Logan Bawcom
Dr. D is bullish

Q.  What is the general consensus on Logan Bawcom?

A.  That he's a reliever with a certain amount of upside, decent fastball good slider, who will likely pitch in the bigs at some point.  And who at any rate didn't deserve to make the top 20, or particularly close to it, in LAD's org prospects list.


Q.  Does SSI vary from this consensus?

A.  Actually we'd be kind of excited about this pitcher.  It's not so much what he's done - though what he's done is consistent with impact relief in the bigs - as it is his pitching template.


Q.  His template being what?

A.  The basic Jonathan Broxton, Craig Kimbrel type of over-the-top power reliever.

Not that Bawcom has their raw velocity, of course, but not so many pitchers really "throw downhill" in Tim Lincecum style.  Lincecum rocks back and points uphill before he does anything else ... then he sort of climbs to the peak like a roller coaster, crests at the top, and then rocks back downhill.  He comes way overhand and the result is a pitch plane that is angled sharply down.

Other pitchers who do this include Doug Fister - though he doesn't have to climb uphill first to do this - and Stephen Pryor.  Back in the day, Jose Mesa used to throw this way.  Matt Thornton does it from the left side.

It's a tough kind of pitcher for them batters to deal wit'.


Q.  Throwing downhill is a Dr. D hobby horse or it's valued within baseball generally?

A.  It's valued within baseball even more than Dr. D values it.

When a pitcher comes over the top as extremely as Bawcom does, all kinds of goodness results.  Not only does the pitch plane angle differently than the bat plane ... but as a separate problem for the hitter, usually the ball is hard to pick up early (because it's behind the pitcher's shoulder and head).  

Also, there is typically a lot of rise or "hop" to the ball.

Also, it's usually hard for the hitter to quickly differentiate between high and low fastballs.  You see a lot of chasing up the ladder, because half the time the batters are just guessing at the level of the ball.

Also, usually a pitcher like this has a breaking ball that rolls off the table.  Also, the overhand curve is VERY hard to differentiate, early, from a high fastball.  ... Pitching coaches love, love love it when they can get a reliever "throwing downhill."

Judging by the vids, Bawcom does indeed seem to have a Nintendo power curve.  You can see the break on it from the cheap seats, Sele-style.


Q.  Does Bawcom become :- ) the M's fourth big time power righty in the pen?

A.  Wouldn't go that far myself... it's pretty early in his career.  Dodgers fans have been ga-ga over his chances to succeed Broxton.

Will say this much, though.  I like the looks of him a lot more than some other generic 94-MPH right hand reliever.  Supposedly the M's had lots of offers on League, "this is what we settled on" and it's easy to see why Zduriencik grabbed Bawcom.


Dr D


OBF's picture

about the three new mariners brought in yesterday is there seems to be a 33/33/33 split among fans and bloggers and the like to which the best player coming in is :) None of them are super hot, glamour prospects, but all three have something interesting or intriguing about them. Especially for what we gave up, this is like getting something neat for nothing.
For me at least the most intriguing prospect coming in isn't either of the ones you listed, but is Eric Thames. A big, strong, athletic young guy just on the cusp of breaking into the big leagues. I think it is interesting that everyone one is hoping for another crack at Justin Smoak in the similar tall, huge, nonathletic white 1B in Brandon Belt, however I am much more enthused over Thames who seems more like another pull at the deck to replace Adam Jones (well except left handed, not a good outfielder, and older). Ok, maybe not Adam Jones ;) but if this guy had just been traded to the Ranger we would already be penciling in the Nelson Cruz career. We have been bitten by several ultra athletic whiffmasters in the past, but put me in the camp that is very enthused to see what Thames can do for us in a corner OF spot. Plus his K issues doesn't look nearly as severe as a Wlad, Peguero, or Robinson. BTW, as an aside, I am totally on board with the camp that is ready to never see Peggy in a Mariner uniform again, but it seems there are a lot of folks who are ready to give up on Trayvon as well, I am still holding out hope for Trayvon to put it all together and be at least a worth while 4th OF for a few years.
Seriously how often does a 25 year old budding LH Masher get traded for a substitute teacher???

ghost's picture

...I think Thames is easily the most talented player we got back...you know who he reminds me of? Jacques Jones.
Too many punchies....not enough walks...great tools. Jones had some good years with Minny and Thames could do the same.


