"Pitching has got to be the foundation in the organization. Everybody wants a good pitcher. The more pitchers we have, the stronger our organization will be."
- Dayton Moore, Kansas City Royals General Manager

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

2008 Pittsburgh Pirates Organizational Depth Report

1. tom gorzelanny, LHSP
2. matt capps, RHRP
3. brad lincoln, RHSP - may 2009
4. zach duke, LHSP
5. jared hughes, RHRP - august 2009
6. daniel moskos, LHSP - september 2010
7. michael crotta, RHRP - september 2009
8. brian rogers, RHRP
9. olivo astacio, RHRP - july 2009
10.todd redmond, RHRP - september 2008

i like both crotta and hughes, as they are big bodies with strong GB tendencies, but i'm not ready to throw my weight behind either. hughes gets the nod over crotta, as he's been on my radar for a longer time, but both are remarkably similar. another wide load on the pirates depth chart is olivo astacio, but he gets downgraded due to his FB tendencies.

i don't much like what i've seen of moskos. mechanically, he has a short stride, and he stops short on his follow through. looking back at the baseballthinkfactory archives, it appears as though chadbradfordwannabe agrees with me, and one ups me with the statement "The problem is that his lower body action and slowish momentum (tempo) don't really help him to throw hard, so he's more of an "arm-thrower." Couple that with an abrupt-ish finish and it makes me question how long he'll last."

brad lincoln is yet another big body with strong GB tendencies. looking at his 2006 draft video, he was very aggressive with his lower body, and had good arm action, though his follow through stops kind of abruptly, which could become an issue, as he's already had major arm surgery, which caused him to miss all of 2007.

Spotlight: Zach Duke

his fastball is mediocre, his changeup is OK, his curve is a typical koufax derived lazy breaking ball. his K rate has nosedived since his ML debut, going from good (6.2 per 9IP in 2005) to acceptable (4.9 per 9IP in 2006) to look out below (3.4 per 9IP in 2007). as if that's not bad enough, he missed a significant portion of 2007 with elbow soreness.

so how do you look at this if you're neil huntington? well, the first thing would be to go back to 2005 and 2006 to see what duke did right.

there's something called secondary average which is used to evaluate everything a position player does after a single. this is not usually a statistic used for evaluating pitchers, but in duke's case, it is especially important to understanding how he was successful. duke survived in the major leagues by limiting walks, limiting HRs, inducing GB double plays, and really focusing on preventing stolen bases.

in 2007, though, he limited walks, he induced GB double plays, he allowed only 5 SBs, and was actually responsible for as many CS. but, he allowed a shitload of singles, a shitload of doubles, and a shitload of homeruns. the things he did well, didn't matter, because who needs a walk when duke is averaging 1 and a half hits allowed per inning. and what do you need to steal bases for when an average right handed hitter against zach duke is OPSing .953.

the way duke pitches, he is on the razor's edge, walking a fine line between spreading out hits while stranding baserunners, such as 2005, versus a plain old saturation bombing, such as 2007. last year, duke got cut. it's likely that his elbow injury played into that, sapping his fastball of velocity and movement, but if he can't regain the repertoire he had in 2006, he's going to have to focus doubly on keeping the ball down in the zone, and limiting the chances hitters have to drive his pitches, likely meaning that he would have to be more judicious with his walks, sacrificing allowing more baserunners for giving up fewer extra base hits.

No comments: