POTD Hector Noesi - Triangulation Dept.


Q.  How do we organize our thinking about Hector Noesi?

A.  By realizing first and foremost that he is a (fast-)moving target.  Can you throw a rock and hit a stop sign?  Sure.  But how about a cat running at full speed, can you hit that?  Let's give it a shot.  

It would be one thing if you tried to guess how Shawn Kelley was going to look as a starting pitcher.  But Noesi is zig-zagging across the grass on not one, but several major axes:

  • He is transitioning from the ML bullpen to the ML rotation, so we have 2 starts to go on.
  • He is transitioning from the minors to the majors, so we only have 40 innings to go on.
  • He is undergoing physical changes coming out of his Tommy John surgery and PED discontinuation.
  • His velocity is wildly changing back-and-forth.
  • His slider and overhand curve are works in progress.
  • His command is not yet completely known.
  • He has gone from 9k, 1bb type lines in the minors to 7k, 3.5bb type lines in the majors.
  • He will be going from Yankee Stadium to Safeco Field.


So that's the first thing to get straight.  If anybody tries to tell you, "Hector Noesi is this guy," such as by telling you that "Hector Noesi is a #4-5 starter," then send them down the street.

Still, SSI will take a shot at it, based on its own guess at where Noesi is going.


Q.  What are Noesi's defining characteristics?

A.  I don't think he has many, from a stats point of view.  You have to go to the tools-scout side with Noesi, since there's so little data on him.


Q.  Why doesn't he have a stats resume you can use?

A.  Because in the minors, he ran 9k, 1bb lines based on simply overmatching hitters.  

It's a funny thing:  Noesi used a hot, located fastball to wipe out minors hitters and rack up fantastic CMD rates.  You know who else does that?  Jose Campos!

This game, in Noesi's case, doesn't work at AAA and above.  He tried to scrabble together an offspeed game in 2010, and his slider and curve have been behind as a result.

Noesi, in this sense, represents the danger for Jose Campos going forward.  The scouts aren't always wrong when they fret about a pitcher's offspeed stuff being behind.  They were about Pineda, but not about Noesi and maybe not about Campos.


Q.  So it's tough to use the stats to triangulate him.

A.  Right.  Noesi could wind up with the same 7k, 3.5bb line in 2012, or it could skew wildly in any direction.  Jason Hammel had 7.1 strikeouts in 2010, and 4.9 in 2011.   You can easily visualize Noesi as a 4.5k, 1bb pitcher, like Blake Beavan and you can easily visualize him with Matt Garza's 8k game.




ghost's picture

This deal is a vote of confidence from Zduriencik regarding his other pitching prospects. Noesi is filler (good filler with upside that will get traded as soon as no longer necessary...but still filler)...I think this means Zduriencik is confident that he's got MLB material amongst his other prospects - Paxton, Hultzen, the forgotten Erasmo Ramirez, and Walker. The Mariners still have silly-good depth for the middle of their rotation AND for the back of it.
They've got Felix...this group for 2-3 (Iwamura, Paxton, Vargas, Hultzen, Walker), and this group for the bottom (Beaven, Furbush, Noesi, Ramirez)
Most teams would slaughter a thousand virgins for that kind of rotation depth up and down the order...MLB-READY depth at that (or darned close).


Hey, Dave and I agree on something!  :- )
Good report.  This is honestly the first point-by-point matchup on an issue,  between SSI and USSM, that I remember in a long time.  Like two or three years.
In particular, am not sure why Doug Fister didn't occur.  Probably was blocking the pain.
Matt Garza remains my closest comp for Noesi.  But it's nice to see folks achieving consensus that Noesi is a pretty cool young  ML-ready starter.


