Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the Minor League Ball Gameday discussion thread for Thursday, June 22nd, 2017. Let’s get started.
COOL THINGS THAT HAPPENED ON WEDNESDAY
****Minnesota Twins right-hander Jose Berrios had another strong outing, eight innings against the Chicago White Sox with four hits and one walk leading to two runs, fanning eight. He now has a 2.67 ERA, 7-1 record in eight starts with a 53/15 K/BB and just 34 hits allowed.
****Another cool thing that happened yesterday: Minor League Ball community member reillocity posted more of his amazing FaBIO batted-ball data in the comments thread, along with an explanation of what to look for in his numbers. I’m reproducing the explanation here, and will come up with some sort of permanent direct reference post soon.
Here’s his explanation:
The out-generation skills, which amounts to how K ability and batted ball profile combine/coalesce, are the most important thing to watch.
That’s 75% to 80% of pitching based on reverse engineering the system.
K ability is most likely to spike from nowhere in the case of the professionally inexperienced (more so than just young, per se) international free agent from Latin America as they learn and master a new offspeed pitch. Whether there is potential to improve at the K stands to do more with the amount of organized experience a pitcher has logged than their age, and while there are occasional spurts where a prospect’s offspeed usage is restricted to put emphasis on fastball command that generally doesn’t go on for than a couple months at a time.
In the realm of batted ball profile look for the moderate OFFBer (as opposed to the extreme OFFBer, who invariably profiles more as a power reliever than starter and still more so if a RHP) who also gets a healthy dose of IFFB as that’s a sign that they can ride a 4-seamer up well for easy outs; ideally their OFFB contact is also late (they avoid pulled OFFB better than OFFB in general) as that’s the indicator of higher effective fastball velocity and not being overly reliant on tricking batters with a change-of-pace offering; over multiple seasons to larger samples they should at least be average at LD avoidance else there stands to be some negative quality about the overall (esp. horizontal) movement profile on their 4-seamer.
Some of the same applies with GBers, where the IFFB rate should naturally be low but not so low to suggest that there is almost zero horizontal movement on their two-seamer/sinker and the LD avoidance should roughly be in the same percentile as the GB generation else that would be another sign as to a lack of horizontal movement and they’d be more susceptible to LD singles than your more typical GBer; they too should be at least average and hopefully better at avoiding pulls on their rarer OFFB allowed.
For the pitcher who seems neither a GBer/OFFBer, apply similar logic to the assessment and look for absence of flaws in the batted ball profile just as much as for the presence of strengths.
Altogether, look at the K and batted ball profile ratings in concert and assess whether that combo looks solid enough to generate outs against more advanced batters. The poorer the control, the lower the tolerance should be for deficiencies in one or more of those realms.
The better the control, the higher the tolerance should be for deficiencies in one or more of those realms. Likewise in terms of how much organized experience the pitcher has amassed to date, cutting the inexperienced more slack.
In the case of the larger sample of pitchers who don’t appear to have a clear-cut overwhelming strength at present, lean in the direction of the ones who also don’t appear to have obvious weaknesses and still more toward the subgroup of them who don’t have much organized experience and particularly so relative to their present level of competition.
With larger samples of data, in the quest for more robust MLB starting pitcher prospects taking a look at opposite-handed batter versus same-handed batter splits gets to be useful in forecasting future vulnerabilities that could skew them more in the direction of a back-of-rotation starter to relief candidate.
Paying attention to how these sorts of ratings dynamically change over time can also be instructive, as opposed to looking at them solely at a single interval of time. And whenever scouting reports and game video are available or later become available (for the farther off prospect), use that info to connect the dots with the numbers that stand out.