Look at BrooksBaseball for Marco's pitch velocity and movement over history and you may see what I'm referring to. You're right that his curve is working better than his change right now. But when he threw the change slower, it had more movement and was known as a devastating pitch. I'm not sure why he's throwing it so much harder - maybe there was a tell on his arm speed and release point? But I strongly suggest that if he can take just a bit off of it, and still maintain some deception, he'll take another plateau leap. Having that "tweener" velo compared to his slider/cutter and his curve with just that bit of additional movement would do even more to foul up swings. I'm hoping he's just being methodical, bringing back each pitch and sharpening it as he goes. But getting the league to not hit the change so readily and so hard would really put him at #2 class.
Do I get to gloat? I only heard later about the 4-year run in the Colorado State Championships, but when the kid was at Gonzaga, he was confident and mature. Came across as very cerebral, as with Moyer, but with a MUCH better FB.
Now, down the road, he can pop that FB at 93 once in a while, but his other stuff continues to sharpen. He probably needs to soften up his change-up a bit, and get some drift to it, and he might be doing something to tip it, in particular. But the kid has MLB(tm) moxie in spades, yet is, like Paxton and Haniger, a genuinely NICE kid.
The M's future goes way beyond Felix and Cano. I just hope Ladner, BC, helps young Paxton decide to stay in the NW, rather than go where Boros may take him.
It's funny how old guys remember 30 years ago, better than they remember yesterday ... in the 1980's Bill James had a Player Handbook each year. One of the last ones was in 1991 and when Norm Charlton was about to go to rookie camp, he said something along the lines of
"There are 7 things I like to see in a young pitcher. 1. Intelligence, which Charlton obviously has as a graduate of Rice. 2. A good organization to work in; the Reds, the World Champions, certainly have to count as a good franchise." (Dr. D - these were the days of Marge allowing her sheepdog onto the field...) (Better go check the Rice thing before Matt does ;- ) yep, holds three different degrees from Rice.)
I completely forget the other five. LOL. But he thought that IQ, in the literal sense, was a huge plus for a pitcher trying to develop into an MLB(TM) veteran.
Dr. D sells himself as Marco's agent, but of course on the day the trade was made, Tyler O'Neill for Marco Gonzales, Bat571 was the only one here arguing it was a favorable trade. Many, if not most, thought the deal smacked of desperation, and were irritated that the M's gave up without getting one of the Cards' heralded pitchers.
If anybody knows how that turned out for the Cards' heralded pitchers so far, lemme know! I know doodly about the NL.
that Marco is somehow trying to incorporate facets of Felix' 'changeup' into his own?
No sarcasm intended and it wouldn't offend me if you weren't. But ? this is a point I'd harped on for a year since his first game in 2017. "Where is the 78 MPH change from St. Louis?"
That change is - of course - a fearsome weapon. Why he throws his changeup a full +6, +7 MPH harder since his TJ is something I'd love some Mariners guy to explain to us.
Dipoto's team recognized that the Marco / Tyler trade was worth the risk. On the surface, the trade seemed crazy. What did they see? We still don't know. Before this season Dipoto was touting that Marco would be a solid contributor to this years starting rotation. Others scoffed. What did he see? I don't know, but watch and see if Dipoto's crew value players that can learn and adapt their body habits as needed. Is Gilbert, the 1st rounder, an example of this?
Jonezie. Felix's change was never really a change in that he threw the thing at 88-89. But it had wipeout down and armside movement. No one has ever really thrown a pitch like it.
What happens with pitchers sometimes is they lose the feel for a pitch and start tinkering with their grip, release point, whatever. The biggest variable for a change velocity is the grip. Let's say you suddenly can't control location - not unusual after surgery. The first thing you tinker with is the grip and maybe the first grip you find that gives you back location is a firmer grip and that causes you to pick up velocity. Now what?
I'd guess that's where Marco is right now. Trying to fix something like that mid-season is nearly impossible. It's something he'll work on over the winter. And Bats' right. If he gets that back it's just a great pitch to add to an already impressive mix.
Bat, you should offer to fly to Colorado for consultation this off-season.
Appreciate your response - I think you're right that he's being methodical within the limitations of being ready for another start in 4 days. But I'm certainly enjoying watching the simultaneous combination of recovery and improvement. If Dipoto can find a RH complement to Paxton and Marco, with Felix and Leake to contribute, the M's can go head-to-head with any team.
