Michael Pineda and Curt Schilling (2)

=== Schilling 1998 ff ===

By the time Schilling got to about age 30-32, he had developed a Roger Clemens splitfinger.  He threw it a couple of times an inning, but that was not the key to his big leap in strikeouts. 

What happened was that Schilling stopped "pitching to contact," started going after strike three up in the zone, and started racking up the 300-K seasons.

Tim McCarver remarked on Schilling's ability to set batters up with the located fastball and then to blow them away with the high "ladder" fastball:

"Schilling has changed from being an occasional sinkerballer who would throw the slower two-seamer down in the strike zone after getting two strikes on the batter.  Now he is a pitcher who almost always will stick with the high four-seam 95-mph fastball with two strikes.  He didn't get 319 strikeouts [last year] with sinkers" (McCarver, Baseball for Brain Surgeons and Other Fans, 1998).

Schilling, by 1998, was whipsawing this "exploding" 95-mph high fastball with an occasional splitfinger.  As you see from the 2005 chart, Schilling still threw a full 70% fastballs -- which would lead the league -- even as an old man.


=== A Pineda-Soriano Career Arc ===

If Pineda's elbow doesn't hold up, he's going to be Rafael Soriano, except better.  Raffy didn't have much command within the zone, much less Doug Fister command.

Seeing as how Rafael Soriano's career TTO line is 9.8 / 2.7 / 0.9, that would make Pineda one of the game's great closers.


=== A Pineda - Schilling Career Arc ===

If Pineda's elbow does hold up -- and he's a huge, powerful man with a very high strikeout rate, so the odds aren't bad --

(1) He could be very effective immediately, just moving a plus-plus fastball around the strike zone to any extent.  Bartolo Colon and the young Curt Schilling are examples.  Pineda doesn't need plus-plus command to accomplish that.  He just needs better than Brandon Morrow "minus" command.

(2) If and when Pineda developed the ability to hit spots the way Doogie does, then bam, right there he's looking at Curt Schilling's prime.  And scouts have been crediting Pineda with incredible command, since Pineda was in low-A ball.

(3) If and when Pineda then added any second pitch that dropped down out of the zone, then he's got what Schilling had in Arizona and Boston.


SSI suspects that the Mariners know precisely what they've got in Michael Pineda, but that they are understandably white-knuckle about the elbow. 

There aren't a lot of pitchers in the game who stand in the intersection of [95 mph] and [Doug Fister command].  Those who do stand in that intersection, become Bartolo Colon or somebody.

Disappointing season.  Thrilling prospect.



Dr D



Your mention of Schilling made me curious -- is/was there any correlation between his K rate movement and his BABIP?
Well - his best BABIP of his career: 1992: .239 -- K/9 = 5.85 (worst of career)
His other good BABIP years?
1995 - .283 -- (K/9 8.84)
1996 - .284 -- (K/9 8.93)
1999 - .273 -- (K/9 7.59)
The interesting part of this is that the '97/'98 seasons his K/9 spiked to double-digit (11.29 and 10.05), while his BABIP also ballooned to .315 and .318.
Now, this is not a scientific study - and I'm not normalizing for team BABIP, etc., etc., etc.  But, there DOES seem to be a connection (a loose one) between BABIP and K/9 --  As K-rate climbs, BABIP does, too.  (at least for Schilling). 
This, I believe, harkens back to what I witnessed with the Braves' big three for over a decade.  They pitched "consistently".  They threw THEIR best stuff - and executed at a level that thwarted most hitters.  The entire concept of "fooling" the hitters by mixing up pitches wasn't even discussed.  In most cases, the catcher, ump, hitter, pitcher, and 90% of Braves fans KNEW what the next pitch was going to be -- and the hitter would whiff, or hit it weakly.  There was about as much question about what was coming next as there is when Mariano takes the mound. 
But - if the pitcher and hitter KNOW what is coming - so does the defense.  And THAT is huge, (in a sport where 70% of BIPs turn into outs).  Atlanta dominated in pitcher (and defense) for a decade with "fooling hitters" being the lowest of priorities.
And in thinking about it -- if a pitcher gets ahead 0-2 or 1-2, the 'normal' reaction of hitters is to shorten their swings, "protect" the plate.  Here's some food for thought:  What is the BABIP for the AL with 2 strikes?  .287  -- with 3 balls?  .314.
0-2: .291 -- OPS .404
1-2: .272 -- OPS .400
2-2: .274 -- OPS .456
Definitely food for thought.


Any chance of some POTD action on the kid Baker says would put the Mets in the driver's seat for Lee?
Is he really 6-0, 160 and throws nothing but 95?  Didn't start pitching till he was 15, but then was in AA at 19 and MLB at 20? 
Looks like he gives up a lot of hits and walks but seems to be getting away with it.


