Thursday, August 24, 2006
Twins Minor League Reports
Analysis of a Phenom
Good morning everyone! I will be heading out of town after work tonight and will not be back home until late on Monday night. So, it is possible that there will be no new entries for a few days. If that is the case, please take some time to post some inter-active questions in the Comments below for the site's readers and get some discussion going.
Today, I am bringing back my Analysis feature. I just had a feeling that Matt Garza would come through with a quality start last night for the Twins. I wasn't able to watch the game live, so I taped it... just in case. When I got home, turned on the TV and saw that Baseball Tonight was showing highlights of the game. I saw how Garza had done, so I knew an Analysis was necessary. So, I watched all six of Garza's innings. Fortunately, Fox Sports North actually posted velocities on all of the pitches, so I think that this analysis is pretty thorough. As I always have to say, however, radar guns always seem to have some level of variation between them, so take the actual numbers for what they are worth. Let's get started with the analysis:
As I mentioned, I just had a gut feeling that Garza would pitch well last night. I have a big gut, so I have to trust it! His debut came against a strong Blue Jays lineup. His second start was against an Indians team that had Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez in its lineup. He gave up some early runs, but he came on strong to go 5.2 innings. So again, it was just a feeling that he would be able to relax more and pitch his game.
So, of course, my question was What is his Game? I don't think that what we have seen so far is truly his game. It was a nerve-filled version of his game. It included overthrowing all of his pitches, and maybe some intimidation. I wanted to see where his fastball really came in when he is just letting the ball go. I wanted to see his curveball and his slider, the differences in velocity and also the difference in motion. Would he throw more or less fastballs? I was just curious to see how he would do, and if he did well, I wanted to better understand why.
So, let's get to the observations!
My gut was right. Garza was very good last night and picked up his first Major League win. It was not only important for Garza, but for the Twins. Now, I thought that he pitched better in his second start than even his numbers showed. Last night, I don't' know if he was quite as good as the numbers would indicate. That is not at all to say that he was poor. He was excellent. But, he was also helped out by several terrific plays by the defense. That said, my other observation was that he got a lot of lazy pop ups in the infield. That tells you that the hitters thought they could hit it, but they just jammed themselves. That tells me that as hard as he was throwing, there must be some deception as well. That is great news!
Anyway, as you know if you've seen these analyses in the past, I tracked, pitch-by-pitch, Garza's pitching performance. I noted which type of pitch he threw and and then jotted down the speed of the pitch given on Fox Sports Net. I realize that the radar gun speed given on the telecast is subject to debate, but it's all I had to work with. So, how did he do it?
Let's start with the high level look at Garza's performance:
IP H R ER BB SO
Matt Garza 6.0 5 1 0 1 1
Of the 84 pitches that Garza threw, 50 of them (59.5%) were strikes. That isn't a great percentage, but he was able to come back from bad pitcher's counts in most of the cases. This is something that will have to improve, particularly against better offensive teams.
Here is a breakdown of the type of pitch that Garza threw.
Fastball - 61 (72.6%)
Curveball - 12 (14.3%)
Slider - 8 (9.5%)
Change Up - 3 (3.6%)
So here is a breakdown of his strikes and balls with each of his pitches. He did a good job of throwing strikes with the fastball, and although the number of strikes with the breaking balls wasn't great, he didn't really miss by much with most of them.
Fastball - 40/61 strikes (69.1%)
Curveball - 6/12 strikes (50.0%)
Slider - 3/8 strikes (37.5%)
Changeup - 1/3 strikes (33.3%)
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 - 12 pitches (9 fastball, 2 curveballs, 1 slider)
2nd inning - 17 pitches (15 fastball, 1 curveball, 1 changeup)
3rd inning - 16 pitches (12 fastball, 3 curveballs, 1 slider)
4th inning - 11 pitches (8 fastball, 1 curveballs, 2 sliders)
5th inning - 14 pitches (7 fastball, 4 curveballs, 2 sliders, 1 changeup)
6th inning - 14 pitches (10 fastball, 1 curveballs, 2 sliders, 1 changeup)
Total - 84 pitches (61 fastball, 12 curveballs, 8 sliders, 3 changeups)
It was interesting to me if Garza was able to maintain velocity on his fastball (and his other pitches) throughout the game. In reality, he was able to throw harder as the game went along. His fastest pitch was a 96 mph fastball to Miguel Tejada in the 6th frame.
Fastball Curveball Slider Changeup
1st inning - 91.4 72.5 82.0 N/A
2nd inning - 92.9 75.0 N/A 80.0
3rd inning - 91.5 80.7 82.0 N/A
4th inning - 93.6 73.0 80.0 N/A
5th inning - 93.7 76.5 81.0 78.0
6th inning - 94.0 79.0 81.5 78.0
Did Garza alter the pitches he threw each time through the batting order? The O's had just one hit the first time through the order. They had three hits the second time through. Six batters faced Garza a third time with just Jay Gibbons hitting a two out, opposite field single in the 6th.
Time Through Order FB FB% CB CB% SL SL% CU CU% Total Pitches
1st 27 79.4% 4 11.8% 2 5.9% 1 2.9% 34
2nd 21 75.0% 5 17.9% 2 7.1% 0 0.0% 28
3rd 13 59.1% 3 13.6% 4 18.2% 2 9.1% 22
So what does this show? Not really anything, just that he threw a lot of fastballs and really just changed speeds on his breaking ball.
Here is a quick look at the pitches he threw on each count. Just two batters had a three-ball count. One of them was Melvin Mora who went 3-0, then 3-1, then 3-2 before getting a pop out.