So, for League we get a guy who might become a League and an OF guy who has numbers in his first CAL League go-around that are similar to Trayvon's in his second. What Landry does, however, is run like a rabbit and he doesn't strike out: 155 K's in 1202 MiLB PA's.
He walks about once a week, however. Alas.....
Can he pick it in CF? Don't know....
But guys of his skill set have played well in the bigs for a long time....even in LF.
However, we have a bunch of MiLB hitters, Romero/Miller etc, who are going to soon be looking for a MLB position....and some of them are going to end up in LF. Not to mention Catricala....and Thames.
Delabar for Thames is a neat pickup, BTW.
Goodness knows why the Jays would give up a decent bat, with some upside, for a 29-yr. old journeyman AAA relever.
OK, Thames K's some....but he's actually shown that he can hit at this level some. And he doesn't whiff at the astronomical rates like Peguero.....who we may never see again. Have you ever seen anything so futile as Peguerro over the last few games?
1-20 with 12 K's! Eeeeek.
Thames will do for now, although the guy I was hoping we could get was Danial Nava in Boston. I like what he could bring, OBP-wise, as a top of the order guy.
So it appears that we're gong to see a pretty consistent OF of Thames-Saunders-Wells, which is a decent OF, if Thames is the hitter he was last season. That doesn't leave many PA's for Trayvon, who really should get some so we can see what we have.
If he isn't gong to play, I would much prefer we bring up Ford as the 4th OF, who is kind of classic in that mode. Or maybe the idea is to use Figgins as the LF against LHP.
And, Carp has an OPS+ guys of 100 right now (an ugly one...but 100 none-the-less). Despite the injury and the terrible start...and the jacking around (from my perspective) he still is a decent bat. Funny how when you just say "Mike, your in the lineup everyday...now go hit," that is just what he does. 9 'fer his last 18, with 3 extra-base hits. He'll keep hitting at a valuable clip all the way until September. No more poo-pooing, huh?


I’m surprised that Thames was available so cheaply. It’s sort of like seeing KC throw Alex Gordon overboard for relief help in 2009 (or if you prefer a real example, trading Choo for mediocre deadline help). Thames is amazingly short to the ball. Totally rotational in that way we were talking about a couple of weeks ago, the Mike Sweeney style – except Thames obviously watched a lot of Gary Sheffield. Lots of aggression in that swing, even in the leadup to the swing, and so he strikes out a lot more.
BTW, Sheffield, first ~1300 major league plate appearances: .255/.315/.370. He was younger than Thames at the time, of course, but a lot of guys with the aggressive, rotational bat that Thames shows don’t master their ML timing for a few seasons.
Problems with Thames: sucks at D, can’t hit lefties yet, injury-prone.
Potential with Thames: 30+ HRs, breakout age 26 and 27 seasons ahead of him, under club control for another 5 years. At worst, Wells and Thames would be absolute crushers in a platoon together. One of them can play defense and hit lefties, one takes it to the house against righties. Clubs that get out the lefty reliever to contain Thames would run into a late-game Wells substitution instead.
Best case, both Wells and Thames are everydayers and plus power contributors in a way we haven’t had in the outfield corners in a long time.
Thames is a really interesting draw to me. Like finding someone giving away a lefty Catricala for nothing, and going “well, not all Catricalas work out but I only need one…here’s 5 bucks.” Intriguing.


