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Ace In The Making? Wha...?

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    Demi-God... In Training.

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I read a short article over at MLB.com that kind of took me by surprise.  Zach Crizer uses some interesting statistics to determine who has the potential to become a staff ace.  Using his criteria, he came up with these three pitchers: Danny Salazar, RHP for the Indians, Jake Odorizzi, RHP for hte Rays, and.... Ariel Miranda, LHP for the Mariners.
Ok, that was my reaction too, but Crizer's approach is rather unique (not to be confused with "wrong") and he makes a compelling argument for each pitcher.  I won't go into cases for Salazar or Odorizzi because, well, I couldn't care less.  Here's what he has to say about Miranda:
"...A relatively unknown lefty who took a regular rotation role for the Mariners last season, Miranda has a form of Odorizzi's predictability problem, but perhaps a more ready-made solution. Simply put: Miranda throws his fastball -- a decent four-seamer with about average whiff numbers -- for strikes, while seeking chases with his secondary pitches..."
Ok, that kind of sounds like a ton of other pitchers.  In fact, isn't that how just about every pitcher approaches the game?  Throw strikes early, and then get the batter to chase.  Wash, Rinse, Repeat.  
"...Few starters had fastballs make up a greater proportion of in-zone offerings than Miranda. This tendency shows in how hitters approached him, logging a high zone-swing rate near 70 percent and a low chase rate of 23.7 percent..."
Now that is interesting, and I can see his logic.  One thing that we can say about Miranda is that he filled the zone with his fastball to a great degree.  That is great, unless you get predicable about it.  I'll need to delve into arcane stats to get a full handle on this though.  It is one thing to fill the zone, and another to fill it effectively.  I can't recall if he was an edge painter or simply put it down the pipe.
"...Still feeling out the Majors, Miranda might be best-served to give his slider more of a look in his second full season. Though used relatively infrequently, it was often thrown in the zone, where it racked up whiffs on 18.4 percent of the swings against it -- an impressive clip comparable to that of Chris Archer's vaunted slider..."
Hmmm.  I do recall Miranda having a decent slider.  Perhaps there is some value to this.  What say you all?

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My Adopt-A-Players:
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Gianfranco Wawoe


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I thought you were talking about Mike Leake.




Seems the press likes the M's back of the rotation guys. But how often are they correct.

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Señor Octobre

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Miranda too good a hitter to play in AL parks. Palotas Grande! He ate a ton of innings. Stick and stayed without his best stuff!

Edited by Señor Octobre, 07 February 2018 - 06:25 PM.

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Mariner Central Adopt-A-Players: 

Tom Wilhelmsen ~ Minor League deal w/ Padres & Invite to ML ST

Zunino ~ w/ the big club

DJ Peterson ~ w/ the AAA Charlotte Knights of the CHI AL system

 Luis Liberato ~ Modesto Nuts -  68 games at Modesto in 2017: 257 ab, 41 r, 66 h, 11 2b, 5 3b, 8 hr.

Wyatt Mills ~ Everett & Clinton in 2017. 58/4 K/BB (2 IBB) Senior year w/ Zagshttps://cdn.vox-cdn....Gonzaga_1.0.jpg  <p>http://m.milb.com/player/670090

Victor Sanchez ~ RIP
Greg Halman ~ RIP  

Dag Gummit

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Fan Graphs had a mid season article series about pitchers with under thrown pitches a la Miranda's slider.

Once for his slider,
specifically (https://www.fangraph...-and-changeups/):

Mirandas slider induces grounders on 50% of balls-in-play. Thats good enough for 37th out of 118 qualifying sliders. However, its the combination of grounders and pop-ups that really sets it apart from its peers. Earning a weakly hit pop up on 13% of balls-in-play, Mirandas slider ranks 15th in terms of contact management. Sure enough, hitters have managed just a handful of singles and a .097 True Average against the pitch, which ranks third among the leagues sliders in a tie with Corey Klubers. Nice company to keep.

So given this information, you might be forgiven for thinking Mirandas pitch is just a really effective weapon for managing and neutralizing quality contact. The thing is, hes also getting a ton of whiffs with it too. Its 45% swing-and-miss rate ranks 18th in the league despite the fact that it possesses below average velocity and run. This may be a case where the pitchs effectiveness is a function of its paucity and that throwing it more often might diminish the element of surprise. However, its not getting called for strikes very often. Rather, hitters swing frequently and simply miss it so its not abundantly clear that hitters freeze in shock when they see it.

In the final, summarizing article of the series, the author brings up Miranda's slider and change (https://www.fangraph...t-all-together/):

I mentioned Ariel Mirandas slider last week. For an extreme fly-ball pitcher who doesnt miss many bats, a pitch that generates grounders, pop-ups, and whiffs should be an often-pulled arrow from his quiver. This is especially true given the rest of his arsenals mediocrity. Mirandas slider ranks 23rd in whiffs per swing and 3rd in grounders-plus-pop ups per ball-in-play combining to give him the 14th best slider in the game. He should also consider leaning on his changeup a bit more as well as it ranks 35th out of 140 qualified change pieces. Really, Miranda should throw anything that keeps the ball out of Safecos outfield bleachers and both his slider and change do just that.

I'm going to finish with an open letter to Miranda even though he'll likely never see it:

Mr. Miranda,
After your first full year in MLB, many players, coaches, statistical experts and fans have come to see you as a young thrower who needs to learn how to pitch. While you most certainly gave the Mariners team, organization and fans much more than we could have expected last year, we also hope you can grow beyond as a man and player to go beyond the limits you showed.

Everyone around the league knows you like to throw the fastball for strikes. They know you like to throw it so much that is not really a fastball anymore, but more like a FATball. Your first pitch is a FATball. Your 2-0 pitch is a FATball. Your 3-1 pitch is a FATball. You did this much more than any other pitcher in the league and hitters knew exactly what they would get in any count.

Everyone also knows that you don't throw your Slider or Changeup pitches much and only when you are ahead. However, these are very good pitches both when you throw them in the zone and out of the zone. Your Slider had GREAT results when you use it and your Change has very good results.

Many believe that you could be not only a better pitcher with better pitch selection, but maybe even a GREAT pitcher. Some even think you could immediately become an Ace.

A nerdy fan

Edited by Dag Gummit, 11 February 2018 - 10:26 PM.

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Kyle Lewis

The M's 2016 first round pick and the 11th Overall is the system's top prospect and has several accolades to his name.  Even though he is currently out of commission recovering from injury, he still has a whole bunch of potential.

Mike Ford

This Rule 5-acquired first baseman just might be the M's best player at the position.  I'm betting on it!  He's never walked less than he's K'd and he just flashed some serious power in his first taste of AAA.  He just needed a position and there happens to be one available in the Emerald City.



Gone, but not forgotten AAPs:
Nick Franklin

Brad Miller

Roenis Elias

Joe Wieland

'Boog' Powell


So long, fellas.  I hope that all of you do well in your future endeavors.  Perhaps you can tap into the potential seen in the M's system and have success elsewhere in the baseball world.  Just... not against the M's, OK?

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