Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Good morning everyone!
Instead of going back and giving you four or five days worth of minor league updates and Twins updates, I'll just start with last night and we'll go forward. So below, you'll get some Twins thoughts, some former Twins thoughts and the daily minor league update.
But last night, I figured it was now time to do one of my pitching analyses on Kevin Slowey. I decided not to do it during his big league debut because I don't necessarily think that is fair because a pitcher likely is pitching with many more nerves than he would after a couple of starts were under his belt. Now, this probably wasn't fair tonight either as the skipped Slowey in his last start so it was eight days since his previous start. But, I did think it would be good to get a better feel for what Kevin Slowey does as a pitcher. So, what were some of my assumptions coming into the game? Well, I think we knew that he throws a lot of fastballs, but how many? And, what were his other pitches and how often and when does he throw them? Let's just see how he did:
Let's start with the high level look at Slowey's performance:
IP H R ER BB SO
Kevin Slowey 5.0 6 5 4 0 5
Of the 91 pitches that Slowey threw, 67 of them (73.6%) were strikes. That is an excellent percentage. Generally 67% is considered very good.
Here is a breakdown of the type of pitch that Slowey threw.
Fastball - 67 (73.6%)
Slider - 19 (20.9%)
Curveball - 4 (4.4%)
Change Up - 1 (0.1%)
So here is a breakdown of his strikes and balls with each of his pitches. Observation told me that he had terrific control of his fastball most of the game. He didn't get a lot of strikes with the other pitches though.
Fastball - 53/67 strikes (79.1%)
Slider - 11/19 strikes (57.9%)
Curveball - 2/4 strikes (50.0%)
Changeup - 1/1 strikes (100.0%)
Here are the number of pitches he threw each inning and the type of pitch. He definitely led with the fastball and mixed in just enough of his secondary pitches to make his fastball look quicker.
1st inning - 15 pitches (13 fastball, 2 sliders)
2nd inning - 19 pitches (15 fastball, 3 sliders, 1 curveball)
3rd inning - 22 pitches (14 fastball, 5 sliders, 3 curveballs)
4th inning - 12 pitches (7 fastball, 4 sliders, 1 changeup)
5th inning - 23 pitches (18 fastball, 5 sliders)
Total - 91 pitches (67 fastball, 4 curveballs, 19 sliders, 1 changeup)
It didn't really surprise me that Slowey was able to maintain velocity on his fastball (and his other pitches) throughout the game.
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup
1st inning - 89.6 84.0 N/A N/A
2nd inning - 90.2 84.7 79.0 N/A
3rd inning - 89.6 84.0 78.3 N/A
4th inning - 89.3 83.8 N/A 81.0
5th inning - 89.2 83.0 N/A N/A
Did Slowey alter the pitches he threw each time through the batting order? The Blue Jays had just one hit the first time through the order. They had four hits the second time through. Five batters faced Slowey a third time with only Vernon Wells hitting a two out, opposite field single in the 6th.
Time Through Order FB FB% SL SL% CB CB% CU CU% Total Pitches
1st 34 82.9% 5 12.2% 2 5.9% 0 4.9% 41
2nd 23 65.7% 9 25.7% 2 5.7% 1 2.9% 35
3rd 10 66.7% 5 33.3% 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 15
So what does this show? Not much. He mixed up his pitch selection a little bit better the second time around. The first two batters the second time through the order each homered. Vernon Wells hit a fastball. Alexis Rios hit a hanging curveball.
Here is a quick look at the pitches he threw on each count.
FB SL CB CU
0-0 16 6 0 0
0-1 12 3 0 0
0-2 6 1 1 0
1-0 6 0 0 0
1-1 5 2 1 0
1-2 12 3 2 0
2-0 1 1 0 0
2-1 2 2 0 0
2-2 7 1 0 1
Last night, Slowey threw first pitch strikes to 16 of 22 batters. You will notice a couple of very positive things in this list. First, there were no three-ball counts. Not a single 3-0, or 3-1 or even 3-2.
It was a rough outing for Slowey in terms of the overall results. If you were to just look at that box score and see five runs in five innings, you probably would say it was a poor start. I'm not going to insult your intelligence and tell you that Slowey pitched great. He didn't, but I would also say that he wasn't as bad as it looks either. So, let's look at a few things. The fact that there wasn't a single three-ball count speaks to his terrific control. Almost 80% of his fastballs were strikes and it surprised me that almost 60% of his sliders were for strikes. Occasionally, he had really good movement on his two-seemer, particularly to left-handers. I thought that he followed the game plan on Frank Thomas and Troy Glaus to a T. Of course, the ability to control the fastball is all it takes to get those guys out.
Control of the fastball is something that is preached in the Twins organization. I have seen a lot of pitchers for the Twins in the last 20 years, and I can't remember ever seeing anyone throw more strikes. Maybe Bob Tewksbury. At times Brad Radke. But control of the fastball has to mean not just throwing strikes, but throwing quality strikes to spot. Now, I am also of the opinion that every pitcher makes a bunch of mistake pitches during the course of a game. A pitcher who throws a no-hitter probably threw a couple of pitches that got too much of the plate and the batter popped it up, or just missed it. As great of control of the fastball as I thought that Slowey showed, he made a couple of mistake pitches that got too much of the plate. The pitch that Vernon Wells homered on was supposed to be on the inside corner. Instead, it was just above the knees and right over the plate. The next batter, Alexis Rios, popped up a hanging curveball that just spun. Rios hit it high and it dropped just over the fence. In the fifth inning, Slowey gave up three singles to start the inning. Adam Lind golfed a low fastball to center. Jon McDonald grounded through the left side of the infield. Vernon Wells then blooped a single to right field.
