Wednesday, July 19, 2006
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
Analysis of Two Young Guns
Good morning and welcome to SethSpeaks.net!! I hope that your stay here is enjoyable. If you do enjoy it, please, tell a friend!!! Thanks! OK, that was a little weird. The highlight of today's posting is another in my "Analysis" series as you will see below. Below that, you will find a few Twins Thoughts and then the minor league updates which includes a great pitching performance for Rochester and a hitter in Ft. Myers who is on quite a tear. And finally, I want to encourage everyone to take a few minutes and submit an entry for my contest. Remember, you will be writing my article for tomorrow, so let's make it a good one!!
In the past, I have done analysis on starts of Brad Radke and Johan Santana. My biggest hit-count day came when I did my Analysis of a Phenom, the Mariners Felix Hernandez last August. Earlier this season, I did an analysis comparing Johan Santana and Curt Schilling.
Well, as soon as I saw last night's pitching matchup, the Twins Francisco Liriano versus Scott Kazmir, I knew that I would have to do an "Analysis" feature for it. Two 22 year olds. Two hard-throwing left-handers. Two strikeout pitchers. Two guys who are already All-Stars. And, if we're being honest, both were pitching against teams not known for their offense. It was a game when truly 'special' things could happen.
So, I thought it would be fun to learn a little more about the pitchers. I hope that you enjoy this analysis and, as always, please feel free to e-mail me or leave some Comments at the end!
Francisco Liriano is coming off his first 'bad' outing of the season. On Thursday against Cleveland, he gave up five runs in five innings, including three home runs. He just wasn't himself, or the 'himself' that Twins fans had grown accustomed to. So, the question is can he come back from a poor start and throw well, or will he let a bad start affect him into this game? As we all know, Liriano leads the major leagues in ERA at 2.12.
How the Tampa Bay Devil Rays were able to get Scott Kazmir in mid-2004 for veteran Victor Zambrano is still amazing to me! Kazmir was a top draft pick out of high school and was doing quite well in the minor leagues. He was 19 and already in AA when the trade was made. Soon after the deal, Kazmir was in the Rays starting rotation, and not long after that, he was the team's best pitcher. Coming into the game, Kazmir was 10-6 with a 3.27 ERA. In 115.2 innings, he had 125 strikeouts and 44 walks. He won 10 games in 2005. Like Liriano, Kazmir's stuff is electric and he should, barring injury, be a top pitcher in the league for years to come.
Anyway, what I did, as I have in the past, is tracked, pitch-by-pitch, the performances of both Francisco Liriano and Scott Kazmir. I noted which type of pitch they threw and then jotted down the speed of the pitch given on Fox Sports Net. I realize that the radar gun speed given on the telecast is subject to debate, but it's all I had to work with. So, how did they do it?
Let's start with the high level look their performances:
IP H R ER BB SO
Liriano 8.2 3 1 0 0 7
Kazmir 6.0 7 4 4 1 4
Of the 111 pitches that Liriano threw, 82 of them (73.9%) were strikes. 67% is generally considered very good so Liriano was unbelievable!
Of the 94 pitches that Kazmir threw, 61 of them (64.9%) were strikes, so he was good, but certainly could have been better.
Here is a breakdown of the type of pitch that Liriano threw. We heard that after his previous game, the coaching staff wanted him to throw more fastballs and to be more confident in it. Well, I don't think we see that here:
Fastball - 43 (38.7%)
Slider - 48 (43.2%)
Change Up - 20 (18.0%)
Here is a breakdown of the type of pitch that Kazmir threw. He struggled with his control, so it is likely he threw more fastballs than he normally would because he was behind in the count so often.
Fastball - 57 (60.6%)
Slider - 31 (33.0%)
Change Up - 6 (6.4%)
Here are the number of pitches Liriano threw each inning and the type of pitch:
1st inning - 11 pitches (5 fastball, 2 changeup, 4 sliders)
2nd inning - 8 pitches (3 fastball, 1 changeup, 4 slider)
3rd inning - 8 pitches (3 fastball, 5 slider)
4th inning - 14 pitches (3 fastball, 4 changeup, 7 slider)
5th inning - 17 pitches (6 fastball, 4 changeup, 7 slider)
6th inning - 14 pitches (5 fastball, 2 changeup, 7 slider)
7th inning - 8 pitches (4 fastball, 2 changeup, 2 slider)
8th inning - 11 pitches (5 fastball, 3 changeup, 3 slider)
9th inning - 20 pitches (9 fastball, 2 changeup, 9 slider)
Total - 111 pitches (43 fastball, 20 changeup, 48 slider)
Here are the number of pitches Kazmir threw each inning and the type of pitch:
1st inning - 17 pitches (11 fastball, 6 slider)
2nd inning - 11 pitches (7 fastball, 3 slider, 1 changeup)
3rd inning - 26 pitches (13 fastball, 11 slider, 2 changeup)
4th inning - 16 pitches (10 fastball, 6 slider)
5th inning - 11 pitches (8 fastball, 2 slider, 1 changeup)
6th inning - 13 pitches (8 fastball, 3 slider, 2 changeup)
Total - 94 pitches (57 fastball, 31 slider, 6 changeup)
The consistency of the velocities of Liriano's pitches throughout all nine innings was really impressive. Most impressive may have been that he threw a 97 mph fastball in the top of the 9th inning, his fastest pitch of the game! It didn't surprise me that Kazmir threw hard, but just slightly less hard than does Liriano. Kazmir is amazing, but Liriano is an even better superlative.