If you watch any of the College World Series, a guy to watch is Jackie Bradley Jr. of South Carolina.  He has a 19-game hitting streak, more walks than Ks and 13 HR.  Almost seems like a Figgins (good version of Figgins) with more power.  Anyway, he'll be in the top 10 or so of the draft next year and the Ms probably will be picking there. Plays CF and expected to stick there, and also has a great arm. Regardless, he's fun to watch.
Also, the Ms winning streak probably puts him out of reach (as he will certainly be a top-5 pick), but UCLA pitcher Gerrit Cole will get one or two more starts after fanning 13 in 8.0 IP his first time around.
And, TCU pitcher Matt Purke is also fun to watch.  He was a first-round pick who didn't sign with the Rangers, so I don't think he's back in the draft until 2012.  Purke should be pitching this afternoon's game.

TAD's picture

Pineda is an exciting talent who I hope to see in a Mariner's uniform within the next year.  But not now.  This is not the time to push Pineda - there definitely is not the need to win now nor is there a gaping whole in the starting 5, that must be filled now.
I would keep Pineda in Tacoma until he develops confidence and has a desire to use at least on occasion a breaking ball or change up.  Let him develop, so when he does make it to the major leagues he has become more of a complete player who can compete and succeed.  There's no doubting his physical abilities but force him to become a complete player.  Don't arrest his development by prematurely promoting him - would Jose Lopez have developed differently or even a better example is Betancout if they had spent another year or two in the minors with the direction to become more selective hitters before they would be allowed to advance, but for sure they could not have turned out any worse with regards to the potential they both had (Bavasi should not have awarded them multiyear contracts so early in their careers - it took their incentive away to become better players, it actually incentivized them to continue in their current level of performance).
I spent several years out in NJ, where I was subjected to more than my share of Yankee's broadcasts.  But one thing that I rmember Joe Torre saying in an interview - at the major league level we are not about developing players we are about winning.  Yes the Yankees with their expansive payroll is a different beast, but there is a lesson to be learned.  The M's should not use the active roster as an extension of the farm system, with regards to player development. 
When players are breaking into the league there will always be some adjustment and learning necessary in order to have continued success but that should be to polish the players skills not to develop them.
The M's are not at a point where the need a pitcher.  So let's be a little patient, Pineda is still very young and he should be given additional time to develop and hone his skills as a pitcher so he will be able to hit the deck running.
I do not dogmatically hold to this POV in all cases.  For example how the season is going with the M's, I would not mind if they dumped Bradley, Kotchman and Jose Lopez and played Mike Wilson at DH, Tui at 3B and Mangini at 1B going from this point forward to see how they work out - I don't suspect they would perform any worse than the players I listed who are currently holding a position on the M's roster. 
But the need for patience is much more important with a very young player such as Pineda whose development may take a hit with premature advancement. 


*This* is the legit difference between pitching to contact, and not.
When David Aardsma chucks in a 96 heater above the belt, he's going for a swing and miss.  If the batter does catch up to it, he's risking a hard-hit ball or even an HR.
On the other hand, a pitcher who executes a low-away fastball on the black, the hitter *can* make contact, but it's not going to be on the barrel of the bat.
That is precisely the decision that McCarver notes Schilling making -- to pitch less for weak contact, and more to miss bats...
c-points again


And once again we notice that the chatter starts with Mets *fans*... sure, we'll take Lee... but our best prospects are off the table :- )


it hadn't occurred that the M's get a top-10 pick.  Gracias.
Be interesting to see what this admin does with it.


The urgency is gone from my standpoint.
But it isn't from Zduriencik's, and if the corporate decision is to provide a strong product in 2010, then Pineda to the bullpen / rotation is the simplest way to do it... up to them...
I don't buy for a second the report that Pineda won't throw changes and sliders -at all- .  His slider looked good to me in the flash in ST.
But supposing that Pineda threw 90 pitches Wednesday, and 82 of them were fastballs, then I might be inclined to use him in the pen.
Remember Shawn Kelley wasn't supposed to have anything but a fastball, either.  These scouting reports are prone to over-emphasis to make a point.


If I'm doing the math right.  Before the winning streak it was probably more like 4th.  Obviously depends on how they play the rest of the way, but just eyeballing it, they would have to make up a lot of ground to draft any lower than 13th.  Of the 18  teams with winning records, the worst is the WhiteSox at .521, 6.5 games ahead of the Ms.


Jason has it in his premium section, but I don't imagine that his subscription wall is intended to extend even to Pineda's velo?  That wasn't proprietary info; the readings were taken by other guys at the game.
Next Pineda start in Cheney, I'm there baby :- )


Divish wrote that his fastball was 91 - 97. Adam Moore caught him and said that his fastball "cuts and sinks", so I am assuming as you do that he throws a few different types of fastball (4 seam, sinker, cutter).
I know that linking another site is crass, but everyone should read Jeff's interview segments with Curto and Divish. Divish's account of the 5th inning makes me giddy. Ditto Curto's summary.

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