Quick Looks at Gray, Hoffman, and Stripling
I decided to catch one of Vince Scully’s last games and went with Friday’s game. With the game, I was able to collect my thoughts on a few pitchers.
Jon Gray started for the Rockies and this is the first time I have intently watched him since he was in college. He didn’t have his most productive game and it was off from his last start when he went nine innings and had 16 strikeouts. While he was still was able to get 10 K’s in four innings of work, he was completely inconsistent. Here are my thoughts on the game.
- Plus hair.
- FB: 94-98. He cranked it up and did a few times going for the third strike. Has a little release-side run. The pitch is only speed with almost no break.
- SL 89-92 mph, 11-5 break, Damn this pitch is nasty at 90 mph. It has a 24% swinging strike rate on the season.
- CB: 80-81 mph, It has 12-6 break. While he could throw it for strikes, it was inconsistent.
- CH: 84-86mph Petty much straight, but slow. Gets nice results with hitters trying to catch up with his fastball.
- Inconsistent delivery in the 1st inning in which he needed 38 pitches to get through it. His main issue was that he couldn’t control his fastball enough to get it over the plate to the point he walked the pitcher.
He is Tyson Ross-like with a good fastball-slider combo, but he has other pitches and they are useable. Gray’s biggest issue is being able to consistently throw his fastball from pitch-to-pitch and game-to-game to take his game to the next level.
Jeff Hoffman came in for two innings of relief work. All his pitches played up out of the bullpen.
- FB: 95-97 mph, straight
- CH 88-89 mph small late sink
- CB: 78-80 mph, 4 Ks, 12-6
He seemed to pitch (2K, 0 Runs, 2 IP) better than is earlier season results indicate (5.55 ERA, 5.6 K/9, 4.8 BB/9). I don’t want to say how he will do as a starter, but he does seem to at least have a bullpen spot if needed.
Ross Stripling came in for Sandy Kazmir after Kazmir left the game with an injury. Stripling has been fairly average this season and his start showed that blandness.
- FB: 88-93 mph. It was straight and blah He throws it high in the zone
- CB: 77-79 mph, big and loopy
- SL 85-88 mph. Had 1-7 break
- CH: 82-84 mph. Straight and not a lot slower than his fastball.
Acceptable breakers, below average fastball, therefore a below average starter. He is a matchup guy against weak teams … if he is starting.
• Yordano Ventura exited his last start after having back tightness. He lost ~250 rpm off his fastball during the start while his fastball average 95.5 mph instead of his season average of 95.7 mph. While I am just starting to look at how spin relates to injuries, I have noticed when just spin drops, the injury is non-arm related like Ventura’s back in this case. When velocity and spin change, the injury seems to be arm related. I am thinking that a pitcher can compensate for a non-arm injury by speeding up their arm, but if the arm is broken, both values decline. I am worried a bit that I am experiencing some confirmation bias and will likely look into some samples this offseason.
• I saw the following exchange in Keith Law’s chat this week.
Bill: Matt Boyd reportedly changed his arm angle during the middle part of the season and has pitched extremely well since his return, with increased velocity and a higher strikeout rate. Can such an adjustment really have that kind of immediate effect?
Klaw: Yes. Arm angle/slot shifts are dangerous (I think) but the effect can be pretty dramatic for fastball life, breaking ball tilt, or just plain deception.
I hadn’t heard anything about Boyd’s change, but here are the details. I went to
I went to BrooksBaseball.net and found that his arm slot dropped quite a bit for the August 9 game against Seattle. Before the game, he had an 8.1 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 41% GB%, and a 4.77 ERA (with matching ERA estimators). After he dropped his arm slot, he has been at 7.0 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 35% GB%, and 4.22 ERA (with higher ERA estimators). The change happened, but the results are a little mixed with both his strikeout and walk rate dropping. The one item of interest is the drop in groundball rate. When a pitcher gets near the 35% groundball rate, they should start seeing their ERA constantly below their FIP and especially their xFIP and many of their flyballs with being easily caught infield popups. Boyd is never going to be a great pitcher, but the change in arm slot may have made him as a 4.25 ERA pitcher instead of a 4.75 ERA pitcher which may help keep him in the league longer.
• Catchers are generally known for hitting .240 with 15 to 20 home runs. There are a few exceptions to the rule and my favorite preseason exception was J.T. Realmuto. While I didn’t expect the +.300 batting average and won’t next year, he does give his owners the option to pick up some Steals from a position which usually doesn’t supply them (12 SB in ’16). While this season is about over, remember to keep him in mind for 2017 as a nice fallback option at catcher.
Correa, who aggravated a lingering left shoulder injury in the ninth inning of Friday’s loss to the Angels, was in the lineup for Saturday’s game.
He’s been dealing with left shoulder inflammation for a few weeks and playing through pain.
He is just hitting .242/.342/.333 this month, so the shoulder is bothering him quite a bit. Remember going into 2017 that he had the injury, played through it, and give his stats a small boost.
• Taylor Jungmann is back in the majors after struggling earlier in the season because of velocity loss. Well, the velocity hasn’t returned and is heading down.
Well, he was interesting for a couple of months in 2015.
Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.