TinCaps season in review (pitching)

Like most times, when I promise something, I’ll deliver. This time, it’s about two months late, but hey… it’s not like you’re paying to read this.

A few things to keep in mind:

  1. I’m not a scout and I don’t claim to be one. But I did see 143 games from this team. And, to quote a one-time MLB manager when I deferred to him on a player evaluation, “Your eyes are as good as everyone else’s.”
  2. Some guys are in here, some aren’t. It could be because they weren’t here long enough to form a good opinion, injuries were part of the deal, I don’t think it’s right burying somebody or none of the above. If you have a question, ask in the comments.
  3. As any worthwhile MiLB review goes, this is player-oriented, not team-oriented.
  4. I’ll try to mention it when talking about individual players, but just because a player didn’t have a great year doesn’t mean he isn’t a good player. Scouts usually grade players on “present” and “future” ability. Potential is a huge part of this level of the game. College players usually aren’t considered to have as much untapped potential as high school or international players.

And now, your 20-o-10 TinCaps pitching review!

RHP Dexter Carter: The guy was leading the SAL in strikeouts when he came over in the Jake Peavy trade, but he’s had a rough, rough time in the Padres’ system. Started the year in Fort Wayne, had command problems, got sent back to extended spring training, went to Eugene, cleaned up the command problems (never walked more than three in a single outing). Put it this way: Imagine you’ve had success in your job. Then one day, you can’t do it the way you used to. You have to completely re-learn a different way of doing something you used to be able to do incredibly well. Mentally and physically, it’s going to be tough.

LHP Jose De Paula: Woah. Stayed behind in spring training as he returned from a stress fracture in his elbow, got here in late May and took off. There were stretches where he may have been the best starting pitcher on the team. You know, like when he went seven hitless innings against Dayton on June 17. May have run out of gas toward the end of the year, despite a low innings cap. Good enough fastball, nice breaking ball (especially coming off an elbow injury), changeup was solid. As long as he’s healthy next year, it could be a breakout season.

RHP Matt Lollis: Jumped off the page when he got here. First off, he’s enormous (6-foot-9, 275 pounds might be selling him sort). Workhorse body. It’s easy to pigeonhole a guy like him into the “big, dumb animal” category. That’s not him at all. He throws hard (90-94 mph on the fastball), throws two breaking balls (slider more often than the curve) and a changeup, AND LOCATES(!). Maybe the best part about him is, he gets it. He has big-guy stuff but still thinks the game. The first time we talked this year he said he felt himself getting out of his mechanics and adjusted on the fly. THE GUY JUST TURNED TWENTY YEARS OLD! He got a full season’s worth of innings between extended spring, Eugene, Fort Wayne and a playoff start with Lake Elsinore, so the Padres could push him. But I’m not sure there’s a huge reason to do so. Also, he can hit. Slapped a double in a game, put on laser shows during pitchers’ batting practice. What I’m trying to say here is, Matt Lollis: he’s good.

RHP Miles Mikolas: Downloaded the wallpaper, grew a mustache in his honor… I’m on board. Young for a college guy (turned 22 in August), was really reliable out of the bullpen as a setup guy then as a closer, fastball in the low- to mid-90s, good breaking ball. Give him the ball and watch him go. Also tells a good fishing story and was the first player I’ve ever been around who asked to be interviewed for the pre-game show. The sure way to a radio guy’s heart.

RHP Nick Schumacher: Set our franchise record for ERA for a reliever last year. Started this season with Lake Elsinore, struggled and came back here, went back to Elsinore late in the year. I really don’t know what happens to him when he gets to the California League, because he’s lights out in the MWL. Pitchers, catchers, coaches, scouts… they all talked about how nasty his cut fastball was. He was hitting 93-94 with the fastball at times when he was here. He’s 25, so he’s got to make it happen soon, but he’s shown flashes of really good stuff.

LHP Josh Spence: Threw about 95 percent off-speed stuff, which was fun to watch when he was getting guys out. The fastball was 87-88 when he finally threw one, but I’m not sure that’ll work at higher levels (or even older teams in this league; I’m looking at you, Great Lakes). I have to believe there’s more giddyup in the fastball when his arm is right (nerve problem in his elbow wiped out his college season at Arizona State). If he even gets the fastball to 90 mph and throws it a little more, he’ll be fine.

RHP Jerry Sullivan: Was with us all year. Young (22) for a college guy, third-rounder out of a smaller school (Oral Roberts), had Tommy John surgery in high school. The poster boy for numbers not telling the whole story. Stuff is good (mid-90s fastball, really good slider, decent changeup), good competitor, puts his work in. But for whatever reason, the defense behind him was almost always horrible. Plus, for about two months of the season he had no chance to get a win because his innings limit was below five. He’s good.

LHP Mike Watt: He was a young 18 when the Dodgers drafted him in the second round (2007) and they just about threw him until his arm fell off (Nine-inning complete game in rookie ball? Really?), so it feels like he’s old, but he’s not. He pitched the entire season at 21 and seemed like he ran out of gas late. But he said he was throwing harder than he had in two years (91-93 topping out), which set up his off-speed stuff which was pretty good (big slow curve, good changeup). Don’t write him off.

Random thoughts

  • Did the Giants really score 11 runs last night? I wasn’t sure they’d score 11 runs the entire World Series. Also, for the record, Juan Uribe hit a home run, but he still has the worst swing of any position player in Major League Baseball.
  • Matt Cain really hasn’t allowed any runs the entire postseason? Woah.
  • Barry Bonds wants to be a hitting coach. Yikes.
  • I love this article about the LeBron/Cavs thing. And this one. You know what the main difference between LeBron and Jordan is, to me? LeBron was always the golden child on the basketball court. He never got cut from anything, was always told he was the greatest. He never had to deal with real, honest-to-God adversity on the basketball court. Didn’t win the state title in high school? No big deal, you’re going pro soon. Didn’t win the title in Cleveland? Don’t worry, those guys were bums, you’re better than this, let’s go to Miami. Jordan has the famous story of being cut from his high school team. Of course, he ended up at North Carolina where he was a star, but Jordan was a killer first, a businessman second. LeBron seems like he’s got it the other way around. And that’s fine if the goal is to get really rich without having a reputation as a championship lead dog. They just seem like they’re wired differently. But… as Albert Einstein once said, haters gonna hate.
  • Volleyball grudge match tonight between the two TinCaps teams. My prediction? Pain. Although I think Tony DesPlaines has endured enough pain during volleyball games lately. Hint: When you get hit in the face by a spike, it’s called a six pack. Not long ago, Tony got (unintentionally) two-packed by Brian Schackow.

Next time: Brent and Dan’s Excellent (shopping) Adventure and 20-o-10 hitters season review.

And now, musical guest… Scott McKenzie!

Take care!

DW

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