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You know how it is with spring training games. They don't mean nearly as much as we wish they did. But! If Andrew Moore pitches tomorrow, you still want to know whether his outing HELPed him or HURT him.
In that spirit, let's go crib note style, keepin' it loose. Here then, choose ye from among a baker's dozen of talking points.
1. MARC-O HARD BUY - he did more than help himself. He was so good he established himself as the #5 starter. Pending further developments, of course. But this was the first ST outing, and if he executes precisely those pitches in 2018 he runs a 3.85 ERA, end of story.
2. He didn't throw the 79 dead-fish changeup that Dr. D is obsessed with. He did get a swinging strike on one that was 84 and deceptively thrown. Perhaps Marc-O views himself differently than Dr. D views him.
3. Sunday: Time and time again Zuumball stuck the mitt up open for the ball, closed it after the pitch, and flinged it back. Much of the time it was Moyeresque command, and at 92 MPH.
4. I thought this guy was supposed to be a soft-tosser?! He sits 92 and touches 94-95.
5. With a fastball as good as Ariel Miranda's, that makes him miles ahead of Miranda. The rest of Marc-O's game is big league functional.
6. The power slider was 83 MPH and see comment (3). Just EXcellent command considering it is a breaking pitch. All day. Any time you want, here it is, here you go, a power slider for a strike - often, painted on the black.
7. There was a lot of debate -- on TV, because Dipoto and Marc-O did interviews during the game -- about his cut fastball. Can cause pain after TJ. But it is huge for a kid wanting to throw changeups to righties. Sunday his cutter was fairly frequent, not very frequent, but there several times.
8. He's a super nice guy, out of Gonzaga, who will be awfully easy to root for.
9. I like that he always throws out of the stretch. Never forget Greg Maddux' wisdom, "Your most important pitches come out of the stretch" so you might as well practice that way.
10. The comp for #5 is between Gonzales, Miranda and Moore but w/r/t Marc-O, "If he's healthy he's on the club." Of course that's partly because he's out of minor league options.
11. Dipoto emphasized that Marc-O was a #19 overall, "used to be a top prospect" meaning in GM-speak "used to be viewed as a potential star." Gonzales' UP side is indeed that of stardom.
12. Here is Greg Johns on the M's site, with video and reportage. Marc-O is liable to make Bat571 look very good, very quickly.
13. I hadn't realized he had such a good September. 2.81 ERA, 16 IP with a 17:4 CTL and 1 homer. He explained this as, The day came (after TJ) I just decided I was going to go out there and let it rip.
Dr. D still longs for the awesome changeup Gonzales had in St. Louis, but the kid pitching Sunday didn't need it.
Ben Gamel was awesome, ripping a tough fastball up-and-in for a standup triple. (Gamel is the rare lefty who is better high than low.) Then he scored on a non-hit play, WP I think it was.
image: Baseball America