Quick Looks at Matzek, Odorizzi, Despaigne and Colome

Tyler Matzek

Why I watched: Rookie in Colorado

Game(s) Watched: 9/10/14 vs Mets

Game Thoughts

• The left-hander’s straight fastball was between 88 and 94 mph. It gets an outstanding 50% GB%, but doesn’t have a ton of noticeable downward break.

• He also threw an 83 mph slider which broke in the 10-4 direction. It was a plus pitch when he commanded it. A few times it barely broke, if at all. Hanging breaking balls usually go for home runs. The pitch is a killer on lefties. Overall, he is posted a 2.22 FIP against lefties and 4.35 against righties.

• He threw what got labeled a change and it was at 87 mph and did nothing. He really needs to develop a change to get right-handed hitters out.

• In the game I watched, he threw more sliders (43%) than fastballs (38%). Usually the percentages are so close with the normal ratio near 2 fastballs per 1 slider.

• He pauses twice in his windup delivery which I can see causing some deception. With runners on base, which happens quite often with his high walk rate, he may struggle more than other pitchers.

• He missed badly with so many pitches, he always seemed to be behind. His walk issues have always existed with his 2014 MLB 9% BB% being his best ever at any level.

Final thoughts: Too many deficiencies working against him. He pitches for Colorado. He can’t get righties out. Has command issues. He needs a changeup. I won’t own any of his shares next season.


Jake Odorizzi

Why I watched: Had a ton of K’s in his first full season, but not much else.

Game(s) Watched: 9/16/14 vs the Yankees

Game Thoughts

• He threw a fastball which is between 88 and 93 mph. It is about the only pitch he could throw which gets called strikes (52% Zone%). It was fairly straight and he kept it up in the strike zone. Everything he does works off this pitch (as it should). Compared to all fastballs, not alone one of this slow, he gets an above average amount of swing and misses (8.6%).

• He gets almost no ground balls with the pitch (17%).

• His second best pitch is his 83-87 mph split finger/change. It is a nice looking pitch which drops late for some swings and miss (14.5%, below average for a splitter) or weak contact (45% GB%, also below average). He threw this pitch quite often (25%) and tried to get hitters to swing-and-miss at it.

• He threw a few sliders around 82 mph. These were horrible pitches. They didn’t break. The Yankees just teed up on them.

• The one pitch which looked good was a 71 mph 1 to 7 breaking curveball. He threw it for strikes and it caught the hitters off guard. I think he could use it to get called strikes early in the count or be a chase pitch with two strikes. He uses it only 6% of the time compared to 13% with the slider. This season though, it has performed equal to or worse than the slider.

• Pitchf/x tracks him as throwing seven pitches at times, it is hard to know what he is using. He hangs too many of breaking balls and they were getting punished by the Yankees. I think a simpler approach may do him some good. Maybe drop the curve or slider completely

Final thoughts: I could see myself owning a few shares in 2015, by I am not going to go all out to own him. If he could make a few additional tweaks, his game could really clean up. The one issue he will have to deal with is the home runs generated by the rising fastball. If he doesn’t improve, there will hopefully still be the high strikeout rate.


Odrisamer Despaigne

Why I watched: Got see what is happening with the 27-year-old rookie and his 3.36 ERA.

Game(s) Watched: Sep 19th vs. the Giants

Game Thoughts

• The right handed pitcher threw the kitchen sink at hitters. Pitchf/x classifies his pitches as a cutter, sinker, slider, curve, change and even an eephus. Trying to figure out what he was throwing was nearly impossible. Hitters had to be guessing also.

• For his fastballs, he threw a sinker (89-92 mph) and cutter (87-89 mph). The sinker was a had some nice late break and was his best overall pitch. For the season, it got an above average rate of groundballs and swinging strikes compared to other sinkers. The cutter was not as impressive. It was slower as just seemed to stay up in the zone.

• He also threw a slider, which is about impossible to differentiate from the cutter. It is 2-3 mph slower and breaks just a bit more glove side when compared to his cutter.

• His change was between 77-80 mph with some downward break. Sometimes the break didn’t happen. I wish he had used it more.

• Now on to his two slow pitches. His curve is good. It has 1/7 motion with some nice bite. For the season it get a 15% swinging strike rate and 66% goundballs, both elite for the pitch. Then he throws the eephus. I am horrible at identifying pitches, but it is easy to see it coming. Compared to his curve, no one swung at it. On one of the pitches, he hung it and it got tattooed, but the ball went just foul.

Final thoughts: A lot of good and bad, but basically too many pitches. I would like to see him drop 2 or 3 pitches of the worst pitches and go with the sinker, change and curve (maybe the slider). I think less would be more in this case. Overall, he could be a useful starter in all but the shallowest of leagues. His 52% GB% is good (and could get better) and is strikeout and walk rate are acceptable. Additionally, he gets to throw half his games in San Diego where he had a 1.83 ERA (5.31 on the road).


Alex Colome

Why I watched: Top pitching prospect in the rays system

Game(s) Watched: 9/27/14 vs the Indians

Game Thoughts

• The 25-year-old right hander always throws from the stretch and has a jerky delivery. He doesn’t repeat his delivery and had some control issues because of it.

• His fastball is between 93 and 95 mph with some nice late sink which was not determined by pitch speed. I thought he had a two and four-seamer watching the game. Also at times he got a good amount of glove side run on the fastball. During the season, it got a good amount of swing-and-misses (7.8%), but is flyball prone (only 35% GB%).

• Additionally he has a cutter and change. Both of them, are between 85 and 90 mph. The cutter has about 10 inches of additional glove side run than the change. Otherwise they are same (speed and vertical drop). While I didn’t notice it during the game, both pitches get an over 50% GB%. The extra horizontal movement give the cutter twice the number of swing-and-misses (14% vs 7%).

• He throws a curve which I didn’t see.

• One issue I had with him was the speed range of his pitches. Everything was between 85 and 95 mph. I would be nice to see more of a difference in speed between his pitches.

• The lack of a breaking ball he is comfortable using may eventually cost him a shot at starting. He may struggle in the 2nd and 3rd time through the order. In a small sample from last season his K/BB went from 4.0 to 2.3 to 1.0 for each time through the batting order.

Final thoughts: His motion and pitch reportage scream reliever, but the Rays may not have the luxury to send him to the bullpen. A cleaner delivery would help. It would as be nice for each of his pitches to be a little more unique in speed and motion. I would like to see if he makes any improvements in spring training. As of right now, he is a late round flier for me.

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.

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Belle of the League
Belle of the League

Thanks Jeff! It’s great to get confirmation regarding the pitchers I’ve been watching.
Agree with all of your observations and I didn’t necessarily watch the same games you did, but will add a little something on Odorizzi.
I own him in a keeper league and plan to hold on to him.
I saw the game you referenced in which he sucked more often than not. In the start before that one, he went into the 8th allowing 3 hits, 0 BB, and no runs vs the Jays. In his next start, he again faced the Yankees and allowed 1 run over 6 innings
My take after watching him pitch most of the year: He had really good stuff in a lot of his outings. The problem was/is consistency.
He’s 24 so there’s time for him to figure it out.
If he doesn’t “regress”, he’s still valuable in our league which is best described as Ottoneu lite. We don’t care about W/L. He has a decent WHIP, a K/9>1, and gets a reasonable number of QS’s. That’ll play in our format.