Why I watched: One of the 2014 draft picks who is nearly ready to join the big league level club.
Game(s) Watched: 8/30/14 vs Gwinnett Braves
• Tough camera angles and this was from one of the better MiLB cameras.
• The lefty is a big boy (6’3 234)
• Used the angles coming from 1B side with a straight fastball. He should be able to own lefties with this pitch.
• Slider just has the same action as his fastball, but moves down with some glove side run. It is a swing and miss pitch with no ability to throw for it for strikes.
• Rodon had issues with the running game. He was playing with his grip and never looked at the runners several times and they took off on him.
• His change was straight with a small amount of drop at the end.
• Just throws away some pitches leading to high pitch counts.
• Inconsistent with his pitches. Slider nasty to hanging (crushed).
Final thoughts: Inconsistencies are leading to a high walk rate (12% in A+ and 15% in AAA) which will limit his potential right now.
Why I watched: Traded to the Royals from the Marlins
Game(s) Watched: 8/7/14 vs Pirates (his only 2014 MLB start)
• The 26-year-old lefty looks like he belongs in the WWE at 6’7” and 250 lbs. The biggest issue I saw with him was his consistency in delivery, pitches and location. If a person just saw the 3rd inning, they would have a positive outlook on him. He was throwing his curve for strikes and his fastball showed some great late drop. The rest of the game, he was blah at best.
• His delivery was all over the place. He looks like he is throwing down hill with motion, but since his arms are so long, the ball comes across home plate at an angle.
• His fastball sat at 89-92. Most of the time it came in straight, but a few times it showed some sink. In the 3rd inning it looked great. He lives on the 1B part of the plate with it.
• His slider was at 84 mph and loopy. He really didn’t throw it much.
• Also, around 85 mph is where he threw his change. It was straight with a small bit of late drop. I don’t think it shows enough difference between his fastball to be effective.
• His curve was his best pitch. He could throw it for strikes or get hitters to chase it.
• His defense let him down quite a bit during this game.
Final thoughts: I would love to call him a LOOGY, but I don’t think he is dominate enough to get lefties out consistently. The best case is if the Royals can harness the sinker and curve, keep the change and then have a #4 or #5 starter.
Why I watched: Several readers requested him
Game(s) Watched: 9/9/14 vs Astros
• The 26-year-old lefty had good command (ability to throw to glove), especially with his fastball.
• He didn’t come at hitters with any weird angles like other lefties. He pitched pretty much downhill. There was little side-to-side break. If any break existed, it was vertical. With the downhill motion, he is able to get out both left and right-handed hitters (3.65 FIP vs LHH and 4.14 FIP vs RHH).
• His fastball sat between 91-94 mph and was fairly straight. He was able to move this pitch around the zone with ease.
• His change was at 85-86 mph. It was straight with a bit of late drop. He has problems finding the strike zone with it (33% Zone%).
• His 11/5 77-81 mph curve was loopy with some glove side run. He could throw it for strikes. I couldn’t tell exactly what was different in his motion, but I seemed to be able to tell the pitch was coming.
• His three pitches induce an above average groundball rate and his change and curve are above average in swinging strike rate. His issue all season was walks (9.2% BB%, 44% Zone%). He needs to trust his stuff and throw more strikes.
Final thoughts: He as the talent to be an above average pitcher, but he just needs to trust his pitches more and throw them for strikes. I saw the potential of a #2 to #4 starter, but he will skirt being useful with the high walk rate.
Why I watched: Recently traded to Dodgers
Game(s) Watched: 7/11/14 vs Giants
• He threw almost completely over the top. Because of his motion, his pitches only broke in the vertical direction. Straight fastball. A cutter which sunk some and curve which sunk more. The downward nature of his pitches can be seen in his 52% GB%.
• He nibbled around the strike zone at times and could lead to high BB%.
• His fastball was between 88-90 mph. It was straight and he lived down in the zone with it.
• His 12-6 loopy curve was at 78-84 mph and he could throw it for strikes. He threw the curve a lot (33% on the season)
• His cutter was between 87-88 mph and had a decent amount of downward break.
Final thoughts: I expected to find a horrible pitcher and he wasn’t. His 13% K%-BB% is comparable to Lance Lynn and Francisco Liriano. It would be nice for him to throw a pitch which broke horizontally. If he finds regular playing time, he could be a serviceable pitcher in deeper or NL-only leagues.
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.