Quick Looks: Butler, Gibson and Lyles by Jeff Zimmerman February 13, 2015 Note: I usually try to pick the most recent game the player pitched. Sometimes the MLB video has issues and other games are picked. Also, if a say a pitch moves 11-5, it is from the pitcher’s perspective. Jordan Lyles Why I watched: Young projected starter Game(s) Watched: 9/26/14 vs Dodgers Game Thoughts • All of his pitches were generally down leading to his 52% GB% which will keep his infield defense alert. In his final inning of work, he got groundball BABIP’ed to death. He could of had worse results, but the Dodgers made a couple of early outs on the bases. • He threw two fastballs, one is labeled by Pitchf/x as a two-seamer and the other as a four-seamer. The two-seamer was at 90-91 mph with some sink and generates groundball 57% of the time. It is his bread and butter. The four-seamer was between 91-93 mph which is mainly straight with some release side break. It kind of had some cutter action. He uses the four-seamer mostly to get called strikes when behind in the count. • He threw a 87-88 mph slider. This pitch broke from straight down to straight glove side. He threw this pitches in different directions to Justin Turner in back-to-back pitches. I didn’t like the pitch at all for him. It was inconsistent and just didn’t have a nice break. The pitch performed decently during the season with a 53% GB% and 13.7% SwStr%. • His change was at 80 mph with a loopy 12-6 motion when he had control of it. He had no control of this pitch as seen by a 23% Zone% on the season. • His curve was at 82-83 mph and he could throw it for strikes. It generates groundballs, but no swinging strikes (6%). • He seems to be doing too much. Five pitches and each seem to break inconsistently. • Another issue I see is his pitches only vary by about 12 mph at the extremes. There is just not enough differences between them in speed. • With all his pitches breaking down, he gets a ton of called balls and has a 3.3 BB/9 which is way too high for a pitcher with a 6.4 K/9. Final thoughts: He is young enough to still put everything together, but it will be tough to so in Colorado. I would like to see his Zone% go up and hopefully the walks will go down and strikeouts up. Kyle Gibson Why I watched: Young projected starter Game(s) Watched: 9/28/14 vs Tigers Game Thoughts • His two-seamer was at 91-92 mph with some release side break to go along with some sink. This is his top pitch. • He threw a 92-95 straight four-seam fastball. This pitch is horrible and is only used to get called strikes. It only has a 2.8 SwStr%. • He threw a slider from 85-87 mph with the look of a hard 12-6 curve. This pitch was inconsistent and couple of them got crushed. • His change was from 83-85 mph with some late sink • Finally, he also threw a loopy 81-82 curve. • He didn’t seem to be nibbling, his pitches just weren’t near the strike zone. I would like to see him drop the four-seamer, but he needs it right now for called strikes. Final thoughts: He needs to find the strike zone more. He increased his Zone% a bit from 2013 t0 2014 (41.9% to 43.6%) and saw his K% increase (12.2% to 14.1%) and BB% drop (8.4% to 7.5%). He just needs to trust his stuff a little more. Eddie Butler Why I watched: Decent prospect makes it to the majors. Game(s) Watched: 9/29/14 Game Thoughts • I like to listen to Vince Scully so I picked this game. I did have to deal with bad camera angle though. • Pitchf/x and Scully have a tough time identifying his pitches. • Butler threw two fastballs. One is a nice sinker at 90-93 mph with just a touch of late break. It is a plus pitch and helps generate his 52% GB%. He throws a 4-seamer which is 1-2 mph faster with some release side run. I would love to give some metrics on these pitches, but are his pitches according to Pitchf/x grouped by vertical and horizontal break. • That right there is a convoluted mess. All the pitches are mixed up, so the metrics would be worthless. • He also threw at 86-88 mph slider with some nice glove side and downward break. • Finally, he had a 86-88 mph change which had some nice late break. With the speed so close to his fastball speed, he wasn’t an effective pitch • Most of his pitches broke down so he will likely be able to keep the high groundball rate. • One item which really got to me is the lack of speed ranges from his pitches. He fastball averaged 93, slider at 87 and 86 for the change. Without a huge difference, he doesn’t get a bunch of misses. While moving from A+ to the Majors, his K% stayed under 7%. Final thoughts: I am not sure what the all the fuss is about. He may have been dealing with injuries, but nothing was impressive except for the sinker. I think his change and sinker are decent looking on their own, but the lack of speed difference makes them less effective.