Erasmo 3.15.12 - the Vaunted Fastball


=== Fastball ===

I was looking for the Fister-type command, but that wasn't his game at all, at least on this particular night.  What he did have was eye-opening velocity.

Brooks said that he threw 29 out of 30 fastballs at a velocity of 92 or higher.  The nominal average was 93.1 ... compare Felix' average of 93.3.  If Erasmo were to average 93.1 on the season, he'd have about the 15th or 20th hottest fastball in both leagues.

He pitched, early on, more like Michael Pineda than like Doug Fister.  He humps up, muscles the fastball, and he throws it high in the zone, where it should be.


We talked about the fact that short pitchers have a slower "perceived velocity."  On the other hand, Erasmo has a deceptive delivery and long arms.  He has above average spin and late life; Brooks had one fastball at over 3000 RPM (1800-2200 being average).

Guess here is that you subtract -1 or -2 mph to calculate the relative effectiveness.  Or more.  Or not.  :- )


=== Movement ===

Also, the armside run on his fastball is much more than usual.  Brooks had him at a full 12 inches armside run -- 5 is average for a 4-seamer and 8 is average for a 2-seamer.  Brooks claimed that his 12-inch swerveball was a 4-seamer.  Let me read that sentence again.

Whatever the case, he's got Fister-like movement.  Early in the game it was 15 inches of run (!) and as he tired in the 4th, it was down to 8-10 inches.


The change breaks wayyyyy armside and the curve breaks more sideways than down. 


=== Changeup ===

This was my big question:  if he's going to pitch like Fister, if he's going to pound the zone with pitchers' fastballs, does he have an offspeed pitch?  If not, he's going to be a 4-K meatball.

Erasmo's change is major league plus, right now.  His change drops 3 inches more than ML average, and it sails armside 4 inches more than average.  He throws it thigh-high, to get plenty of the strike zone -- there's the confidence showing itself again.  He's not trying to weasel out with a desperate hope that the hitter will bail him out.  He's challenging the hitter to do something with his change.

The arm action looked good to me ... remember, there's no windup for the hitter to key off of.  There's just the little stretch, the little explosion forward, and ... whoosh, Erasmo pulls the string and the ball stays back.

He threw 12 changes, of which 8 were strikes, two of them swinging strikes.   That means he threw changeups 24% of the time, a huge total, and only one was put into play, a topped groundball out.


He can throw the changeup on 0-0, with impunity.  Time and again, he's going to be able to start hitters off with changeups for called strike one.


Ballplayers will look at Erasmo and go, well, he's not that overpowering, even at 93-94.  He's a pretty comfortable at-bat.  

But!  Remember this guy is always ahead in the count.  He's giving you strike one, and with something on it.  When a pitcher has a quality get-ahead pitch, he is going to be effective.  Erasmo is going to be forever in 0-1 and 1-2 counts.


So yeah.  If Erasmo had nothing but that excellent change to supplement a located 92-94 fastball, then he and I would get along just fine.  ;- )




Is one of my favorite things about him. :)
I said last fall that I thought he needed a third pitch if he wasn't gonna throw his curve.  Well, his curve looked fine last night, his velo differential seemed to be in a better delta and the movement was back on his FB and change, which was lacking at altitude.  He'd be a horrible pitcher for the Rockies. 
In the heavy air of the NW?  He, Hultzen and Paxton are gonna be throwing pitches that fall off cliffs, twist around corners and dive-bomb the plate.
In a pitcher's park, whether it's Tacoma or Safeco. Look out. And Erasmo is our 4th best upper-minors starter?
Fun times...

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