Here are the average velocities of Liriano's pitches last night by inning:
Fastball Slider Changeup
1st inning - 93.2 85.5 83.5
2nd inning - 93.7 84.8 83.0
3rd inning - 93.0 86.0
4th inning - 94.3 86.4 82.5
5th inning - 95.0 87.0 82.8
6th inning - 93.4 85.6 82.5
7th inning - 94.8 86.0 83.0
8th inning - 94.8 86.0 83.7
9th inning - 94.9 86.7 83.0
Here are the average velocities of Kazmir's pitches last night by inning:
Fastball Slider Changeup
1st inning - 93.7 85.5
2nd inning - 93.7 85.3 86.0
3rd inning - 93.3 85.6 83.5
4th inning - 93.1 85.3
5th inning - 93.4 85.5 83.0
6th inning - 93.8 84.3 84.0
Just to show how consistently hard Liriano was throwing, here were the speeds of his fastballs:
92 mph - 1
93 mph - 10
94 mph - 15
95 mph - 12
96 mph - 4
97 mph - 1
Did either pitcher alter the pitches he threw each time through the batting order?
Here is what Liriano threw each time through the order (he threw to three people a fourth time):
Time Through Order FB FB% SL SL% CU CU% Total Pitches
1st 11 40.7% 13 48.1% 3 11.1% 27
2nd 12 34.3% 15 42.9% 8 23.5% 35
3rd 14 41.2% 13 38.2% 7 20.6% 34
4th 6 40.0% 7 46.6% 2 13.3% 15
Here is what Kazmir threw each time through the order (he threw to five people the third time):
Time Through Order FB FB% SL SL% CU CU% Total Pitches
1st 22 61.1% 13 36.1% 1 2.7% 36
2nd 20 58.8% 13 38.2% 3 8.8% 34
3rd 15 68.2% 5 22.7% 2 9.1% 22
So what does this show? Well, unlike Johan Santana who throws more changeups as the game goes on, it appears that Liriano is pretty consistent, with no apparent pattern. He just throws a lot of sliders!. Kazmir is really pretty consistent too. Again, it is difficult to tell from this game where he struggled some with his control though.
Here is a quick look at the pitches Liriano threw on each count:
FB SL CU
0-0 12 12 6
0-1 7 7 4
0-2 7 5 1
1-0 3 6 2
1-1 3 3 2
1-2 2 8 2
2-0 2 0 0
2-1 2 3 1
2-2 4 1 2
3-0 0 0 0
3-1 0 1 1
3-2 1 1 2
It is important to note that Liriano did not have a 3-0 count the whole game. He had just two 2-0 counts. When he had 0-2 and 1-2 situation, his pitch of choice was the slider. Of his seven strikeouts, six came on sliders, one on the changeup. Essentially, Liriano will throw any pitch in any count!
Here is a quick look at the pitches Kzzmir threw on each count:
FB SL CU
0-0 16 8 1
0-1 7 2 1
0-2 5 4 0
1-0 6 2 3
1-1 4 2 0
1-2 4 8 1
2-0 5 1 0
2-1 3 0 0
2-2 1 2 0
3-0 3 0 0
3-1 3 1 0
3-2 0 1 0
This is a good look at Kazmir's troubles. He did have several 2-0 and 3-0 counts. Just too many 'hitter's' counts. He also relied heavily on his fastball which is obviously a good one. He also did not have much control of his slider.
Do first pitch strikes matter? I would say that they matter to a pitcher who does not have control or a great fastball. Last night, Liriano threw first pitch strikes to 21 of 30 batters. Of those 30 batters, he started 12 of them off with a fastball, 12 with a slider and two with a changeup. On the other hand, last night, Kazmir threw first pitch strikes to just 12 of 25 batters. Of those 25 batters, he started 16 of them off with a fastball.
I was really excited to watch this game tonight, and I think I watched every pitch, even after Kazmir was taken out of the game. It was fun to see two such talents in the same game. It was fun to see the Twins be patient with Kazmir and make him throw strikes (A by-product of Stewart and Hunter being out of the lineup!?), although I would like to see him pitch when he is 'on' sometime too. This matchup was a TKO for Francisco Liriano. One out from a complete game shutout, and he deserved it. The only run he gave up was unearned. He had just seven strikeouts, but I really don't think more than two balls were even hit hard. It was Liriano at his best.
Do you have any thoughts on the pitching matchup, or anything from the Twins game, please feel free to e-mail me, or leave some Comments down below.
