Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Debut Review: Alexi Ogando and Michael Pineda

Two interesting pitchers made their debuts as major league starters today.

The Texas Rangers' Alexi Ogando

and the Seattle Mariners' Michael Pineda.

Ogando pitched in relief for the Rangers last year while Pineda is one of the Mariners top prospects.

I said this earlier today:
An interesting game today that, unfortunately, I'll be too busy to either watch or keep tabs on:
Seattle at Texas. While Texas is really good and Seattle, likely isn't, both teams will start pitchers making their first career starts. 
Alexi Ogando starts for Texas while Michael Pineda goes for the Mariners. 
One specific thing to watch will be how both pitchers fair against left-handed hitters. As is the case with most young pitchers, both have explosive fastballs and questionable secondary offerings. Those 'secondary offerings' are change-ups in both cases. 
Ogando used his change up only 5% of the time last season as a reliever. It rated as a basically average pitch according to FanGraphs' pitch type values. Alexi Ogando » Statistics » Pitching | FanGraphs BaseballOgando dominated right-handed batters to the tune of 10.4K/9, 2.2BB/9 and a 2.07 FIPLeft-handed hitters were a different story: 4.15K/9, 6.23BB/9 and a 5.23 FIP.The raw numbers:vs L: 58 batters faced, 11 hits, 9 walks, 6 K'svs R: 113 batters faced, 20 hits, 7 walks, 33 K'sOgando will have to face a few lefties today including: Ichiro, Jack Cust, Milton Bradley, Ryan Langerhans or Michael Saunders, Justin Smoak, Chone Figgins, and Adam Kennedy.
Pineda will have to face a few lefties as well: Josh Hamilton, Mitch Moreland, Julio Borbon, and David Murphy.
How their off-speed pitches are working will go a long way to determining how successful they are against these lineups.
So, how'd they do?

Ogando pitched 6 innings giving up 2 hits, 2 walks and striking out 4.  He held Seattle scoreless.
Pineda pitched 6 innings giving up 5 hits, 1 walk and striking out 4.  He gave up 3 runs.

They both pitched pretty well.  My main concern was how they would fare against left-handed batters.

Ogando allowed 4 base runners, all of them left-handed.  However, most of Seattle's lineup was left-handed, so it's not surprising that he'd give up some hits to lefties.
Single to Bradley, BB to Cust, 2B to Kennedy, BB to Bradley

Pineda allowed 5 base runners, 3 of them left-handed.
Pineda: 3B to Moreland, 2B to Moreland, 1B to Kinsler-R, 2B to Hamilton, 2B to Young-R
Righties were were 2 - 17 with a walk and 3 strikeouts.
Lefties were 3 - 7 with 2 doubles and a triple.  Moreland isn't a great hitter but a lot of guys have given up doubles (or more) to Hamilton.

This isn't enough data to confirm that either pitcher will struggle with lefties, but let's take a look at how they approached them.

First Ogando,
According to Brooks Baseball, Ogando threw 78 pitches: 49 fastballs (63%), 28 sliders (36%), and a single change-up (1%).   According to FanGraphs, last year Ogando threw fastballs 64% of the time, sliders 31% of the time, and change-ups 5% of the time.  Interesting that he pitched almost exactly the same as a starter as he did out of the pen.  That's one way to eliminate concerns over his change-up; don't throw it.

It appears that the change-up that Ogando threw was the first pitch to Chone Figgins in Figgins' at bat in the 6th inning.  It was a ball clocked at 84 MPH.  He followed that up with a 93 MPH fastball for a strike, a 83 MPH slider for a ball, and another fastball that was grounded back to Ogando.

Ogando's fastball averaged 94 MPH with a high of 96 MPH.  Last season his fastball averaged 96.3 MPH.  A two MPH drop is reasonable when going from the bullpen to the rotation.  Ogando's slider averaged 79.5 tonight compared to 81.9 last season.

As for Pineda,
Brooks Baseball shows Pineda throwing 73 pitches in his 6 innings.  46 of them were fastballs and the other 27 were sliders.  Pineda completely avoided throwing any off speed pitches.

Pineda's fastball averaged 93.9 MPH while maxing out at 97.7.  His slider came in at 83.3 MPH on average.

It appears that both teams shared the concerns about their young pitchers' tertiary offerings, and didn't have them throw them.  Today, their stuff was good enough that they could get away with it.  At some point both guys will have to expand their repertoire to continue to have success as starters.  

No comments:

Post a Comment