When I first started watching Medlen pitch I thought I was going to kill BJB for requesting him. I love watching good pitching, and just hate watching pitchers succeed due to the ineptitude of the opposing lineup. And watching a pither throw 89-90 without a lot of movement just doesn't excite me. But I started to get surprised when hitters didn't make the contact they should have.
Fastball - Starting it's around 89-90. Relief it's around 92-93. Sometimes there is pronounced tail action. Most often not a lot of movement. I've heard announcers mention late life. That's possible. I see the way he hides the ball making it harder to hit than it should be. He likes to challenge the hitters. And will go up in the zone. I love that. A guy throwing 89 going up in the zone and blowing away hitters. Why can't more pitchers watch him and learn?
Curve - Solid pitch. Has good but not great movement. Good location. Typically locates it very well down in the zone. It's a nice complementary pitch. The reason I would put it a tick below plus is the movement isn't tight enough for my liking. When he throws it in the zone it gets hit. Out of the zone it's fantastic. His location with it is excellent, but the numbers won't show that. He will throw it for a ball a lot because locating in the zone will hurt him. I like the pitch and his use of it. It probably plays up to a plus pitch right now. But if he needs to throw it for strikes more then it will hurt him.
Change - Again a solid pitch. Locates it very well. Not much movement is my complaint. But still a solid pitch. He uses it to RH hitters more than most do. I like that as well.
Being a small pitcher I was expecting to see over-throwing, tiring in later innings, lots of torque, etc. But he really works within his limits. Simple motion, good control. Works low in the zone but not afraid to go up with his fastball. Breaking pitches consistently down. Sometimes works backwards, another plus.
In the pen most of the damage against him was when working consecutive days. For someone that was starting to begin the season that is expected. He has fairly good command. But I see him throwing quite a few wild pitches. They won't appear on the box score, more often it was meant to be a low fastball that becomes head height. I'll write this off as a young pitcher going through growing pains.
I don't see a reason he can't be a solid starter for Atlanta. I think if he loses a couple mph then he will be forced into the pen however.