Yankee$: 8.4 - 2.6 - 1.8 (1.6) = 14.4
Red Sox: 8.0 - 4.0 - 3.4 (2.4) = 17.8
Astros: 8.0 - 5.8 - 3.6 (3.4) = 20.8
Indians: 8.4 - 5.0 - 5.0 (3.8) = 22.2
Mariners: 5.2 - 3.8 - 1.8 (1.6) = 12.4 total
Those are the end-of-season WAR totals of the top 4 SPs on each of the playoff teams, based on the high-tech sabr technique of taking their current WAR and multiplying by two. I compiled this in the interest of seeing whether I agreed with your assertion that we needed one more good starter to not be outgunned. You appear to be dead right. We match up okay with the Yanks (them - us - push - push), but terribly with the other three teams. The Sox have the edge in every matchup, one-thru-four. The Astros and Indians have us outgunnned by at least 1 full win in every slot. The Indians have nearly double the rotation WAR we do. Yikes.
Of course the problem is, we need a roughly 4.5 WAR starter to slot into #2 if we want to even things up (or really just drag ourselves into a more respectable 4th place instead of a distant fifth). Anyone know of any 4.5 WAR TORs (preferably righties) that will be available at the deadline, and how many king's ransoms will be required to get one?
Every iteration of the Top 4 of the Mariners Starting Rotation currently excludes Felix. It could be useful to throw Felix out first in series (excluding the all-important potential Wild Card Playoff). I certainly believe in Pax against any of those technically higher WAR starters, but Felix provides a decent wild card - he's been improving over the season and he did shut the Yankees down pretty well in New York just last month, if only over 5 innings, which is where Wade LeBlanc comes in. LeBlanc becomes the primary long man, which may be to some advantage over other teams' converted long men who will have limited experience in the role while Wade will happily welcome his return to a position he has always filled. It may not give Pax his earned position, but there is plenty to overcome after the #1 pitcher for most of these teams as you've noted (When did Kluber become Cleveland's THIRD best starter???).
There is a surprising amount of duality in the starting rotations between Houston and Seattle; Verlander/Felix (Two long-time and elite enemies still searching for glory), Cole/Paxton (Eternally gifted and confounding aces who have only just begun to master their craft), McCullers/Marco (Young and injury prone talented pitchers, crafting their first consistent seasons), LeBlanc/Morton (Longtime Journeymen that have discovered a new wrinkle in their 30's that elevates their game), Leake/Keuchel (Control/Groundball Masters on the downturn of their peak). It'll be a lot of fun if they get to go head-to-head in an ALCS.
Good points all around Malcontent. I'm definitely not saying we can't pitch even with them, especially given a little luck. Agreed that Felix might surprise: the arm may be lacking, but he's still got the heart of a gladiator and the fire of all those years outside the postseason burning within him. This is the guy who won like ten straight Opening Days, gunned down the A's in game 162 that one year before we learned we'd been eliminated, shut out the Yanks/Sox like 4 times to earn his CY Young, all that. I bet he could give you 4-5 innings at 0-1 runs based on sheer adreneline and force of will. Also agreed that I'll take Pax pound for pound with anyone, WAR be damned, and that Wade The White is a great secret weapon. Love it.
My contention, really, is that we probably can't hope to actually catch up on the stat sheet. That's not who this team is. We're gonna be the underdogs, we're gonna throw some questionable arms out there, and we're gonna need to get some ballsy performances by some scrubs. Is that a tough road to take? For sure I'd prefer to start Kluber in game 3 (for the record, I best-betted Bauer in my head way before he got drafted, the second I heard what a cerebral jerkface he was). But why burn through all of our remaining trade chits trying to fix those odds when it'll still leave us at a disadvantage? For my money, I say get an innings eater to keep people healthy, another relief ace (lefty maybe) just in case Nicasio and Colome never find it, and plan on Felix and someone else going 5 and dive before we bring in the scorched earth bullpen.
Think Diaz could throw two innings three games in a row? He's got a starter's arm still, maybe. He might need to.
Just my being too cute. Appreciate your points always.
Add Cole Hamels for ththe lefty trio anyone?
To start in the wild card playoff game?
Matt went to Rice? Me too. ’93