"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

Monday, May 26, 2008

LOOK OUT FOR: Eulogio de la Cruz

i have a huge hardon for this pitcher, and he's been a favorite of mine for about a year and a half, ever since i noticed his scouting report in baseball america's 2007 prospect handbook (where de la Cruz was ranked 6th in the tigers organization). that report said that de la Cruz featured a heavy mid 90s FB that compared favorably to that of zumaya's and verlander's, while also featuring a knee bending curve. what i came to learn, though was that also featured a GB inducing changeup that is quite effective against LHBs.

the numbers backed that up, as de la Cruz had a GO:AO ratio > 2.5 (average is 1.2) in the florida state league in 2006, and it has settled in around 2.25 in the year+ since.

de la cruz got the second callup of his career this past sunday to pitch the back end of a day night doubleheader, and he pitched about as well as could be expected of a pitcher making his first career start in the majors on just 3 days rest. 3 IP, 2 ER, 1 K, 4 BB, 1 2B.

going forward, this one start should emphasize the importance for de la Cruz to get his fastball under control to the point where he can count on it in a 1-1, or a 2-0 count. that's about the only thing he can take out of this game, because putting him in a position to make that start on 3 days rest was really limited the chance of de la Cruz getting anything approaching a quality start on his record.

i blinked, by the way. i missed that he was called up, and didn't realize he'd made a start until he was sent down today.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

thoughts on drew naylor

this past wednesday, i made the trip to lakewood with the express purpose of watching drew naylor pitch. i was not disappointed. while his fastball only sat in the mid 80s touching 91, his curve was tremendous, and was well worth the trip. he showed the ability to both spot it for a strike, and bury it in the dirt. it is already a major league quality pitch.

naylor's changeup was mostly a show me pitch, but it did show the potential to be a quality major league offering. naylor was able to use it to record the most favorable outcome, as well as to generate missed swings. he was not yet able to consistently locate it in the strike zone, but that's a pretty minor quibble for a low A pitcher.

i could scan and post my charts, but i don't think i want to do that, so i'll just throw out the same information i gave for masterson last august:

total (65/95) 30 batters faced
pitch strikes total percentage
fastball 43 63 68
changeup 12 16 75
curve 10 16 63

vs. LHB (22/33) 10 batters faced
pitch strikes total percentage
fastball 13 22 59
changeup 5 6 83
curve 4 5 80

vs. RHB (43/62) 20 batters faced
pitch strikes total percentage
fastball 30 41 73
changeup 7 10 70
curve 6 11 55

i managed to get some video during the game, but it's not of very high quality, just good enough to make out some basic mechanics, but not good enough to view the track of the ball in flight.

lasting impressions were that if he gains 2 or 3 miles per hour on his fastball in the next few years, and sits easily at 88-92, touching 94, instead of 85-88, touching 91, he'll be a great pitcher. that's not an easy proposition, but give him 2 years to grow, fill out, and stay healthy, pitching in the minors, and it's not that far fetched an expectation.

Friday, May 23, 2008

gavin floyd redux

so i was sitting by the TV, watching the phils-astros game and tracking my fantasy team's performance, when i clicked on the boxscore of the angels-whitesox game in the third inning.

the score was 0-0. gavin floyd was pitching. he had yet to allow a hit. this shouldn't really be a cause for excitement, but i was indeed excited. i was excited because twice this year he has taken no hitters into the 8th and 9th innings, and i maybe jumped a little in my excitement. i went to my local phillies message board, clicked onto the brag/bitch about your fantasy roster thread, and posted my thoughts. "Shhhh. gavin floyd through 3." i soon followed this up, "4. 52 pitches."

the very next inning, he blew up. he allowed a one out homerun, followed that up with a pair of walks seperated by a single, which loaded the bases. how did he respond to this? he beaned the next two batters, forcing in a pair of runs.

but that's not where the story ends. he went on. as i started this post, he had just gotten through the 7th inning, and that would have been enough. 7 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 3 K, 4 BB, 2 HBP, 3 ER. by definition, a quality start.

as i'm finishing this post up, he's in the 9th inning, still only allowing those 3 runs, finishing up the game for himself. he's now through 9 innings: 3 H (1 HR), 3 K, 4 BB, 2 HBP, 3 ER. 115 pitches.

all i can think of right now is thank you, ozzie guillen. i would have been satisfied with that line at 7 innings. i would have been satisfied with that line after 8 innings and 102 pitches. but guillen wasn't. this is the third time that he's pushed floyd way past the point where conventional wisdom would say he's done.

but guillen wasn't satisfied. and now, i'm thanking him for that.

but please, give him a few starts to cool off before extending him like this again.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

quick check in

this interview with josh outman made my eyes twinkle. i love the intelligence that outman shows in it, and i hope that someday soon he is able to revert to his old style of mechanics, but i think that for that to happen, he'll need to lose a year or two to major arm injury.

or maybe he can just introduce himself to scott mathieson.


as for this blog, there should be some new content in the coming days. profiles of adam wainwright, matt belisle, and jair jurrjens should be first on the chopping block.