Why I watched: The 29-year-old is having a great year after posting a career ERA of 5.00 before this season.
Game(s) Watched: 9/20/14 vs. the Padres
• Overall, he is a strike throwing, kitchen sink pitcher. With four pitches he throws over 10%, he keeps hitters off guard.
• His four-seam, rising fastball is worthless. It is between 87-91 mph. It is straight with no movement. A few times I wondered if he threw a 2-seamer, but the Pitchf/x data doesn’t show one. It generates a ton of flyballs in which a few turn into home runs.
• His best pitch is his curveball with great late break. Someone has told him to keep throwing it as his usage has jumped to a career high 25% this season (10th highest amount, min 100 IP). Hitters swing-and-miss on the pitch 28% of the time it is thrown.
• His change comes on the same plane as his fastball, but just at 8-10 mph slower. It has no downward action.
• Also, he as a 85 mph cutter/slider. It’s not a good pitch (little break/movement). He can throw it for strikes though and it offers another element for hitters to look out for.
Final thoughts: Petit strategy seems to throw strikes and hope he gets two strikes on the hitter. Once at two strikes, throw the curve for the punch out. With the high number of strikes, he isn’t walking anyone. Right now, he seems to be able to work with that formula. My one worry is his heavy flyball nature (36% GB%, lower 25 percentile) will lead to home runs. I like him as a late round option next season.
Why I watched: A rookie putting up some good numbes.
Game(s) Watched: 9/20/14 vs Twins
• House has a nice fu manchu.
• The left-hander throws from a low ¾ release point (almost side arm) and lefties should have a problem hitting him. This season his FIP vs LHH is 2.82 and 3.92 vs RHH. Right-handed hitter won’t exactly tee off on him, it is just lefties will struggle mightily.
• His pitches all operated in a horizontal direction starting with his 87-93 mph fastball. Because of his low release point, it comes across the plate sideways.
• Additionally, he threw a change and slider. It is tough to differentiate these pitches from each other. They both come in at 81-84 mph, but the slider breaks more across the plate.
• He threw a 74 curve a couple of times. It looked like a decent pitch.
• He is getting a huge number of groundballs (61%, good for 2nd in the league, min 80 IP). His mechanics and pitches don’t seem to lead to such a high GB%.
• His fastball is the source of the high groundball rate since it sits at 65% for the season. All of his other pitches all have at least a 50% GB%.
Final thoughts: Great sleeper for next season. Hopefully, he can stay off some radars. His strikeout, walk and groundball numbers are inline with Sonny Gray and Alex Cobb. I am a little worried he may be a gimmick pitcher and teams will adjust to him. I am just not sure what that adjustment will be. More solid contact?
Why I watched: A 2.32 ERA and first start after a shoulder issue.
Game(s) Watched: 9/22/14 vs Indians
• He allowed no runs over 6 IP, but really struggled. He switched from the windup to the stretch between 1st and 2nd inning. A huge strike zone helped him, and all pitchers out (as seen by the 2-0 score). He lost control of several pitches. Don’t think he is back by just looking at the resutls.
• He pitched up in the zone all the time. This leads a high number of flyballs (12th lowest GB%, min 100 IP).
• His straight fastball was between 93-96 mph. Nothing special here except it gets a ton of flyballs.
• His 75-80 curve is his best looking pitch, but he had problems commanding it at time. He hung one which Yan Gomes about went yard with. It was not consistent with huge differences in downward break.
• His third and final pitch is a change. Same horizontal and vertical plain as his fastball, just 8 mph slower. Players are squaring up on it for a 34% LD%. There is not enough distinctive difference between his pitches for it to be useful.
Final thoughts: Duffy was a mess. It will be interesting to see how he throws in his next start. I just didn’t like what I saw.
Why I watched: He’s a rookie.
Game(s) Watched: 9/24/14 vs Brewers
• It was a tight zone being called on him.
• He blew up in the 5th inning with three walks and two wild pitches
• His fastball is between 88 mph and 93 mph. It is straight as an arrow. It would be considered rising in nature and has gotten a real IFFB rate around 18% (IFFB%*FB%). He needs to locate the pitch for it to work and does at times.
His 78-82 mph slider got a good amount of swing and miss (16.5% SwStr%), but has loopy 12 to 6 break. It is his best looking pitch and it shows since he uses it over 30% of the time.
• Additionally he has a 85 mph change. This is not a good pitch at all. It is only 5 mph slower than his fastball. It is straight like his fastball.
• The lack of any distinctiveness between his non-sliders leads to him having only two pitches. I straight ball thrown between 80 and 93 mph and the slider.
Final thoughts: He is just not a good pitcher. His secondary stuff is not good enough to make up for a below average fastball. Unless he develops his change into something distinctive, I see his future in the bullpen as a long reliever with some spot starts.
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.