Here's what we have to work with going into next season in the pen:
- RH Wilhelmsen, 150 ERA+ and climbing, 10.5K / 3BB / 7 H
- LH Furbush, 175 ERA+, 11.5K / 2.5 BB / 4.5 (!) H
- LH Luetge, 200 ERA+, 9K / 4.5 BB / 5.5 H
- RH Kelley, 100 ERA+, 9.5K / 2.5 BB / 9.5 H
- RH Pryor, 0.93 ERA (!), 11 K / 4.5 BB / 4 H
- RH Capps, 1.23 ERA, 13 K / 2 BB / 7 H
- RH Bawcom, 2.03 ERA, 11 K / 4 BB / 6.5 H
- LH Moran, 2.32 ERA, 11 K / 2 BB / 7 H
- LH LaFromboise, 1.24 ERA, 9.5 K, 3 BB, 5.5H
- RH Kinney, 2.70 ERA, 9.5 K / 2.5 BB / 9 H
That doesn't count struggling power arms like Arias and Ruffin, or long relievers, or guys about to hit AA like Burgoon (11 K / 4 BB / 8 H). Those are just 7th-to-9th inning guys in AA and above.
I'm good with the acquisition of Bawcom, but there's no way we have room for all those guys. I wasn't kidding about busting Wilhelmsen out of the pen if Pryor, Capps and the rest can hold down the fort, but I'd rather see Pryor up here for 2 months showing that he can do that. Once we're done moving Perez, et al, I assume that's what'll happen.
But the raw talent acquisition phase of this rebuild has to be about over. We're duplicating players and positions on both the staff and in the lineup, so either some stars need to emerge or we need to move some of the duplicate players to get a type of player we don't currently have.
You can only stockpile for so long.

benihana's picture

My $0.02 on the M's moves and non-moves.
1) Time to lock Vargas up to a three year $21-24 million dollar type deal. He's got more value to the M's than other teams and provides the team with a reliable rotation fixture for the next few years.
2) I thought the bullpen was a strength moving into this season, and now, yowza, beyond imagining. The M's traded two pieces off of the big league roster and made it immediately better??? I'll take Capps and Pryor over League and Delabar any day. And the fact that they are all under club control for years to come? Yowza.
3) This team is 4 runs under a .500 pythag on the season. And that's with Ichiro, Figgins, Olivo and Ryan taking up a whale of the "veteran" at-bats and the vast majority of the offensive salary spending. We cleared up the Ichiro mess for next year, Figgins will be DFA'd, Olivo is a FA and Ryan should be signed for a few more years at a reasonable salary (he's hitting .261 in july with a .665 OPS, more than good enough with his defense). Moving forward we've got $40+ million in salary room to bring in quality vets without having to pay the deadline deal premium. Good move to stand pat now if the value wasn't there.
4) Thames and Wells make a dream LF platoon. Carp seems to be turning the corner (or finally healthy) with .375/.405/.583 since his most recent call up. Saunders has been great. This team is getting healthy and building confidence (thank-you KC). We are out of this race, this year. The time to make the team better is in the offseason when prices are more reasonable and we have a better grasp of what we have going forward.
In all, I like the moves we made, don't feel bad about the moves we didn't make, and am looking forward to the last 3rd of the season.
- Ben.


Don't leave him out, Gordon.
The High Desert media crew keeps reporting on his slider being "unhittable."
Second half stats: 19.0 IP, 0.95 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 4.3 BB/9, 13.3 K/9
That's at High Desert, you know.


1 & 2) Vargas is a Safeco pitcher, but don't sneer at that - we actually play in Safeco. It has value to us. He's got that fighting spirit I desperately want on this team. And he seems to want to stay. His quote about, "I feel I've proven my value here in Seattle" was nice to see. When a guy wants to stay and you want him to stay, what's the problem? He won't break the bank. The Ms have no right to get that cheap.
The only question is what we do about Iwakuma. Could we possibly bring back both arms? That would leave two back-end slots for Hultzen and Erasmo, give Beavan the long relief role, and situate Paxton and Walker for either trade or AAA dominance in 2013.
Yeesh. Add that to our suddenly-ridiculous bullpen of RH 95+ hurlers and lefty destroyers and our staff would look...well, like we wanted this year's staff to look. But you can't get everything just when you want it, and we always figured 2013 would be the plan.
I'm curious to see what Iwakuma looks like the rest of this season and whether we'll keep him around if he looks like he has the last couple of starts. Cuz the last couple starts are Early Nomo era, and that can last for a couple of years easy. Do we trust Iwakuma's health? I'm curious.
3 & 4) I think we have to extend Ryan, assuming he's not asking for ridiculous cash for his defensive prowess. We dunno if Franklin will stay at short, and signs are point to no - at least as a full-time player. Miller's not one. Triunfel can be, but offensively he's still pretty joke-y and not anywhere near the defender Ryan is to make up for it. Our next real SS is in low-A. We need Ryan. Pay him and make sure we hit well enough at other positions to make a hitting shortstop less necessary.
I'm down with a Wells/Thames platoon in pursuit of that ideal. LF Wells/Thames, CF Saunders and RF...somebody who can thump a little works out for me. We'll still have Guti to figure out, but he has to stay healthy for more than a week before we can make any plans with him. Saunders is a 3 WAR player in a full season if he hits like this. Add a Nick Swisher in RF and see what happens.
If Ackley, Montero and Carp actually hit, really good things could happen. It's been 10 years since really good things happened around here for the offense, so I'm kinda ready for it. I hope the Mariners are.


