaking Down the Futures Game Hitting Prospects

The rosters for the MLB Futures Game were announced on June 26. The top prospects from the United States will square off against the best young players from around the globe on July 14 during the all-star weekend. It’s difficult to make every fan happy but the roster choices were solid — especially given the restriction preventing an organization from having more than two representatives in the game.

Some of the biggest names that are MIA include Jameson Taillon of the Pirates, Gary Sanchez of the Yankees, Nick Castellanos of the Tigers, Javier Baez and Albert Almora of the Cubs, as well as Carlos Correa and Justin Singleton of the Astros. The biggest surprise additions to the rosters include Chen-Chang Lee of the Indians, Taylor Jordan of the Nationals, Jordan Lennerton of the Tigers, Yeison Asencio of the Padres, and Joey Terdoslavich of the Braves.

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Marc Hulet’s Prospects Chat – 6/28/13

12:21
Marc Hulet: sorry guys, we had some tech issues on this end and apparently you didn’t see my responses… can you please resubmitted your earlier questions…

12:21
Comment From Patrick
Maikel Franco is making quite an impression on Double-A ball. Has his stocked reached Sano’s level, and when does he debut in Philly?

12:22
Marc Hulet: I don’t think he’s reached Sano’s level but he’s quite an impressive prospect and his value is up by a significant amount… I would see him being ready to take over the Phillies’ third base job by mid to late 2014.

12:22
Comment From Mr. Wrestling IV
How about Brad Miller? Can we expect a .350 OBP in the majors?

12:23
Marc Hulet: A .350 OBP might be a little high but he swings a mean stick and the adjustments he’s made have really paid off from an offensive standpoint… It will be interesting to see how Franklin and Miller end up sharing the middle infield from a long-term perspective.

12:23
Comment From Timmy
What do you think of Byron Buxton? Too soon to call him the best player in the minor leagues?

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Pitcher Spotlight: Chris Sale

I’d like to introduce a new feature at FanGraphs: the pitcher spotlight.  While I will continue to try to highlight unique skills or aspects of the sport in other pieces, Major League Baseball is overflowing with quality pitching and interesting prospects worth addressing.  To cover a wider range of pitchers, these posts will be a regular but relatively brief look at a pitcher’s repertoire.

This week’s subject is 24-year-old Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale, who is fresh off a dominating 13 strikeout performance in his last start.  Sale is a deceptive low arm-slot lefty who fully utilizes his quality four pitch mix, which includes a four seam fastball, two seam fastball, slider and changeup.  Here are those offerings in the usual composite graphic with footage stabilized and synchronized to provide a relative look at their movement and velocity.

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Daily Notes: Night of Precisely One-Thousand Rookie Starters

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. Night of Precisely One-Thousand Rookie Starters
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

Night of Precisely One-Thousand Rookie Starters
The Purpose of This Post
The purpose of this post is to alert the readership to how either exactly one-thousand or at least ten rookie pitchers are starting tonight for their respective teams.

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