Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"Don't talk to me about baseball, Clark..."

Here is some nice video cut by an LSB poster of the appearances by DGut and Schepp at the AFL future's game.

In that same thread, here is an excerpt from an interview that Jason Cole (Lonestardugout.com) did with Terry Clark, AAA pitching coach. All I can say is what I've been saying all along, police blotters don't lie (and say hello to your newest bullpen prospect):

Cole: How much of a focus with Gutierrez is his changeup right now, as he tries to get that third solid pitch?

Clark: I just talked to him today about making him throw his changeup more in the Fall League to obviously get him to get a feel for it. He’s had such good command on both sides of the plate, his response is, ‘Well, I don’t need it.’ And I’m like, ‘You might not need it now, but you’re going to need it later.’ That’s the big issue—making him throw his changeup at least five to six times to get him to get the feel for it.

For those who think he has what it takes to be a closer, think again. Of the 23 closers with 25 saves or more last year, not one relied on a curveball as his second pitch. I say again, not one. He will need to add a third pitch to succeed as a curveballin' closer, but then, if he was willing to work on a third pitch, we wouldn't be talling about the matter at all, would we? I should add, in passing, Tim Smith's BWC stats: 9g/8gs/29ab/.414/.471/.690/1.161.



  1. rooster here....

    I have two problems with your assertion.

    First, how many closers are there that are only two pitch pitchers? So, it's not unique to having a curveball as a secondary pitch to need also a third pitch. Whether a RP has fastball-change or fastball-slider, a third pitch that can be used 5-10% of the time is almost always, judging by a quick sort of multiple years on fangraphs.

    Second, one year is a pretty small sample. A couple of successful fastball-curveball RP that come to mind are Isringhausen and Danys Baez.

  2. Well, so far, everything about Dgut's career is short sample sized until he pitches a full season (staying healthy and away from the frat parties). And just for the record, the principle reason that DGut doesn't profile as a closer is because his FB isn't a swing and miss pitch...

    As for the Curveball, Basically, I have given you 23 cases from 2009 that don't support the idea that a CB is an effective second pitch for a closer. So, there are ZERO examples to support your claim from this year. If you are thinking historically, this only supports my point. Only four of these closers throw the CB more than 10% of the time and for all 4 it is their third pitch. There are all kinds of obvious reasons why this should be the case.

    The 2 examples that you give don't support your case either. Baez threw the splitter and CB equally when he closed and only threw the CB more when he was not a closer or when he lost effectiveness on his FB (and not at all last year). For Isringhausen, the CB was also his third pitch behind the 4-s and the cutter.

    The evidence suggests that in order to be a closer who throws a CB more than 10% of the time, it will be your third pitch, often supplemented by a cutter as the second predominant offering. At present Dgut doesn't profile as a closer but a "power" middle reliever with a bad attitude, which people seem only too happy to ignore. There are always exceptions, but DGut isn't as special as he seems to think he is.