Richard Sherman LESS' EAT! Dept.
=== Comments Thread ===
Fascinating performance by Brandon Maurer.  Here's a comments thread in the hopes that G-Moneyball and Lonnie of MC will take a few bows :- )
Maurer reminded me most of the 1999 rookie Freddy Garcia, if you disregard the specific shape of the breaking pitches.
The MARINERS don't question whether Maurer is ready to pitch now; the question is whether they want to score the 7th year of club control.  It would be the height of naivete, at field level, to question Maurer's place in a big league dugout.  
First thing they talked about on the broadcast was the Freddy-like presence that Maurer boasts (although they didn't refer to Freddy as such).  That presence matters more to baseball people than anything else, and it guarantees Maurer's quick acceptance as a Real Deal rotation candidate.  Trust me on thiss' one.  The Mariners know that Maurer's ready to go.
Felix didn't have Maurer's presence.  Pineda didn't.  They had better stuff, but they didn't have his presence.  Last rookie around here who did, that being Freddy.
Maurer's arsenal could be unique in organized baseball; every single one of his 4-5 pitches has an unusual shape to it, and his slider and change also have bizarre releases and spins to them.  One of his breaking pitches clocked 3500 RPM, enough to make Justin Verlander blush.
Each one of Maurer's breaking pitches thrown with remarkable attack -- he throws his "slider" (SIC) and changeup early in the count, throws them very high, and throws them for called strikes.
Other pitchers throw their offspeed stuff to mess with hitters' timing.  To trick them.  To "steal" strikes, or to "show" the offspeed and set up a fastball.  Not Maurer.  He comes way into the strike zone with them, on 0-0 counts, throws his change and "slider" as if they're fastballs... like .... :taps chin: ... well, like a lefty pitcher throws his curve ball, like Erikkk Bedard throws his hook.  
Felix!  Felix uses his breaking pitches as primary attack weapons, not to confuse, but to bludgeon.
Freddy threw his breaking pitches with contempt.  To bludgeon.  He didn't tiptoe around with them.  He challenged you with his breaking stuff.  0-0 count, here came a changeup, OUT AND OVER.  0-1 count, came right back at you with an overhand curve, OUT AND OVER.  
Maurer's power offspeed game has a different assortment of bends, but it's the same deal-io.  Didn't it look weird to see a AA player do that to major leaguers in Arizona?!
Doesn't look like Maurer has real high upside.  He doesn't need it.  He's the kind of guy you'll just pencil him in for a long string of 15-11, 3.60 ERA, 170K type seasons.  Well, he could bip up to James Shields level if things break right.  As far as Cy Young contender, I can't see it.
Now that the TV games start, things come into focus.  Garland's here to elbow kids out of their free agency years.  The bad news is, once he's in there, you can't shed him unless he does something to deserve it.  You can't swap him out like a roto commodity.  Once he has a job, you gotta respect his locker.
Weird and wonderful pitcher, as the young Freddy was.  Matt Cain pitches with a similar philosophy.
POTD forthcoming.  Matty's exec sum is simple:  Maurer's a plus starter in the American League, now.  There isn't any question about it, as there wasn't with Freddy.
The question is merely the 7th year, and that question isn't as simple as some make it.  Was it simple with Pineda?  Tough to freeze out a kid who makes you better.  He could get landlocked behind mediocrities who pitch just well enough to prevent you from shedding them.
I'd be inclined to just remember that seven years from now, the earth might not even be here, much less a 22-year-old still be throwing with a healthy shoulder.  Service-time the position players, I say.
Keep da bench warm,
Dr D


ghost's picture

Every time he threw one of those sliders last night I just kept saying "wow...that slider is good, man..."
Just based on the funky reactions and garbage swings he was getting. :)


And you're absolutely right about the breaking pitches. When they asked Maurer how felt he was doing he griped that he wanted to get his curve up more for strikes instead of spiking it in the dirt all the time, and that's what he was working on.
He wants all the pitches, all for strikes, all the time. Gotta love that. :-)
The reason I comped him to Meche (besides the pitches and such) is for health reasons. Maurer had trouble putting in full seasons until this very last year, so I can understand their reluctance to pencil him in for 180+ innings this year.
HOWEVER - keeping him in the minors saves him maybe a start in the beginning of the year (since the minors starts a week later) and then he's on the same schedule as he would be in the bigs. If you throw Garland overboard in May, or at the All-Star break, you're still gonna get into "scary innings" with Maurer in August and September if he's starting all year.
Makes me shake my head. The kids have gotta pitch. Maurer threw 137 innings last year. He's good for 180, which is what a #5 starter should get. Erasmo threw 136 last year after tossing 150+ the previous TWO years.
Let the kids throw. Neither Garland nor Bonderman are a part of our next pennant winner unless we win the pennant THIS year - and I think the kids would be more helpful in that regard. Oakland wasn't afraid of the kids in the rotation. Maybe that wasn't their first choice, but it did turn out to be their best option. Our rotation goes Felix / Iwakuma / Saunders /... and a couple of blank spots. Maybe Saunders should be a blank spot too, but he isn't.
I understand not wanting to fill them all with kids. I get the Fear Factor involved there, and the Noesi disaster from last season probably doesn't help settle the stomach. I know it makes me want to lose my breakfast.
But is Felix / Iwakuma / Saunders / Garland / Beavan really the best 5 pitchers we can roll out there in April?
Right now Maurer with a 1+ ERA and a K per 9 and Erasmo with a the same ERA and ridiculous control and command are saying that's probably not the case.
I really, REALLY hope both guys aren't shut out of the April rotation. A potential Tacoma rotation of Hultzen / Paxton / Walker / Maurer / Erasmo sounds great for anybody with Rainiers season tickets, but that's a LOT of talent that isn't helping the big league squad get Ws - and we aren't likely to replace 3 starters midseason with the best Tacoma has to offer, either.
It would push back their learning curve along with their service time. That isn't what I wanna see.

ghost's picture

Hey I'm curious Doc...what'd you think of Franklin's right handed swing last night? He got two hits with it, including a ringing double. It looked...a little me.


