Game 3 — A.M. Rewind: Sweep!


Highlight reel

The embedding isn’t working this morning, so the link to the highlights is here.


 K-Pax: over his head is good

You ought to read the articles from Gordon Gross and Jeff “Dr. D” Clarke at about how Brad Miller is a “unicorn” — a left-hand hitting shortstop with power and speed.  There has never really been one in baseball history.

Well, James Paxton is something of a unicorn himself.

Understand that there are very few lefties who throw hard in the first place.  David Price and Clayton Kershaw are the exceptions in the world of Strasburg, Verlander, Harvey and the like.

And Jeff has another article on Paxton’s hard cutter, which also makes him a different beast.  So I’m going to focus on his release point.

The hitter is already not used to seeing the high velocity from a lefty, but K-Pax compounds it with a funky, and perhaps singular, angle.  Even though Paxton is six inches shorter than Randy Johnson, you can see how Paxton’s unusual extension and release from the very top of his over-the-head arc actually makes his pitches appear to come in more downhill than 6-10 Johnson.  Here’s an exhibit:

compareAnd hitters aren’t seeing this from anyone else — at least not with mid-90s heat.  Price extends like Paxton, but is more sidearm.  Kershaw is over-the-top, but comes straight down the middle.  He’s also a bit shorter than Paxton.

pricekershOnly Paxton looks like he’s coming from way over near first base and way up near the light poles.

Then he comes in 98.

Then there’s the matter of changing up from the night before.  This is where it gets really fun.

First the very conventional, but unhittable, approach from King Felix.  Then short-stuff Erasmo Ramirez whipsawed them from down below.  And then here comes Paxton from the extreme opposite direction.  I was able to cut-and-paste from the Brooks data as follows:

angels1Starting e-RAM and K-Pax back-to-back against the same team is absolutely something to deploy as often as possible.


That being said, be aware that when his balls-in-play are not being converted into outs Paxton will struggle with going deep into games, because he throws a lot of pitches.  That happened in Tacoma where he had bad fortune with BABIP.  So far in the majors he’s had good fortune, but it won’t always be like that.


Take Hart

There were lots of reports that Corey Hart looked rusty and unprepared in spring training.  He didn’t look rusty with his laser shot in the 9th (1:53 mark on the highlight reel above).

Meanwhile, Stefen Romero had two hits, and Mike Zunino … well don’t forget that Mike Zunino made his name as a hitting catcher.


Joe Beimel had to actually throw pitches to the batter this time.  Darn.

Turns out we lost the bet on Bobby LaFromboise sneaking through waviers, too.  The Padres snagged him.  Darn again.


3-0 and on to Oakland.


One thought on “Game 3 — A.M. Rewind: Sweep!

  1. Super interesting subject this release point and contrast of styles for the other club to adapt to. Nice work Spec!

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