Is Whalen now forcing his way into the #5 starter slot?


The M's site has a long article claiming that Ariel Miranda has, at last, come up with an arm-side slider.  If you just joined us, Miranda has spent his baseball career with three pitches:

1.  A plus 92+ fastball that breaks gloveside, as do almost all fastballs.

2.  A "splitfinger" pitch at 80 mph that breaks almost exactly the same way.

3.  a useless 84 MPH "changeup" (-0.99 runs per 100 relative to average) that also breaks gloveside, which he cannot command in the zone -- ergo, all his pitches break into a left-handed hitter

Now, the Mariners claim that he's got a slider breaking in to a right-handed hitter.  IFF this were true it could transform Miranda's career, because it could keep RH hitters (32 HR in 484 AB) in 2017 from leaning out and barrelling up his fastball and split.

Newz or Noiz?  I actually had thought I'd seen Miranda throw some weird pitches that moved gloveside this spring.  He's got 8 IP and an 8:5:1 slash. Keep an eye out to see whether his fledgling slider can actually hit some righties in the back foot.  If it can, which Dr. D is quite skeptical about, Miranda will take a large plateau leap up.


The M's have a lot of old players who are sitting out a few days because of soreness.  Boomstick has a quad, Cano has a hammy, Felix is doing his drama-queen thing about the bruise on his arm (and he does want to go Opening Day, he'll have you know), Marc-O got hit on the right wrist, etc.

Seems like all of them are tickets to a couple of days off in the training room.  Old guys know when to hold up and take care of their legs.  Now, the pain in Andrew Romine's shoulder, that we couldn't tell you.  But if Taylor Motter opens as the backup shortstop, how shattered ARE you?

Haniger's hand will be painful for a couple weeks more but should be fine for Opening Day.  Healy's hand we hope will give Dan Vogelbach 100 AB's.  Erasmo's lat has to be ready by April 17, or else ... Miranda.


Ichiro drew a walk and then we got to see his speed as he scored on a Segura triple into the RF corner.  It isn't what it was in 2001, when his speed revolutionized BaseballHQ, but man.  For a 44-year-old man he could set up a footrace against anybody in an M's unie.

He's always been Japanese about stealing bases - mistakes are unacceptable - so we assume that 2016's ratio of 10 SB's to 2 CS's will be the most we can expect there.  But he's still got plenty of 1Bs-to-3B's left in those legs, we assure you.


Tom Wilhelmsen's exit was part injury, sure, but Nick Rumbelow's wasn't.  It was also part Dan Altavilla and part #5 starter in that last RP slot.  Altavilla has been the best reliever in camp.  He's been throwing a hairy fastball into a teacup and then dropping a big 12-6 slider on guys for strike three.  9:1 CTL in five innings.


Unless Art Warren has been even better.  He's the kid this year threatening to jump three levels with a 98 fastball and an evil demeamor.  Why hasn't Gordon written this guy, is what we'd like to know.  He's another converted starter who gained many, many, MANY miles an hour on his fastball upon his conversion, like Edwin Diaz.


But the next big thing might be after we watch the Rockies' tape.  Rob Whalen has got ... WHAAAaaaaaaaaa?! a 19:4 CTL in 13 innings and some kinda 84-MPH breaking pitch that breaks down like a Trevor Hoffman change.  2 earnies in those 13 innings, which also lead the ballclub, we'll have you know.  (Well, Leake has 13.1, to be technical).  POTD on Whalen tomorrow, mebbe.  I think that breaking pitch is causing the crowd to close in on enemy hitters, maybe.


Dr D



The minute you talk up Warren and Altavilla, they both completely implode against minor leaguers.



Miranda's 3 innings at Cincinnati from the DVR.  My perspective from replay:

1st inning:  There's a definite drop and glove side ride on 3 pitches to the 3rd and 4th batters.  Ball 3 and 4 to lefty Votto and the one pulled out to LF by Mesoraco.  Those looked like definitely what we're talking about but there's 3 other pitches from the inning that might have been. Strike 1 on RH Gosman, just before Votto, looked like it might have started outside and come back into the plate as it was watched.  2 of the next 3 pitches looked similar but swung over to complete the K for out #2. 

2nd inning...2 ignored by LH, 1 by RH moving down and gloveside off the zone.  Then strike 3 to end the inning on a RHB.

3rd... starts off with a 12-6 inside to LHB, which used to describe his Slider.  2nd pitch dropped and rode away, swung over.  I think the next may have been another that didn't break, base hit (based on setup).  Next batter RH, throws 2 pitches in a row outside that drop in for looking Ks.  Mesoraco almost hit another one out (foul) and he stopped going to the pitch.  That inning was the eventual bases loaded 1 out pop to CF that the runner at 3rd tagged and got gunned down by Dee just a few pitches later.

I counted 10 placed low on gloveside, 3 that seemed to slide into the arm side of the zone from looking outside it to start and another flat pitch that the setup matched the 10.  That seems high, it's possible I misread some.  Probably 6 or 7 of the 10 were bounced, but either 2 or 3 solid out pitch looking Ks on the ones that were commanded and controlled.  But also the HR from Mesoraco who seemed to love the low and inside pitches.  I saw the potential of a plus pitch anyway, just not consistently.  He definitely has a pitch that breaks gloveside but it seemed like it might mostly be breaking too early or thrown too low.

The Reds announcer kept calling them splitters but that's not how his split normally moves.  But then he had a slider previously that broke differently so I'm not really certain.


for him breaks in to lefties, which I did not see.  A spot or 2 in the article seems to be crossed up and I followed one of those so was looking for breaking in to RHB.  Much of his stuff does that it seems.  Probably some of the maybes I saw were changes with break but there's no velocity to double check in spring.

Or I'm just confused...

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