Just a couple more thoughts from the Twins 8-1 win last night:
Congratulations again to Josh Rabe who lined a single to right centerfield in his third at bat for his first big league hit. It came in the bottom of the seventh against Edwin Jackson on a 94 mph on a 2-1 count. I was quite impressed by most of what I saw from Rabe. In each of his at bats, he took several pitches. In his first at bat, he took the first three pitches for balls, then took a called strike before lining out to centerfield. His second at bat came in the 4th inning. He again worked the count to 3-0, took a called strike and then flew out to right field. Then came the single. In the bottom of the 8th, Rabe got another at bat against reliever Travis Harper. He had an eight pitch at bat in which he fouled off a couple of two-strike pitches before swinging and missing a 75 mph curve ball. It will be good to get him out in left field in place of Rondell White!
Speaking of Rondell, I have a couple of varying thoughts on him. First, how do you get doubled off of 1B twice in just a couple of innings? Off the bat, I thought that Rabe's second inning liner was a hit, but it was in the air long enough to know it would be caught. Julio Lugo made a nice leaping catch on a very soft liner. It could have fallen, but the rule is that the line drive has to get through the infield. Really, both of these mistakes are inexcusable for a rookie, and certainly for a guy who has been in the league as long as White has.
White, however, went 2-3 with a walk in the game which is good to see. In his last at bat, Dick Bremer was talking about the other aspects of the game that sometimes are overlooked. I know that it's not a SABR philosophy, but I fully believe that the mental and emotional aspect of a player's game are just as important as the physical in many cases. White has to be down, but a few hits may help him regain the confidence that he needs. He could still be important to the Twins, either as a DH or PH, or in a trade.
This may be scary, but I am starting to question whether I actually don't believe in Nick Punto. So far this year, he has simply been able to get the job done! He's making plays defensively. He's hitting well (.318), he's getting on almost 39% of the time. He's doing well. Is he the answer at 3B? Can they deal Luis Castillo and other veterans to a team for a future 3B and move Punto to 2B? We shall see.
In the first inning, Joe Mauer was picked off of 1B. It looked as though he was trying to time Kazmir's delivery and got caught. My question is: why would you ever run when Justin Morneau is batting at this point? Why? What would the benefit be?
One final note on the game for today... Jorge Cantu is a very good hitter, but seriously, that is one horrible looking mustache!!!
Do you have any thoughts on the Twins, the Devil Rays or anything baseball. Feel free to e-mail me or leave comments below.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Tuesday SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Brandon Roberts, Ft. Myers Miracle
Tuesday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - Mike Smith, Rochester Red Wings
ROCHESTER RED WINGS
Tuesday - RED WINGS 6, Syracuse- Mike Smith gave the team exactly what they needed, a complete game shutout. Smith went all nine innings and gave up only four hits and two walks. He struck out 11. Garrett Jones went 2-3 with a walk and his 13th home run. Go a month without one, then go back to back games? Erubiel Durazo went 2-4. Glenn Williams and Tommy Watkins each had a double and two RBI.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
Tuesday - ROCKCATS 1, Reading 6 - Garrett Guzman went 2-3 but the team had just six hits. Justin Olson started and fell to 6-3. He gave up four runs on six hits and two walks in just three innings. Jay Sawatski went the next three innings and gave up a run. Julio DePaula gave up a run over the final two innings.
FT MYERS MIRACLE
Tuesday - MIRACLE 8, Jupiter 4 - Brandon Roberts is on an amazing run. With a 4-5 last night, he is now 17 for his last 22 which equates to a .773 average! He had a double and stole his 34th base. Justin Arneson went 2-3 with a walk, his second homer and two RBI. Brock Peterson was 1-3 with two walks. Kyle Aselton was on the mound again and he went five innings to record the win. The lefty gave up no runs and just one hit. He walked none and struck out five. Colby Miller went the next three innings without a run. However, he gave up four and recorded just one out in the 9th. JP Martinez came in to get the final two outs.
Tuesday - SNAPPERS 5, West Michigan 4 (11) - Jose Leger singled in Edward Ovalle with the winning run in the 11th. Ovalle went 3-5. Eli Tintor was 2-5 with his 11th double. Paul Kelly and Mark Robinson were each 2-5. Erik Lis hit his 30th double. Adam Hawes gave up three runs in six innings. he gave up seven hits and a walk. David Shinskie gave up a run in two innings. Yohan Pino improves to 8-2 with a 1.53 ERA. He went three no-hit innings. He walked three and struck out four.
Monday - E-TWINS 4, Greeneville 3 – Jose Castillo had a nice start. He gave up two runs on nine hits in six innings. He walked none and struck out six. Dan Leatherman got the win with two innings. He struck out three. Danny Hernandez saved his sixth game despite allowing a run in his inning. Danny Santiesteban is starting to hit! He went 3-4 with his second triple and two RBI. Steven Singleton went 2-3.
GCL TWINS REPORT
Monday - GCL TWINS/GCL Reds – Rained Out.
On that note, I am going to call it a day! I hope you all have a great day! Be sure to submit your contest posting today! As always, please feel free to e-mail me your thoughts on the Twins, the minor leagues, or anything you would like to discuss.|
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