I'm not making excuses. It wasn't a great start for Kevin Slowey, and he wouldn't tell you that it was. He did have five strikeouts in five innings. The strikeouts came on: Fastball, Fastball, Curveball, Fastball and Fastball. If I were to make just one distant observance:
The fastball is coming in at 89-91. The slider is coming in from 84-86. The curveball is at 78-79. The changeup was at 81. In my mind, the slider velocity is a little too close to the fastball, and it has no sink, so it remains hittable. The curveball is actually 11-13 mph slower and it drops. If kept at or below the knees, I think that is the preferable pitch. I would also like to see him throw a few more changeups. Now, I have always said that a good cutter is the toughest pitch to hit in baseball. If Slowey's slider is actually a cutter, then he needs to stick with it, but make sure that it ends up off the plate to right-handers.
So, what do you think? Is Kevin Slowey worthy of 'top prospect' status? Can he be an "ace"? I still believe that the Brad Radke comparisons are apt. I think that Slowey just needs to continue to work his secondary pitches. Radke was known for his changeup, but he actually threw probably 75% fastballs too. What does he have to work on? Should his spot in the starting rotation remain solid? What are your general thoughts on Kevin Slowey now? Send me an e-mail or leave some Comments below.
Just a couple of additional thoughts on the Twins:
Justin Morneau is in Minnesota. He will be re-evaluated in the morning, and hopefully all will be well. Even if he is, hopefully they will give him a few more games off.
Luis Castillo got his hand stepped on by Roy Halladay, and could not make his at bat with two outs in the bottom of the 9th. Unlike much of the blogosphere, I have no problem with Luis Rodriguez entering the game at that time.
It sounds also like Jeff Cirillo may have to get his knee checked out. That wouldn't be good!
Torii made another impressive catch. I thought he had a couple of home runs, and in the end, they wouldn't have been homers.
I really liked seeing Jason Bartlett in the #2 spot in the order. If he can handle that, then Mauer can go back to #3 and Cuddyer to four and so on. Then the Twins would be solid six or seven deep. \
Cristian Guzman is now out for the season after surgery on torn ligaments in his left hand.
JD Durbin will be starting for the Phillies on Friday night. I hope he does well!
Darnell MacDonald should report to Rochester and help out the Red Wings. That was a pretty solid pick up for a guy that the Twins didn't really even care to have back (Levale Speigner).
Scott Baker is on the mound tonight. Is he still on a start-by-start basis or was his last start good enough to give him a few extra starts?
Any thoughts on the series, please let me know! Send me an e-mail, or leave Comments below.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE NOTES
SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Ozzie Lewis, Elizabethton Twins
SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - Ryan Mullins, New Britain Rockcats
If you have any thoughts on the Twins system, please e-mail me.
Monday - Red Wings 2, Charlotte 6 – David Gassner fell to 2-8 with his 5.1 inning performance. He gave up three runs on four hits. He walked two and struck out four. Carmen Cali gave up three more over the final 2.2 innings. He allowed six hits. Garrett Jones led the offense. He went 2-4 with his 11th home run. Jose Morales was 2-5 with his 15th double. Glenn Williams was 2-4. Tommy Watkins went 2-3 with a walk. Alexi Casilla was 1-3 with two walks and his 16th steal.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Monday - Rockcats 5, Connecticut 2 – Ryan Mullins was excellent in this game but still got a no decision. The lefty worked the first 7.2 innings and gave up two runs on five hits. He walked just one and struck out ten. Tim Lahey got the final four outs (and his 6th win). Matt Moses went 3-4 with his second double and two RBI. Garrett Guzman and Luke Hughes each hit a double.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Monday - Miracle 0, Palm Beach 4 - Zach Ward ... at some point, you have to start feeling bad for him. He is now 2-10, but he has a 3.04 ERA. He worked the first six innings. He gave up three runs (2 earned) on five hits. He walked three and struck out three. Armando Gabino then gave up a run and struck out two in his two innings. The Miracle managed just four hits. The three newbies each had one. Brian Dinkelman had a triple.
Monday - Snappers 5, Cedar Rapids 9 – Cole DeVries was terrific through the first six innings. No runs. And then he started the seventh. In all, he went 6.1 innings and gave up four runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out five. Dan Leatherman came in and went an inning. He gave up a run. Jose Lugo got just one out. He walked four hits and walked two. He gave up four runs and three of them were earned. Robert Delaney had to come in to get that final out. Steve Singleton led the offense, going 3-4 with hit 8th double. Matt Betsill went 2-4 with a walk. Eli Tintor went 2-5 with two RBI.
Monday - E-Twins 20, Princeton 6 – I think it is fair to say that the E-Twins bats were out last night! Ozzie Lewis led the way. He went 5-7 with three doubles and four RBI. Starling De Los Santos went 3-4 before being replaced by recently signed Chris Cates, who went 1-2 with a walk. Rene Tosoni went 3-5 with two walks and four runs scored. Rene Leveret went 3-6 with his second homer, a walk and three RBI. Rodolfo Palacios went 3-6 with a double. Ben Petsch went 0-2, but he walked four times. David Bromberg was the beneficiary of the run support. He got the win by going five shutout innings. He gave up just two hits, walked two and struck out ten. Spencer Steedley didn't allow a run over the next two innings. Dan Latham then gave up six runs on eight hits in the final two innings.
Do you have any further thoughts on any Twins prospects, minor leaguers, or these summaries? I would love any input, or ideas to make it better. Thanks! E-mail me, or also feel free to leave comments below.
Let me know what you think. Send me an e-mail, or let's talk about it in the Comments here. That is it for today!
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