And it leaves an OF spot open for someone who can really mash, if they were able to acquire someone.
In addition to Ben's note re Mike Carp (.375/.407/.583 in July), note:
Jesus Montero .303/.382/.455 in July.
Mike Zunino .356/.465/.746 as a professional.
Of course, the best use of the $30M would be to bribe the MLB schedule-makers to let them play the Royals 162 times.


He's just in the same part of the conversation as The Goon I mentioned (17 IP, 0.53 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, 8.5 K/9 in the second half), since they're both at HD. :-)
We've been stockpiling arms so that losing one to injury or having one fall off the rails doesn't kill our entire bullpen construction, and we seem to be exceeding the threshold now. Great bullpenners comin' out our ears is a good thing.


Why not just find a cheaper RH hitting masher against LHP to go with Thames.
That's easier to find than a fulltime mashing OF.
Wells has almost NO (well, very little) platoon splits. It makes more sense to just let him play.
In his career he's had a vR track (284 PA's) of .257-.314-.437 w/11 homers.
In his career he's had a vL track (265 PA's) of .258-.337-.458 w/10 homers
He's the same guy no matter who is throwing.
If we can find a mashing OF All-Star, well, good for us. But Wells can play fulltime guys. Let's not discount him.
BTW, While Thames does have a significant platoon split, his career track against righties (432 PA's) is .265-.316-.442 w/12 homers. He's not any better against RHP than Wells is...and he's a much worse defender.
We're better off rolling Wells out there everyday.
But I've been advocating that all year.


But it's always possible that Thames is just a platoon player and Wells becomes one with further exposure. If so, the two of them would complement each other nicely. It's early yet in their MLB careers. I would not platoon them immediately by any means - unless we're adding a real corner OF to the team somehow.
If Hamilton signs up with us due to some sort of contract with the Devil, then one of those dudes is getting platooned. With Hamilton's injury record we'd need a couple of spare OFers around who can play if pressed into duty. Wells is a good 4th OF because he can cover Center in emergencies, has the arm for Right, and can pinch-hit for our more lefty-oriented OF.
Team structure can make some players into non-starters, at least at one position. Ask McLemore. It can work. Just keeping options open with platoon talk. ;-) For the rest of this year, nobody should be platooned, Especially Wells. Swing away.


had the original bullpen by committee. Ken Daley and Jeff Lahti were there the whole season with Todd Worrell being brought up later in the season. They didn't blow a lead the entire season until the Denkinger game. That game was the first one all season that Herzog brought in a pitcher to close the game when he brought in Worrell. All of the other games he mixed and matched using the in the 8th inning and then the 9th if it served his purposes.


When Gutz gets back and Travon gets sent down, they will have 2 RH and 2 LH for the OF. 3 of the 4 can play CF. When Thames starts, you will have a premium defender on the bench for late substitution no matter what. It'll be interesting to see how Wedge juggles them. With a deft touch, he should be able to maximize the production.


You know, I've almost completely discounted the chance of Guti becoming a full-time very productive player. He'll be 30 next year, is three year removed from his last decent year at the plate and is fragile with a capital F.
However...If he gets healthy again....he would be a natural platoon type player because of his large splits. His career lines are (vR) .243-.292-.350 and (vL) .288-.347-.466, Now, he and Thames would work in tandem, quite well.
That is IF he's ready to play again. Platooning him would reduce wear and tear, too.
That's a much better option than a Thames/Wells duo.
All the same, I'm not laying the mortgage down on Guti getting to that point just yet.

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