Mariners Squalls 04/08/14 + Minors: Highly Variant Weirdness & Chihuahuas

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== Some off-day analysis and such ==

Logan Davis aka “Thirteen” has an excellent article about Dominic Leone.

If you’re a regular around this space, you already know the taught-himself-cutter-by-watching-YouTube stuff, and you might know the no-one-hits-the-ball-hard-off-him-like-ever-no-really-never part.

But Logan moves the ball a good ways downfield by identifying comparable pitchers from the Pitch f/x data.

He comes up with 10 pitchers with similar fastballs and 10 with similar cutters.

There are some interesting sames on the “fastball” list — such as Kerry Wood and Jeff Samardzija — and generally less interesting ones — except maybe Luke Hochevar — on the “cutter” list.

Unfortunately, Logan doesn’t go the next step to identify guys with both the mid-90s fastball and the low-90s cutter.  When we do that, we find that Hochevar — in his reincarnated reliever version — has both, as does Jason Motte, and that’s about it.

  • Hochevar had a 1.92 ERA and 2.90 xFIP with 10.5 K/9 for Kansas City
  • Motte missed 2013 with Tommy John surgery, but in 2012 had a 2.75 ERA and 2.88 xFIP with 10.8 K/9 for St. Louis

So, yeah that’s a pretty interesting combination of stuff to have.

===

Fangraphs.com, meanwhile, has some analysis by which one can “identify can’t-miss prospects using this one weird trick.”

The “trick” is to identify prospects ranked highly by Baseball America for both hit tool and plate-discipline.

If that sounds sort of like the “composite” that we use on this humble blog to identify hitters who can both produce offense and avoid outs — well, it is.  It’s just a different way to get at the same idea.

The author also mixes in defense ratings to narrow the list a bit more.

It turns out that the “weird trick” does a great job of identifying guys like Buster Posey, Andrew McCutchen, Dustin Pedroia and Jason Heyward.

That doesn’t surprise me.

Actually, the only thing that didn’t make sense is why this approach is “weird.”

===

Analyst Jonah Keri has a new regular column at the “Grantland” site (part of espn.com) called “The 30” — which is a weekly rundown of all 30 teams.

The teams are ranked in groups (at least in this edition):

  • The Elite
  • Flawed Contenders
  • Highly Variant
  • Bottom Feeders

And this week the Cincinnati Reds are a category all their own at No. 15.

The Mariners are No. 16, at the head of the “Highly Variant” category, which is explained as “it may take a few months to figure out these teams.”

In other words, they’re on the cusp of reaching “Flawed Contender” status.  Progress!

===

Daily Prospect-palooza

  • Tacoma was bounced around by the Padres’ new AAA affiliate, the El Paso Chihuahuas.

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  • Most of the damage was inflicted upon Chance Ruffin, including homers given up to longtime MLB vet Jeff Francoeur and two others.  And Brandon Maurer coughed one up to former Mariner catching prospect Adam Moore.
  • Nick Franklin and Jesus Sucre countered with homers for the Rainers, with Franklin adding a single and a walk.
  • AA Jackson shut out Chatanooga behind a strong start for Jordan Pries.  The Stanford alum went 6.0 IP yielding only one hit and no runs, but he only collected one strikeout.
  • Gabriel Guerrero got his second homer of the young season for High-A High Desert.
  • Tyler Olson pitched well for the Mavericks, piling up six strikeouts in just 4.0 IP.  The Gonzaga prospect was picked in the 7th round last year.
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