In scouting Hector Noesi and trying to figure out what M's fans can expect, the one thing that you will hear over and over again is that this guy pounds the strike zone and doesn't walk a lot of guys.  Especially in Safeco Field, that's Dr. Jekyll's formula that will transform any pitcher in to a raving monster on the mound and win them a lot of ball games.
There's another guy last year that used that exact same formula and had a monster season for the Mariners -- Doug Fister. In fact, Fister's overall skillset and what I've heard so far regarding Noesi sound really similar actually. Doug Fister has a fastball that averages anywhere between 88-92 MPH with a decent changeup, curve, and slider. Going no farther than that, most people would be inclined to just write him off as an average #4 or #5 pitcher -- nothing special. But the one thing that really stood out about him was exactly what Noesi is reported to do as well -- Fister pounded the strike zone, changed speeds, located well, and didn't walk anybody. Well ... Hector Noesi has a fastball that runs 89-93 MPH, has a good changeup with some movement to it, and also has a curveball and slider that haven't impressed too many folks. And like Fister, he also doesn't walk a lot of guys.
Let's explore that comparison a little more by taking a look at some numbers ...
Bases on Balls/Strikeouts ...
Doug Fister ...
2009 -- 15 BB -- 36 SO = 2.4 K/BB2010 -- 32 BB -- 93 SO = 2.906 K/BB2011 -- 37 BB -- 146 SO = 3.945 K/BB
3 Year Total -- 84 BB/275 SO = 3.27 K/BB Average
Hector Noesi ...
2011 -- 22 BB -- 45 SO = 2.05 K/BB Average
Now if you notice in 2009, Fister had a K/BB ratio much like that of Noesi's (2.4 vs. 2.05 -- very close).
Last year at Yankee Stadium, Noesi walked only 8 and struck out 25 in 31 1/3 innings there (a K/BB Ratio of 3.125). That's a rate that very similar to that put up by Fister in 2010.
Ground Ball Percentage ...
Doug Fister ...
2009 -- 41.3%2010 -- 47.1%2011 -- 47.5%
Hector Noesi ...
2011 -- 40.9%
Again, both appear to really get a lot of ground ball outs. The ground ball rates in Fister's rookie season Noesi's rookie season last year were again very similar.
And with Safeco Field and a really good defense behind him, I'd only expect his numbers to improve as he learns to trust his stuff and his defense more. Consider the Park Factor difference between Safeco Field and the New Yankee Stadium (which opened in 2009). To give you an idea just how much of a friend Safeco Field is to pitchers, here are the averages of the Park Factors between 2009 and 2011 ...
Park Factor 2009-2011 (Average)
New Yankee Stadium -- 1.091 RunsSafeco Field -------------.87166 Runs
Over a 3 year span from 2009-2011, Fister had a 3.09 ERA at Safeco ... versus a 4.08 ERA on the road.
Noesi had a 2.59 ERA in 31 1/3 innings at Yankee Stadium last year ... but had a whopping 6.84 ERA in 25 innings on the road. He also sported a 3.20 ERA before the All-Star Break ... but like Pineda saw those numbers really rise after the All Star Break (to 5.52).
So seemingly, the league started to figure Noesi out as well and he also seemingly liked pitching in front of friendly crowds. This guy is young though and with experience, he's only going to get better. While most out there are calling him a #4 starter, I'd have to say that is a bit misleading. In reality, Noesi and Iwakuma (who we can probably dub at the #3 on this club, going in to camp) really have a pretty similar set of skills. So, the difference between Iwakuma and Noesi isn't going to be truly all that great. Given the fact that he'll have Safeco Field and a very good defense behind him, a year of experience under his belt, and Carl Willis working with him, I'd expect that eventually we'll see similar numbers to the ones that Fister put up over his tenure in Seattle.
In evaluating the Campos-Noesi component of this trade, the easy thing to do (especially in light of Campos' huge upside) would be to label this part of the deal the cobra that could potentially rear up from the grass and strike the M's dead in a few years.  Some experts have criticized Zduriencik this part of the trade in saying exactly that.  But the word "potentially" is exactly the point. 
In listening to scouts regarding Campos, they say that he is a long ways from the Major Leagues -- they estimate that he is 3+ years away.  So in all likelihood the M's have upwards to 3+ years to replace him.  Not only that though, history also says that there is more than a good chance that Campos never amounts to anything.  The bust rate for prospects (especially for young pitchers) is incredibly high.  In conducting an in depth analysis of Mariners draft picks over a 20 year span ... I found that ...
Only 134 of 1150 picks (11.65%) ever played in the Major Leagues (not only including Superstars, but also those Moonlight Grahams that only had 1 AB or pitched to 1 Major League hitter in their career).
Only 58 of 1150 picks (5.04%) had what we would term a decently productive Major League Career.
Only 22 of 1150 picks (2.1%) actually became what we would call Superstar Players.
So, the fact that Zdruriencik was able to get a Noesi back in this deal (a solid #3 or #4 right now) is a signal that Jack Zduriencik is choosing more proven commodities that can help him win RIGHT NOW over potential high upside guys that MIGHT OR MIGHT NOT help him win in the future. Far from being chastised, Jack ought to be lauded by fans for having scored a major coup in getting back a guy that can help the Mariners win right now rather than holding on to a high upside guy who may never do anything at all.  Somewhere out there, Ryan Anderson is shaking his head in resignation of that harsh reality.  

M-Pops's picture

As Doc has stated many times on this site, elite bats are worth more in Seattle than any other place in the AL. It takes special ability to defeat the Safe, as only a handful of M's have been able to do.
Trading Pineda was tough, but I am glad to see Z taking advantage of the stream of successful pitchers coming through Seattle. Trading a Campos makes sense to me because the M's are not in a position to need to retain elite pitchers as Texas, Boston, or the Yankees must do.

Taro's picture

Fister would definetly be the upside scneario. Although if every prospect of this profile was Doug Fister, we'd have 50 Doug Fisters in the league. Fister is Fister thanks to jumping a plateou with his command and stronger offspeed game. If Noesi had Fister's command and offspeed he'd probably be 90% of Cliff Lee.
That said, what is your take on Noesi's followthrough Doc? I don't understand mechanics as well from a performance perspective, but it seems like some pitchers can improve command when they polish they're followthroughs. The part of Noesi's delivery that seems to need work is the followthrough.

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