Find Giolito: Means, Duffy, Pivetta, & Mills by Jeff Zimmerman April 6, 2020 Last week I started a series on finding the potential Spring Training breakouts based on increased velocity and a possible new pitch. I planned on going in-depth on a couple of guys but found no game footage for Nick Pivetta, Danny Duffy, and John Means. Instead, I pivoted to Alec Mills. Alec Mills Improvements Fastball velo up 0.8 mph. New two-seam grip. Games watched 2/26/20: 2 IP, Best game to watch. Good camera angle and pitch velos. 3/7/20: 3.2 IP, Horrible camera angle. 3/11/20: 1 IP Notes: The righty comes right at hitters and lives in the strike zone. He can throw everything for strikes except the slider. The sinker has some wicked movement. The report from Spring Training said he was working on a new grip but the pitch looked that same as it did early and late last season. His change has similar movement to his sinker and just eats batters up. A velocity bump won’t make a ton of difference since he’s living in the high-80’s. Four-seamer Sinker (i.e. Whiffle Ball) Change Curve Slider Summary: He’s at least a Kyle Hendricks clone with a sub-90 mph fastball with several above-average non-fastballs. His change is near elite (26% SwStr%, 50% GB%) with the slider and the curve both posting a 15% SwStr%. The key for me is if can dump his four-seamer (7% Swtr%, 33% GB%) for the sinker (5% SwStr%, 62% GB%). The four-seam is too easy to square up especially compared to his sinker. Over his career, batters have posted a .262 vsISO on the four-seamer and just .095 vsISO against the sinker. Here in a list of results (fouls) from his sinker last season. Besides dropping the four-seamer, he needs a starting job. He was fighting with Tyler Chatwood for the last starting rotation spot. Since he’s out of options, he’ll make the team. He’s not getting released but it could be in the bullpen. Hendricks may actually be the downside. In 30 innings as a starter, Mills has a 3.23 ERA, 3.53 xFIP, and an 11.5 K/9. Those stats are close to what Lucas Giolito (3.41 ERA, 11.6 K/9) and Brandon Woodruff (3.62 ERA, 10.6 K/9) posted last season. Everyone wants a sleeper … here they go.