AriBall is the collaborative effort of Ari Kaplan -- California Institute of Technology’s Alumni of the Decade and an MLB consultant for two decades -- and Fred Claire, former General Manager of the LA Dodgers and distinguished member of the Club’s front office for 30 years.
The Free Agent market saw several signings recently, including Joel Pineiro (2 years and $16M with Anaheim), and Vicente Padilla (1-year and $5.025M with the Dodgers). For starting pitchers, the remaining list includes LHP Erik Bedard, Mike Hampton, Noah Lowry, Eric Milton, and Jarrod Washburn. And RHP Paul Byrd, Jose Contreras, Jon Garland, Livan Hernandez, Braden Looper, Pedro Martinez, Tomo Ohka, Ben Sheets, John Smoltz, Brett Tomko, Todd Wellemeyer, and Chien-Ming Wang.
There are large differences in the remaining pitchers. For example, Smoltz leads with 69% first-pitch strikes and Washburn is lowest with 52%. Martinez has a 4.6 K/BB and Wellenmeyer 1.37. Ohka and Martinez have 50% better command of their fastball than Milton and Byrd. Bedard throws curveballs 31% of the time ; Looper and Garland throw sinkers (19%) ; Smoltz, Ohka, and Contreras throw sliders more than 25% of the time.
Below are AriBall's Scoutable reports on Pineiro and Padilla, as well as several of the leading remaining starter free agents (Braden Looper, Ben Sheets, Jon Garland):
Pitches: Throws fastball 90-95mph (73% of all pitches), cutter 88-94 (1%), curveball 63-77 (11%), changeup 78-85 (9%), slider 81-86 (7%). FB is most effective. SL is least effective.
Strengths: Well above avg overall dominance with 3.16 K/BB. Threw pitches inside the strikezone 64% compared to the 59% MLB average.
Habits: Throws CB 3 mph faster from the stretch (72 vs 69). Locates sliders 3" up from the stretch. Rarely attempts consecutive pickoff moves (3% vs 10% avg in 62 attempts). Throws strikes on 0-2 counts, throwing balls out of the zone only 41% of the time (62% is avg). 2-0, 2-1, 2-2, 3-1, 3-2 throws FB. Does not double-up on CB - only 8% of the time (41% is avg). Infrequently throws inside twice in a row. None of his HR allowed are off pitches outside the zone (10% is avg).
Other notes: He mixes up his FB velocity broadly, usually by 4.4 mph. His CB is one of the slowest at 70.1, with a long sweeping break length that varies often. He mixes up his changeup velocity broadly, and it is often flat with little spin.
Pitches: Throws fastball 88-91mph (65% of all pitches), cutter 86-89 (1%), sinker 88-89 (1%), slider 83-87 (12%), changeup 82-87 (11%), curveball 76-80 (10%).
Strengths: Plus command of fastball and slider. Great overall dominance with 3.88 K/BB. Durable, pitched 214 innings. Rarely walks batters - 0.12 walks/IP (0.39 is avg).
Weaknesses: Changeup velocity is not deceptively slower than FB - only 4.2 mph. Not a deceptive CH: 92% of swings make contact.
Habits: Infrequently throws inside twice in a row 19% of the time (29% is avg).Best count to steal off of is 0-2 when he tends to throw balls in the dirt. Changeup release point comes down 2.4" from the stretch.
Pitches:Throws fastball 88-91mph (29% of all pitches), sinker 88-90 (19%), changeup 81-85 (42%), slider 83-86 (8%), curveball 82-88 (0%). FB is most effective. SL is least effective
Strengths:Threw 512 of 827 first pitches for strikes (62%).
Strengths: Great command of slider, changeup, and sinker. Durable, pitched 194 innings.
Weaknesses: Changeup velocity is not deceptively slower than FB - only 5 mph. Not a deceptive sinker: 97% of swings make contact. Has a high ERA of 5.22. Allows many HRs - 39
Habits:3206 total pitches (57% in the strike zone). Fastball and slider release points come down 2-3 inches from the stretch. Gets good spin on his slider (13% above avg). Throws sliders inside and high to lefties.
Pitches:Throws fastball 91-95mph (62% of all pitches), changeup 81-87 (8%), curveball 78-82 (28%)
Strengths: He is successful against righties when he keeps his fastballs and changeups below the knees. Very successful against lefties when he keeps his fastball across the numbers away, and curveball at the knees away. His “expected ERA” is 3.18, well below the 4.6 average. His command of pitches is well above average. He strikes out more and walks less per 9 IP, giving him a 3.4 K/BB (2.1 avg).
Weaknesses: He did not play in 2009 – how did he end 2008? His release points for curveballs come up 6-8 inches above his fastball. At the last month of 2008, his release points came up 6” before ending the season. Over the same time, his velocities of fastball and curveball declined by 5mph.
Pitches: Throws fastball 89-91mph (40% of all pitches), cutter 86-90 (6%), sinker 88-90 (18%), slider 80-88 (17%), changeup 78-84 (16%), curveball 75-78 (4%). CB is most effective. FB is least effective.
Strengths:Threw 66% first pitches for strikes. Threw 378 of 636 first pitches for strikes (59%). Plus command of CH. Durable, pitched 204 innings.
Habits: Throws changeups 2 mph slower from the stretch (80 vs 82). Locates changeups 4" up from the stretch. Likes to make pickoff attempts. Throws CB inside to lefties. Gets little spin on CB (46% below MLB avg.) Throws SL inside to LHH. He mixes up his SL velocity broadly, usually by 7.4 mph. Varies break length of the SL often. Throws sinker inside to RHH. Average command of sinker. Throws cutter high to LHH. Average command of cutter.
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