One of yer all-time great 4-IP KO's. Heh. ... no, the Mainframe is fond of grokking that a pitcher deserved more, or less, than he got. Seemed to it that Gonzles "deserved" 6 IP, 2 ER against the Royals. Why didn't he get it? Let's crunch it ...
From the CF, Marco's heater was a very pleasant surprise. He threw it short-arm, meaning without extending the elbow, and concealed the ball behind his ear. The velocity averaged 92.0 MPH per Brooks and 91.1 MPH per Fangraphs' F/X. He has a real affinity for taking it up to the letters and inside on the hands. The late life was excellent.
So it was a George Sherrill fastball, called "sneaky" by the pros and "stinging" by Dr. D. As Bat pointed out, this isn't a John Halama or Mark Beuhrle or even Jason Vargas with a super-short fastball. Marco's fastball got on them pretty quick and he used it in attack rhythm.
Six swings and misses off a fastball in 50 pitches, that's good by anybody's standards, Sale's or Paxton's or anybody's. Hitters don't swing and miss that much off fastballs.
(1) Threw it twenty times and only gave up one hit, so results were good. (2) In the booth, Mike Blowers praised it highly. (3) The scouts say it's his signature pitch. (4) He somehow threw it past lefties, even in their loop zones. (4) He threw it in any count, which is totally key. He didn't just use it to "put away" hitters, nor just to cross up over-aggressive hitters. He had a real affinity for a legitimate, unpredictable mix. (5) He had the Royals "in between," late on some fastballs. (6) The arm action was nice; he "sold" it well.
That said, I was expecting a better cambio on Sunday. I thought we'd get -10 MPH separation and a big late drop. Instead we got a -7 MPH separation (?) and only -4 inches compared to his fastball.
Don't get me wrong; it was easily his best pitch, with a -0.62 runs effect on only 19 pitches. But it wasn't the -14 MPH diveball we saw back in 2013.
Hm. One game maybe? or perhaps here is where Bat's warnings about rehab come in?
Was DELIGHTED! to see a David Wells-type 10-to-4 slow yakker as his third pitch. One KC righty waited back on it and hit a long, medium strength fly ball that wound up in the right center gap, but except for that, Marco threw 8 of them unscathed. They were prett-TAY, as Wesley says. :- )
I think it was Butch Henry who claimed that he was as good as Jamie Moyer --- > except for Moyer's curve ball. When a fastball-changeup lefty can come in there with a weird third pitch it can make a big difference.
SO WHY THE SEVEN HITS?
The Royals hit five balls hard off of Marco's fastball for clean base hits, not including two or three more sharply-struck balls that were run down in the OF, but including a two-run homer to Whit Merrifield that was really just a fairly ordinary 376-foot fly ball:
The HR/FB stat is a luck stat for a reason. Like we said, Marco deserved about 6 IP, 2 ER or so. But still, the Royals KO'ed Marco and that's to their credit.
Marco had excellect rhythm and attack. In fact Fangraphs had his "PACE" at below major league average, despite a "debut" game, and he stayed ahead in counts. He went after them with his fastball, moving it around the plate, and always had an idea what he wanted to do.
THE SUM OF THE WHOLE WAS LESS THAN THE PARTS
Gonazles threw way tooooo many fastballs, in my opinion, especially considering he doesn't know the league and doesn't expand the zone much. He threw 65% fastballs and most of the hard-hit balls, the Royals seemed to be sitting dead red.
He's capable of throwing his changeup for called strikes or not, and he was most definitely capable of called strikes with his curve. Guess here is, he's going to need to go 50-30-20 or even 40-40-20. Not 65-25-10 which is EXACTLY the mix that James Paxton throws. 65% would have Marco in the top five, both leagues, for fastball frequency. He's got a Sherrill fastball, but that's too much pressure on it.
... granted, a 7-run lead might have been some small part of the story ...
It is precisely here that Marco can easily rack the hitters' uncertainty wayyyyy up. Show them a 50%, 55% offspeed mix and they'll start looking puzzled in the box. Tomorrow's news today, babe :- )
The box score looked weak but Marco's performance most definitely did not. He fastball was OHHhhhhh so much better :: swoon :: than we dared hope. And who knew he had three pitches rather than two?
Dr. D likes Erasmo Ramirez - didn't see the second game, so somebody tell US what happened - and he is here to say that Andrew Moore will have a career in the big leagues, someday, soon. Either of those two kids is easily "for choice" over Christian Bergman, Sam Gaviglio or most of the other 33 pitchers the M's have tried this year.
But if we have to draft fantasy teams right now, Dr. D takes Marco Gonzales ahead of either Erasmo or Moore, and he doesn't look back. It is a major league template, and Marco Gonzales is real sharp within that template.
Dunno whether it will take him forty starts, or four, to figure it out. But this kid has all the ingredients.