Friday, April 29, 2005
While I love to read and write about baseball, I don't always have a good idea about what to write. I try not to do stuff that other people have done, and if I do, I tend to cite them (at some point) or I probably haven't seen the article that is similar.
So when someone says something in passing to me about baseball, if it looks like something worth exploring, I do.
I was talking with a high school buddy of mine who is a Phillies' fan, and, as the Phillies were wrapping up their 3-0 win over the Nats, he IM'ed something to the affect of "nice outing from Myers." We started talking about how Myers is looking a bit better this year (I've only seen him a bit), and then he said, "Myers is using a cut fastball this year and it's working wonders."
I quickly responded, "I feel vindicated," because I watched a couple of innings of his debut on WGN, and my "scouting report" was that he needed a third pitch besides his fastball and curve. It seemed that I was right. But I wasn't sure; I wanted to check out some other sources.
The other thing I said was, "Myers doesn't go deep into games." It's one of the things I picked up on while looking at stats after the season. So I wanted to check this out, too.
First off, what do the scouts say about Mr. Myers?
"Everybody agrees that Myers has great stuff, and one scout compares his potential to Josh Beckett of the Marlins. Myers' fastball is above average, and he has a swing-and-miss curve that ranks among the best in baseball. He also has a splitter and a slider, and once he begins to throw his changeup effectively and with confidence, he could be a top-of-the-rotation starter. Even without the changeup, Myers can be dominant when he has command of his fastball and curve. He still has a tendency to simply try to throw harder with runners on base." - ESPN.com.
I'm a Mets fan, so I watch a lot of NL East ball in general. I've never seen him throw a splitter or a slider. So my "third pitch" philosophy was partially wrong. I still think it's very difficult for a starting pitcher to make his living on just two pitches. The report says it well; adding a changeup would make a big difference.
I don't particularly understand scouting, so I won't put too much stock into that analysis.
My other point and main point, though, did have some credence last year. Myers averaged 16.1 pitches per inning, and, coupled with the low workload that the Phils were aiming for, Myers only averaged 5.7 innings per start.
Out of 86 major league qualifiers, however, Myers' 16.1 P/IP was actually right in the middle at #39, right above Jason Schmidt and below Pedro Martinez. So my original analysis also failed to account for the way that the Phillies were protecting his arm. They've done a good job with that; he's still all in one piece.
That said, I suspect that his lack of innings/start is not entirely a product of the team. So there were problems here. Myers' offseason media rage was also problematic, and I was beginning to think that we had a bust on our hands, back in February.
Myers has done his best to make me look bad, here, because he's having an excellent year in the early going.
One of the major reasons for Myers' problems in 2004 was in his homer figures. CBP was a home run hitter's haven last year, allowing a 2.047 factor. That's higher than Coors' and behind only the 'Stros at Minute Maid Park.
If you look at the H/R splits on HR/9:
1.40 HR/9 is not particularly good, but it's certainly better than the alternative.
2004 saw a worrisome drop in K/9 from the rookie, from 6.67 to 5.93. Yet in '05, he's posting a 9.24 K/9. I went back to the minor league stats and found that Myers' highest K/9 over a full season was a 7.50 K/9. It would surprise me to see his current K/9 be sustained, but I suspect that it's possible. I can't recall a case where someone jumped up that much, unfortunately.
Myers having "held his own" at age 22 in the majors is a strong sign for some future success. Additionally, he mounted his 4.45 ERA at that age while suffering from a .308 BABIP. The signs were there for some serious improvement...but it never came. At least not in 2004.
Myers has been highly touted for a few years now, and it looks like he might be developing into his potential. He's another guy on the list of "if he can hold his own at a young age in the majors, he could be a star" type players. Again, I really, really try to avoid this method because I think that there are too many players who can flame out. But the early returns are good this year from Myers. He's working more efficiently, walking even fewer batters (3.17 BB/9 last year, down from '03, even on a bad year), striking out more, throwing fewer pitches, and working deeper into games.
My immediate prediction is that he will be among the most productive pitchers for the Phils this year, and, without his success, the playoffs seem unlikely. The Ks will probably drop, but that 2.43 BB/9 as of now is probably doable, and that’s a nice one to have from a 24 year old. Myers is looking better by the start. I don’t want to join the bandwagon yet, but Myers looks like he’s going to be a solid big leaguer, at this point, and possibly more than that.
Can't ask for much more. Let's see if he can keep it up.
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Myforehead was soaked in sweat, and my cunt shook from a cruelly inducedorgasm. without further adieu, I hereby present Atlantas Information Technology Manager of the Year award to Michael Collins.