FB CB SL CU
0-0 17 4 2 1
0-1 7 1 0 0
0-2 3 1 1 0
1-0 10 2 1 0
1-1 7 1 1 0
1-2 5 0 3 1
2-0 5 0 0 0
2-1 2 1 0 1
2-2 1 2 0 0
3-0 1 0 0 0
3-1 2 0 0 0
3-2 1 0 0 0
Last night, Garza threw first pitch strikes to just 12 of 21 batters. Of those 24 batters, he started 13 of them off with a strike.
I thought that Matt Garza was very impressive. His regular numbers look very solid, just one unearned run in six innings. My initial thought was that there were a lot of great defensive plays behind him, so maybe he wasn't actually as impressive as his numbers would indicate. But, as you can see by the lack of three-ball counts, he was still very good. Also, he got a lot of batters to hit into very weak pop ups. He was very good. He threw hard and even harder as the game went along. He needs to get more strikes with his other pitches, but I thought he just missed on many of them. Garza showed why he is highly thought of and why he was so good throughout the minor league season. He is going to be a great pitcher, and it is fun to see that happen already.
So, what do you think? Is Matt Garza still worthy of 'top prospect' status? Can he be an "ace"? Would you picture him as more of a middle of the rotation type? What does he have to work on? Should be be given a spot in the Twins 2007 starting rotation? What are your general thoughts on Matt Garza now? Send me an e-mail or leave some Comments below.
Just a couple of additional thoughts on the Twins:
Hey Michael Cuddyer... Have a Day! He was 3-5 with two doubles and two more RBI. He also had a great diving play in right field.
Jason Bartlett was 3-4 with his 15th double. He is hitting .353.
Torii Hunter was 2-3 with a double and his 18th home run. He also had a web gem and looked a lot more like the old Torii than we have seen in past weeks.
Pat Neshek was impressive. I 'scouted' his pitches as well, but he just doesn't throw enough pitches to get much of a report. Corey Patterson tried to drag bunt on him, but he was put out. Kevin Millar also swung at the first pitch, an 89 mph fastball and popped up weakly to Luis Castillo. Ramon Hernandez actually took some pitches. He saw four straight sliders (84, 85, 87, 87) before flying out to right field. His ERA now is 0.81.
Jason Tyner and Luis Castillo also had two hits. So, the piranhas went 8-18 (.444).
The White Sox also won, so the Twins are still 1/2 game behind them in the AL Wild Card. However, in their game last night, Jim Thome came up lame on a ground rule double. That is a pretty interesting story to follow.
After the game, as I suspected, Rondell White was removed from the Disabled List and Josh Rabe was sent back to Rochester. As I have mentioned elsewhere, I believe he will be recalled after the Rochester Red Wings season is over. Hopefully they will make the playoffs. I think that Rabe, Terry Tiffee, Scott Baker and Chris Heintz are virtual locks to return to the Twins at that time. The other name to mention is Jason Miller. He is a lefty reliever who has been starting much of this season. He is not currently on the 40 man roster, but I am guessing that Terry Ryan and Ron Gardenhire would have no problem taking Mike Smith off the 40 man roster! I think that will be all though.
Tonight at 6:05, it will be Boof Bonser (2-4, 5.51, 1.48, .294) taking on Kris Benson (10-9, 4.63, 1.37, .276) in the rubber match of the series.
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 - David Winfree, Ft. Myers Miracle
SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - Justin Staatz, Elizabethton Twins
If you have any thoughts on the Twins system, please e-mail me.
Wednesday - Red Wings 3, Ottawa 4 – Mike Smith pitched well. In seven innings, he gave up three runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out five. Matt Ford took the loss. In 1.1 innings, he gave up a run. Levale Speigner got the final two outs. The Red Wings managed just four hits in the game. Andres Torres went 2-4 with his 17th double, eighth triple and an RBI.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Wednesday - Rockcats 14, Connecticut 4 – Errol Simonitsch was the beneficiary of some serious run support. The lefty gave up four runs on eight hits and two walks in seven innings. Colby Miller threw two shutout innings. But the story was the offense. Alexi Casilla went 3-5 with his 10th AA double, a triple and two RBI. Denard Span, Trent Oeltjen, Doug Deeds, Matt Moses, Danny Matienzo and Felix Molina each had two hits. Deeds was 2-3 with two walks and his ninth homer.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Wednesday - Game 1 - Miracle 6, Clearwater 5 - Anthony Swarzak won his 10th game last night. In 5.2 innings, he gave up two runs on three hits and three walks. He struck out five. Tim Lahey gave up three runs (2 earned) on three hits and a walk, and he got just two outs. Chris Schutt got the final two outs for his eighth save. Brandon Roberts went 3-4 with his 48th stolen base. David Winfree went 2-4 with his 10th double, 11th homer and four RBI. Justin Arneson and JR Taylor were each 2-3 with a double.
Wednesday - Game 2 - Miracle 4, Clearwater 2 - Trevor Plouffe went 3-3 with his 24th double. David Winfree was 2-3 with his 11th double. Jeff Manship started and gave up two runs on four hits and a walk in four innings. He struck out six. Jose Mijares gets his second win with two shutout innings. Danny Powers got his eighth save with a perfect 7th.
Wednesday - Snappers – No Game Scheduled.
Wednesday - E-Twins 7, Princeton 9 – It was not a good start for Brian Kirwan. In one inning, he gave up seven earned runs on five hits and two walks. Brandon McConnell gave up two runs (1 earned) over the next four innings. Justin Staatz gave up just a walk in his three innings. Danny Valencia was 2-4 with his 12th double and seventh homer. Danny Santiesteban was 2-3 with a walk. Steve Singleton went 2-5 with his fourth triple. Josh Dean was 2-5.
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!|
Back to Archives Home