Friday, May 27, 2011

Fili's GODs for May 27th 2011: Rockies v Cardinals and Mariners v Yankees

Two games tonight that I'm especially interested in.  The first is the Colorado Rockies vs the St. Louis Cardinals.

Rockies' rookie Juan Nicasio makes his major league debut against the Cardinals.  Nicasio is a 24 year old right-hander making his first major league start.   Nicasio is 5 - 1 with a 2.22 ERA in AA thus far.  More importantly he has 10.01 K/9 and just 1.59 BB/9.  Nicasio does a decent job of getting ground balls but his percentages have been decreasing at each level:
A - 49%
Hi A - 45%
AA - 42%
Nicasio throws a mid-90's fastball, slider and change up.

Pitching in the bigs against a potent Cardinals offense (117 wRC+; 2nd in baseball) is a big jump for a guy who was pitching in High A Ball last season.

The second game features another young pitcher, Michael Pineda.  I reviewed Pineda's review here.  Pineda was very good that day, and has been even better since.  Pineda is 6 - 2 with a 2.16 ERA for Seattle in 9 starts.  He's striking out 9.41/9 and walking just 2.16/9.  His 2.26 FIP is better than every starter's in baseball not named Roy Halladay or Matt Garza.

He is showing the left/right split that I was concerned about:
vs L: K/9=8.78, BB/9=2.36, HR/9=.68
vs R: K/9=9.95, BB/9=1.99, HR/9=.28
He's just been so good that it hasn't mattered.

I was concerned about his change up not being good enough to get out left-handed batters.  He's responded by only throwing it 6% of the time.  His run value per 100 change ups is slightly negative, but only -.22.

He's thrown his fastball (62%) and slider (32%) much more often.  Both of those pitches have been excellent.  His fastball has been worth 1.69 runs per 100 pitches while the sider has been worth 2.93 runs per 100 pitches.  That's the 8th best fastball and 12th best slider amongst starters.

Tonight he faces a challenge.  The New York Yankees and their #1 (118 wRC+) offense.  He gets a bit of a reprieve though, as the game is in cavernous SAFECO field and not New Yankee Colosseum.  SAFECO is particularly hard on left-handed batters, which the Yankees have plenty of (Granderson, Cano, Gardner and switch hitters Teixeira, Swisher and Posada), with an 86 park factor for home runs according to StatCorner.    

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