The back end of the rotation ends up as 2 of Ramirez, Beavan, or Maurer, it could well result in the highest walk rate on the starting staff being in the 6-7% range, against a league average of 7.5% last year. It's very conceivable that the guy with the worst walk rate would be Felix Hernandez.
Career Walk Rates:
Felix Hernandez: 7.2% (6.8% since 2009, 6% in 2012)
Hisashi Iwakuma: 5.4% (Including Japan)
Joe Saunders: 7.2% (6.8% since 2010, 5.2% in 2012)
Blake Beavan: 3.7%, (4% when including Minors)
Erasmo Ramirez: 4.0% (including Minors)
Brandon Maurer: 7.3% (Minors)
So that's pretty cool.

Rob's picture

You're 95% right on that the service time clock is a position player issue. The other 5% is the Lincecum Scenario, which likely cost the SF Giants millions with the early arbitration year. 5% is a reasonable risk. I'm with you.


Were all the young guys chucking in Tacoma, G says, "that's a LOT of talent that isn't helping the big league squad get Ws - and we aren't likely to replace 3 starters midseason with the best Tacoma has to offer, either.
It would push back their learning curve along with their service time. That isn't what I wanna see."
Bingo, G!!!! It isn't good for the Mariners...and it isn't good for the kids. Double bad mojo, that.
It now appears pretty clear that ERam, Beavan AND Maurer are ready now. Garland can't stick around in that environment! (Can he?)
2020 (7 years....if we save 'em all (well, mostly Maurer) is a long way away. Man, it's 2014-16 that look juicy. Let's focus on those seasons....oh, and '13, too.
You know, after Garland walks, a slightly-tweaked J. Saunders tendon, and the corresponding rest period, wouldn't bother me much at all.
The "just one" back-up infielder thing still bothers and worries me. But I'm beginning to see my way through the rotation fog.
#'s 4 and 5 have got to be kiddies.


To listen to the Seattle Mariners tell it, pitching a season at age 23 is unthinkable.  Who knew how these other MLB orgs ever got along.
Quick reminder:  it has not actually been demonstrated that [IP + 50] is a dangerous increase for a young pitcher.  BaseballHQ floated that idea 15 years ago and it just somehow became conventional wisdom without proof.


Honestly, man, for about the last year you've been watching SINGLE games and catching stuff at a glance.  I thought you were supposed to be a meteorologist....
Franklin's RH swing was quick and fluid, with good snap and acceleration through the zone.  
It ain't his lefty magic, and it's still a shame to watch Jr. or Ichiro switch hit, but the Mariners turned out to be correct as far as the evolution of his RH swing.  He should be able to put up similar #'s from the right side as he would LH-on-LH.
Probably I should print a big retraction post :- )


Ramirez, Beavan, and Maurer ALL THREE.  What the deuce are you doing with a THIRD vet meatball (Saunders, Iwakuma*) in front of so MANY ML-ready starters.
Teams do put rookie starters into their rotations.  But Erasmo and Beavan aren't even rookies.  Compared to other young pitchers, those three SP's are ridiculously high % bets. 


LOL.  Maybe Zduriencik will run across your observation and decide he can't resist the scenario.  :- )
I see Maurer as walking some guys, but your point is well taken.  Good post amigo.

ghost's picture

I never trust my own eyes (as bad as they are) 100% until someone else agrees...and of course if he'd gone 0-fer with two line-outs, would I have noticed as well as I did with the base hits so we could look at the replay? My gut reaction was to think he'd be a spray hitter right handed with not a ton of pop but a good batting average while being a power hitter left handed.

ghost's picture

The super-two thing still exists and the 6 years of service time thing still exists...the thing that has changed is that you have to wait til like July now to be certain you'll avoid super-two status because guys are qualifying earlier under the new rules.

StalkCutter's picture

Sprouts starting to emerge?
Franklin batted 350 RH vs 338 LH in the fall.
Avg higher on the right so far this spring.
The double to left. It's probably the best we have seen from him on that side so far. The swing showed a more linear hand path to and thru the ball path to a pitch middle / away. Franklin maximized the time his bat was in the hitting area. Minimal head movement
Probably the best sign. The hard single to left. The in-swing adjustment on a inside pitch to get his hands in and the head of the bat squarely on the ball. That swing wasn't in his tool bag a season ago.
The swing may not look as pretty as the left, but it is starting to look rudimentary more consistent than the left.
Let's Hope.


I still think he's a bit of dark horse to make the team, and ahead of Garland unless his mechanics start coming apart or something. My preference for the rotation is to give Ramirez his full season shot and see if Blake Beavan has managed to morph into Brandon McCarthy.

ghost's picture

Let me see if I got this straight. Garland comes in...gets rocked all night and doesn't give up anything (so many line very many line-outs...)
And then E-Ram comes in...breaks the first guy's bat for a cheap single (oh COME ON! I say)...and then he makes a mistake on a slider for a double...and then the pitcher is up and he just places the bat in the strike zone and by pure luck with his eyes closed he makes contact for a cheap single...and then the next guy hits a routine two hopper to the hole for a hit...
Seriously...why [is the universe against me]?
- I appreciate that this was meant in a spiritually positive way; it still gets the edit for style. Thanks, jjc :- )

Add comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><p><br>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.


  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.