Better and Better

If you just sat down in the 321 (SSI) section, the Q-and-A is a tip o' the cap to the mid-90s Bill James writing style.  It chunks the information, decreases scan time by a full 52.7%, and increases retention by 4%.  As far as you know, anyway.

The following is a Public Service Announcement from Young Frankenstein LLC.  It's not an infomercial that is going to be taken off-air any time soon.  Ohhh Nooooo!  Change the channel (to Larry LaRue's blog) before it's too late.


Q.  So Shawn Kelley really does have a good changeup?

A.  Thanks to LL for laying out his stats from Changeup Outing Number Two.  This follows the Change Debut Outing, in which he threw no sliders, only FB-Change, and his line was 2 0 0 0 0 4.

In Outing Two, he threw 9 strikes and 1 called ball.  Any time see a guy throwing a pitch for 90% strikes and 0 XBH, it's his best pitch that day, end of story.

He threw it 1-0, 2-0, according to Sully, and there are blamed few ML starters who throw their offspeed stuff 2-0 with any joy attached.

Here you add in:

  • A 30% swinging-strike ratio
  • Kelley's own testimony that it's an excellent pitch,
  • The fact that it's getting "overused" on these two days,
  • The model 8-9 mph separation,
  • yada yada yada, and

... in a mere two outings, Kelley seems to have demonstrated a plus pitch.


Q.  How is it that he didn't throw it last year?

A.  That's not true that he didn't throw it.  Fangraphs says he threw it 1.3% of the time.  During the season, that's a full 9 changeups in 755 pitches.

Visualize this.  You're a college starting pitcher.  (Not high school not park-and-rec -- you were a starting college pitcher as a freshman. )

You've gone out and developed this changeup, used it in games -- it has saved your caboose who knows how many times in live action.  You not only think you can throw it, you know you can throw it, and very well.   (It was good enough for him to get ML hitters out with it, and here he was using it in college and the minors.)

Why in the world would you get to the major leagues and then limit yourself to your 1 and 3 pitches?  Visualize that.

Needless to say, RP's are encouraged to use two pitches.  But look at Mark Lowe:  66-20-13 for his career.   "Use two pitches" doesn't mean don't even show them your third one.


I notice that the 9 changeups have a run value of -3 runs per game.  Apparently he telegraphed two changeups, got them blasted, and said, forget that.

As you might recall, after Kelley's first two games in the bigs, SSI complained that Kelley telegraphed his offspeed stuff.  Maybe that little adventure electroshocked him off the change last year.


Q.  What does this new info do for his career?

A.  Using two pitches, Kelley would have been as good a starting-pitching prospect as, say, the 2nd or 3rd starter taken in the June draft.

A plus straight change, along with his hellacious FB and proven ML slider, makes him a textbook starting pitcher.  Textbook.

D-O-V has sold maybe half-a-dozen calls as absolute mortal locks -- Lincecum, Ichiro, Papelbon and Lester, Paul Abbott when he came up, a couple others.   Shawn Kelley definitely goes in this category.



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