Q. How big is one game with 13 strikeouts? Objectively, now.
A. Show me one Anthony Vasquez game with 13 whuffs. Or one Luke French game. Never happen.
There's a lot of study and discussion on Bill James Online lately, this very issue: how much does it mean, one truly awesome performance by a rookie pitcher? To what extent does it tend to predict that the kid's not lousy-but-lucky? Answer: Anthony Vasquezes don't have games with 13 whuffs. Pretty much they don't.
Like we sez, Iwakuma just set the 1977-2012 Seattle rookie record. There's a reason no rookie did it. You can't throw 18 balls past (swinging) MLB(TM) hitters as easy as that.
Q. Yes, but to what extent will MLB(TM) general managers see it that way.
A. It definitely sat them up in their seats. Hisashi Iwakuma is now on everybody's radar.
Q. How repeatable was Iwakuma's performance. You expect a blizzard of Chris Sale outings now?
A. I'm sure that on Iwakuma's tombstone, 7.30.12, 13 K's will be the epitaph. He might not have any more 10-strikeout outings this year, or maybe ever. The hitters' adjustments will be, among other things, to get Iwakuma earlier in the count. They don't want to see that shu'uto with two strikes.
The shu'uto is of course repeatable. He's got the gyroball on a game-in, game-out basis.
The fastball command is of course repeatable. He's never done anything in his life but hit spots. Now that he's loose and in rhythm, you can expect Beavan-like command each time out.
The pitchability is woven into the fabric of his being. It is just flat amazing that Iwakuma has adapted so fast. He spent his life using the precision, nibble-and-pick game of the NPB and now in just three-four games, he has completely morphed into a pitcher who will move batters off the plate, who will take them up in the zone ...
It sounds funny, but ... it's not often that Dr. D gets the uneasy impression that he doesn't understand what a pitcher is doing. On July 30th, he couldn't predict Iwakuma at all - couldn't even understand his pitches after the fact. 1-0 and here came an 82 MPH change slider - at the letters. Whaaaaa? It is possible that Iwakuma's pitchability will be, in effect, the best in baseball. Because of the translation issue.
The slider is the question. Today he was snapping it off, selling it hard, the back foot sailing high on followthrough. Without the wipeout slider, but with his other weapons, he could be fairly tough. With it, we're talking TOR starter, a #2-3 pitcher on a good team.
Speaking of templates...