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 SeattleSportsInsider.com 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.
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:
And 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.
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:
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.
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).
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.