Monday, October 19, 2009

Lefties are in: Kikuchi, Chapman, Arguelles

Just looking at a bunch video on Kikuchi and one compilation for Chapman.

Kikuchi was sitting at 89-91 throwing between 88.9-92.6. He seemed to be able to dial it up to 93.8 when he needed a strikeout or was throwing a FB up in the zone fishing for a swing. In one game, he was throwing 93.8-95.7, and it did appear to be a start though the velo readings were from the 5th and 9th innings. In one outing as a closer he was 93.8-95. So I think it is safe to say that, Kikuchi already has a major league average FB at 89-91, and has the arm strength to dial it up to 94 when he needs to.

His breaking ball is slurvy, looks like a slider but has the velo of a curveball, and he changes speeds on it, sitting 70-73 and 74-76 respectively. There were a few offerings that I wasn't sure about: a couple in the 85-86 range (sliders, 2-S, CU?) and one at 78 (CB that got away?). It seemed that the videographers mostly were interested in documenting velo and strikeouts, so you get a lot of fastballs and breaking balls, but not a lot of context to determine if that is primarily what he throws.

I saw one report that he threw a 2-seam fastball but haven't seen much on some variation of a changeup. He seems to have good command, and a good approach. He pitches down in the zone very effectively, dials it up and elevates when he needs to, and seems to get a good amount of strikeouts/swings-misses on his breaking ball Anyways, well, what more needs to be said, make this kid a very large offer, right?

UPDATE: One report suggests that the 2-seamer is a cutter. So he throws a slider (2nd pitch), cutter, and curveball. Not much mention of a splitter, change, or forkball so it might indeed take him a couple of years to develop one into an average pitch.
UPDATE 2: Just came across an old post (via NPBT) that claims the kid throws a screwball so maybe he does have a change of pace pitch after all.



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In the Chapman compilation that I saw he was 91-94 sitting 93-94, with what seemed to be a changeup at about 87-88 (only 2 that I counted), and a curveball that was 70-73/76-78. There were a couple of low 80s offerings that couldve been sliders I suppose. I would guess that he 93-95 area code would be where he would sit as a starter, while throwing 95-100 as a reliever, though I saw none of that in the compilation (from WBC 2007).

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I guess if I'm the GM I want to sign both guys, but Kikuchi is the much better value at 4 years/ 10 million vs 5 years 50 million. An even better bargain might be the other Cuban LHP, 19yo Noel Arguelles, who, in the DR showcase this weekend, was 88-91, by some accounts, with 2 decent secondary pitches, though many remain unimpressed with his makeup (err, eating habits). What better way to usher in the new Preller era than with the signing of the 3 best LH pitchers on the market!!



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