Michael Pineda and Curt Schilling (1)

Sitting down to see whassup on the 'net this morning, it suddenly dawned that we'd put a garbage swing on the most obvious Pineda antitype.

The Big Train is the Proto prototype for a fastball-command pitcher, but we don't have to go back that far.  :- )

Curt Schilling is the recent pitcher, in the modern game, who was

  1. A big righthander
  2. 94-97 mph early in his career
  3. Excellent command, very clean down the driveline
  4. Didn't bother much with other pitches before age 30-32
  5. Early K/BB/HR similar to what Pineda will probably run ... 7.0 / 2.5 / 0.7

It's funny that this slipped our minds, since Pineda-and-Soriano were the closest we'd come... and Silentpadna spent a fair amount of time comparing Schilling and Soriano back when Soriano was first coming up.


=== Schilling 1990-94 ===

When Schilling first came up, he had a fastball that touched 98 mph, as Pineda's does, and Schilling rarely threw anything else.  Even later in his career he would be asked, why so many fastballs?, and would reply, "When you have a 95 mph fastball, why throw anything else?"

A typical year from this period was 1992, age 25.  Schilling ran an amazing 2.35 ERA for the Phillies, in 226 innings ... but struck out only 5.8 men per game.

That will happen when a young pitcher with a great fastball uses it that much -- without a feel for pitching.  Justin Verlander fanned only 6.0 men per game as a rookie. 

Bartolo Colon threw harder than anybody in the game, but fanned "only" 7.0 men in his first few years ...and only 5.6 in his prime.  Colon's a perfect example of what happens when a pitcher has a great fastball and uses it when they know it's coming.   Lower K's than you'd expect, but very, very consistent 120-140 ERA's.


=== Schilling 1995-1997 ===

By age 28, Schilling had completely mastered the art of moving the ball around the strike zone.   Check out this outstanding chart on Schilling's pitch location.  He could throw the four Doogie pitches absolutely at will:

  • Outside black, up-and-down, maybe a bit outside 
  • Jam pitch (inside black, hand-high)
  • Up the ladder ("exploding" four-seamer)
  • Tease pitch anywhere 6 inches outside the zone

For several years, Schilling just hit these four areas with a 94 fastball, and starred doing it.


What separated Curt Schilling from a hundred other guys with great fastballs, was that Schilling could hit the mitt with it.  That's rare.  There are any number of Brandon Morrows in the game.  Few of them have four different fastballs (by location).

You start talking about Doug Fister needing other pitches?, you've got to remember that if a fastball is truly consistent in its location, then a jam pitch and a ladder pitch are two different pitches.


Part 2


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