Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ben Badler on Kiker

He mentioned that Kiker's velo during his 3 inning WBC debut was not good:
First 2 innings 87-89+90; third inning, 85-88. Pretty much what he has been throwing up there all season for those paying attention - fringe average fastball folks (except for the first 3 weeks of the season when he sat90-93). Badler also mentioned that his curveball was 'meh'. If you've been keeping up on my Kiker-Kritiques, all this will come as no surprise.

Omar Poveda's complete game shutout (0ER) to keep Frisco's playoff hopes alive offers up a nice contrast and (not-so) subtly suggests who had the better year in their AA developmental stage. I'll go one step further. Poveda will be a viable candidate for a rotation spot next year out of spring training. However, given the amount of nice candidates with ML experience he doesn't really stand a chance of beating the other 3-4 guys out of the final spot. If this was 2006 or 2007, different story. However, he could see action next year in case of a rash of injuries as he will be ready before Kirkman and Kiker, who, as i've said before, should end up in the TX pen (possibly as soon as next year). It is more likely that he ends up as trade bait in a deadline or winter deal.



  1. Hey Goyo - Two questions for you.

    Who will have the better major league career, Poveda or Moscoso? Why?

    Assuming Millwood, Feldman, Holland, and Hunter are healthy and in the starting rotation to begin 2010, who do you like as the fifth starter assuming the Rangers don't sign a veteran? Assuming you are right, where do the other guys (I assume that the 5th starter will come from McCarthy, Harrison, Feliz, Nippert, and Moscoso) begin the season?

  2. Well, the easy answer is that they both have the same ceiling in my estimation (#3), so discounting the age difference, I think they will be similar, though with different profiles.

    And of course, as with most prospects, being at the right place at the right time is critical. At the moment, I think both might offer TX more value in the end if traded to a team with less rotation depth than we will have next year.

    As you know, we disagree somewhat on the implications of Moscoso's AO rate. Poveda has addressed his elevated AO rate with the increased use/effectiveness of his sinker. However for Moscoso, I don't think he needs to add another pitch with more horizontal movement. Based on the weak contact and missed bats he gets on his FB due to his AA velo, deceptive delivery, and late/sneaky movement his AO rate is qualitatively different than Poveda (or Hurley, Kiker, BMac). Poveda needed to add such a pitch as his FB, though of the same velo profile, is not played up by late movement or deception.

    As an aside, I suspect that Moscoso is at his best as a starter, as he seems to be able to dominate hitters more effectively with his three pitch mix, than with a 2-pitch approach out of the pen, though I think he has done fine there given how infrequently he gets to pitch.

    Also, as another digression, and I'm sure you noticed this too, it is mainly the pitchers with curveballs who are adding sinkers and cutters this season: hunter, poveda, Bmac (added sinker during his rehab), feldman, and I think Kirkman too. I think that not every pitcher benefits from adding a pitch as it is completely dependent upon the nature of his stuff/movement in his repertoire. I think guys like Moscoso, Feliz, Ross, Scheppers, Gomez all can succeed with only 3 pitches while others benefit greatly by adding one (I suspect that Holland would be fine without a curve as well).

    I think these kinds of imagined futures are an important element when considering a pitcher's ceiling: given the nature of the stuff of pitcher A, would adding or replacing a pitch improve his profile, would changing grips on a pitch appreciably improve mvmt/command, etc.. And I think the effective use of both stats and scouting reports can effectively root out those possibilities when it comes to virtual-prospecting.

    Let's see, as for the ML rotation, I've said all along that Feliz will be in the rotation and should pitch about 20-30 more innings in winter ball to get stretched out. How could he not be in the rotation? I also think Harrison has the highest ceiling of anyone who will compete for the 5th spot next year, including Hunter. When he pitches off that fastball in the mid-90s...well, none of those other guys can dominate a game like Harrison can. I predict that he will win that spot and do well.

    And, indeed, he will have to pitch very well in ST to beat out all of the competition to be sure. Along with him, the candidates will be McCarthy, Hunter, and Moscoso, with both Poveda and Nippert as long-shots. I think Nippert stays in the pen with Mathis (who has the same role) getting bumped to AAA.

    I think FranFran, CJ, O'Day, and Strop make up the bullpen core, with the rest of the spots up for grabs. With both O'Day and Strop's effectiveness vs LHP, it might be possible to avoid having a waste-of-space loogy on the staff.

    I think things look really positive in terms of rotation depth at AAA next year with these candidates: Kiker, Kirkman, Poveda, Mathis, Hunter, BMac, Moscoso. Its possible that the last three could all be start the year in the TX pen but I think their value would lie in the depth they provide or the return they might bring back in trade.

    What do you think of Matt Harrison's future as a starter by the way?