TaiiiiiiJUANNN !!
I find your attempt to hit me disTURBing


Q.  Where did we leave this off, last September?

A.  Taijuan en embryo was a fairly good #3 starter, using one pitch.  His fastball was so explosive, and so well-commanded, that it more than tipped the balance scales against his two "slow fastballs," the 89 non-slider and the 89 non-changeup.  Worse secondary stuff than that, you simply will not see on television.  Not unless your TV is located in Perth, West Austrailia.

Which left SSI denizens wanting some functional offspeed, any offspeed, to launch the carnage.  ... of course there was the odd single game last year where he had one.  Which resulted in, well, carnage.


Q.  How was his changeup today?


He started the game with about eight fastballs, and then mixed the change-curve two times to Kendrys.

Two seeing-eye grounders and two outs in, the RH Cody Decker came up number five.  Taijuan started him 96-96-95 for a 1-2 count and then --- > threw a 90 MPH version of Hisashi Iwakuma's shuuto.


Q.  What.

A.  We're going to leave it at that.  Iwakuma's shuuto.  I thought it was going to hit Decker in the back foot.  Garbage swing that missed by a mile.  As a little added bonus, that ended the inning, so you had the ::micdrop:: effect.

Dr. D was, um, not displeased at the sight of this pitch, for reasons explained above.  But, of course, it was one pitch.  Granted, the BEST such pitch we'd ever seen out of Taijuan Walker.


Q.  And then?  You've got me widdl.... going for a donut.  Okay, carry on.

A.  The second time he attempted a changeup ... er, splitfinger pitch ... was next hitter, top of the 2nd.  Travis Snider -- who hits from the other side of the plate than Decker -- saw 93-95-96-95 for a 2-2 count and then 


Another shuuto!  (It suddenly occurs to us that brand-new readers may not realize that Iwakuma's shuuto is held with a splitfinger grip, and when WBC-san turns his thumb over the ball to the ground, the ball sails armside and dives sharply down.  The old "screwball" type action.)

This shuuto dove from "teed-up" to "at the knees" and Det-O-Nated Snider.   Two for two, babe :- O


Dr. D coulda swore he saw this pitch about three more times for strikeouts, but that can't be right.

Can it.  Oh, wait.  According to Brooks he threw the split five times, for five strikes, and five swing throughs.  It's a little like saying you went to the game early and saw Steph Curry hit 35 straight threes.  You must have looked away at the wrong time or something.  5 splits and 5 puffs of pink mist at the plate?


Q.  Do you have an F/X affidavit to corroborate your testimony.

A.  I dunno.  The shuuto was recorded as sinking 7" relative to his fastball, though traveling 92 MPH.  But remember, the F/X charts don't show the lateness of break, the batter's reaction or the hue pinkness of the mist.

The outing, like Michael Pineda's first coupla Arizona games, went far beyond the box score (3 3 1 1 0 5 or something).  It was:

  • A "flash" of potential, a testimony to Taijuan's ultimate destiny
  • A harbinger of a 21-win season
  • A plateau leap but not the last one
  • None of the above
  • All of the above

We report, you decide.  


Q.  Anything else would just dilute the point.

A.  True, but then again, jemanji is the only one READING the point, so we'll indulge.  Fastball:  cutting, rising action like a Rivera cutter though averaging 96.7 MPH per Brooks.  Change curve:  stuck with it, 20% usage that is, and threw it for strikes.

NOW we'll stop diluting.

Could be sooner than later,

Dr D



My goodness:  Darth Walker threw 8 curveballs.  Hmmmm.....5 were for strikes.  Only two got swings.  So even if the three wide ones that he threw hit the dirt somewhere around Guadalahara (and fooled nobody) it would still be that 60% of his CB strikes froze bad guys up.

Deer in the headlights CB's Doc?

Darth Walker chucking JUST the heater/yakker combo is approximately Doc Gooden.  Reminder:  Until he totally sucked his whole career up his nose, Doc Gooden was decently good, in case you don't remember him.  OK, maybe a bit better than that.  From 19-21 he was basically The Death Star (if you don't mind me continuing the theme).  

Give Taijuan a shuuto that utilizes The Force to travel at the speed of Kuma's FB, and then you may begin to have something quite unfair.  Not that I mind, mind you.

Maddux and Gibson come most immediately to mind as guys who had that incredibly fluidity, balance, lightness and rhythm that Taijuan exhibits.  Well, Bruce Lee too.

Is it too early to lay some Vegas money down on a Top 4 Cy Young finish for Walker?  I've got a loose Benji Franklin or two, somewhere around here.

Go team:




But the point of control is very heartening.  The rotation is nasty and may broach the "best ever? " subject if things go right.   This looked like thing 1.


Those are my thoughts on the year as well.  Whether JeDi takes us to the post season or not, we certainly have something to cheer about this year. 


I don't even know what to call these power bendy pitches anymore. Forkball? Curveball? Shuuto? I mean, is Felix's 90mph dive-bomber a change-up because of the circle-change grip or a splitter because of the speed? Walker looks like he's using a curve-ball grip (I could be wrong on that) but a 90-mph curveball? 

I'm officially converted to the Ron Fairly paradigm of pitch classification. In the Fairly Paradigm, there are only three pitches: Fastballs, Off Speed Pitches and Breaking Balls. And only use Off Speed to describe a mistake Breaking Ball that doesn't bend. Most pitches are either Fastballs or Breaking Balls. If I only use those three, I think I'm covered. Unless Felix has that 94mph swerveball thing going with his FB grip. Then I just shut up and laugh at the absurdity of it. 


Vader was supposed to be the chosen one.  Then he went bad and his arm falls off.  After intensive reconstructive surgery, he comes back as a shadow of his former self. His reconstructed robotic arms hamper his development so that he never has force lightning or other electric stuff.  This caps his upside as an average solid number 2;  He has an intimidating mound presence, and he throws plenty of junk but his stuff is now kind of slow, robotic and mushy and lacks elan.  He doesn't live up to his hype or potential but he is perfectly serviceable for strangling or bludgeoning weak opponents.

The Emperor reports to fans on Korriban that Sith phenom Vader is  day to day with a stiff elbow.

This sounds like a dozen or so injured pitchers. I hope its not the Taijuan Walker story.  As far as Sith Lords he should emulate, I think Darth Felix would be a good choice.

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