PITCHf/x Scouting Report: Jake Arrieta

The Orioles send right handed pitcher Jake Arrieta to the mound tonight to face Ivan Nova and the Yankees. Arrieta was a 5th round draft pick from the Baltimore Orioles back in 2007. By 2009, the 23 year old pitcher played through double-A and triple-A, as well as being ranked the #67 prospect by Baseball America. In 2010, Arrieta dominated triple-A with a 1.85 ERA, 7.9 K/9, and 4.2 BB/9, in 73.0 innings, and was promoted to the major league rotation. Between his 2010 and 2011 season in Baltimore, he’s posted a 4.88 ERA, 5.9 K/9, and 4.4 BB/9, in a disappointing 219.2 innings. He’s seen some improvement in his fastball and statistics this year, so we’ll delve into his career selection, as well as his 2012 velocity and breaks.

Pitch Repertoire

Arrieta has a 5 pitch repertoire. His two fastballs are a 94 mph four-seam and 93 mph sinker, which are coupled with an 87 mph changeup. He also has two breaking pitches, an 87 mph slider, and a 78 mph curveball.… Click here to read the rest

PITCHf/x Scouting Report: Brian Matusz

Tonight, the Orioles send left handed pitcher Brian Matusz up against the Yankees’ Phil Hughes. There are plenty of similarities between the two pitchers, but what it boils down to are two highly touted pitching prospects, who are now 25 years old and failing in the rotation. After being drafted as the 4th overall selection in the 2008 draft, Matusz decimated hitters at high-A and AA, earning his first shot in the big leagues at 22 years old. Although he wasn’t overly dominant, his first two years with the Orioles were successful, posting a 4.37 ERA, 7.4 K/9, and 3.1 BB/9 in 220.1 innings in the tough division of the American League East. In 2011, Matusz saw his velocity drop from 91.5 mph to 88.0, which was accompanied by a 10.69 ERA, 7.66 FIP, and a demotion to AAA. While it appears that some changes to his delivery and offseason work have regained his velocity, he’s been far from good in his first 4 starts this season.… Click here to read the rest

PITCHf/x Scouting Report: Jason Hammel

Tonight, the Orioles will send right handed pitcher Jason Hammel to the mound in the Bronx. Originally drafted by the Rays in 2002, Hammel saw his first major league game in 2006. Although he was a highly touted pitching prospect, he spent his 3 seasons with the Rays in limbo between the rotation and the bullpen, posting a 5.90 ERA. At the beginning of the 2009 season, the Rockies traded for the 26 year old at the time and stretched him out as a starter. He would go on to post a 4.33 ERA and 3.71 FIP in his first season in Colorado, and followed that up with a very similar 2010 season. Last year, Hammel saw a decrease in his strikeout numbers and an increase in his walks, and although he posted an ERA close to 2010, this time his FIP was 4.83. At the beginning of this year, the Rockies traded him along with Matt Lindstrom for Jeremy Guthrie, and it appears the Orioles have changed a few things about the starter.… Click here to read the rest

PITCHf/x Scouting Report: Max Scherzer

The Tigers will send right handed pitcher Max Scherzer to the mound for the rubber game of this matchup. The 27 year old was an 11th overall round pick in the 2006 draft by the Diamondbacks. After a successful minor league career, he started his first full season in 2009, before being traded to the Tigers in the three team Curtis Granderson deal for Ian Kennedy and Edwin Jackson. In his first year with Detroit, Scherzer posted a 3.50 ERA, 3.71 FIP, 8.46 K/9, and 3.22 BB/9 through 195.2 innings. He followed up his 2010 performance with a similar season in 2011, but his biggest performance was in game 2 of the ALDS, where he went 6 innings in Yankee Stadium, giving up only 2 hits and no runs. He went on to pitch terribly in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Rangers, ending the Tiger’s playoff hopes.

Pitch Repertoire

Scherzer throws four different pitches. His 93 mph four-seam fastbal  has slightly less “rising” action that your typical fastball, but also moves into a right handed hitter similar to a two-seam.… Click here to read the rest

PITCHf/x Scouting Report: Drew Smyly

Rookie pitcher Drew Smyly takes the mound for the Tigers this afternoon. After an exceptional college career, Smyly was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2010 draft and received a $1.1 million signing bonus. In 2011, the Tigers started the left handed pitcher in high-A where he went on to post a 2.58 ERA, 2.34 FIP, 8.63 K/9, and 2.35 BB/9 in 80.1 innings. He also started 45.2 innings in double-AA last year, posting an even better 1.18 ERA, 2.21 FIP, 10.45 K/9, and 2.96 BB/9. Despite only pitching one season of minor league ball, the 22 year old impressed this spring by holding hitters to a .180 average and striking out 14 over 18.0 innings. He was promptly inserted into the major league rotation, and thus far it appears the Tigers have at least a mid rotation starter in Smyly. Although he’s faced the Rays, Royals, and Rangers thus far, the Yankees look to be his toughest match up thus far with a lineup loaded with hitters that can destroy lefties.… Click here to read the rest

PITCHf/x Scouting Report: Justin Verlander

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Over the last couple of games, the Yankees have hit an odd patch of offensive trouble, scoring only 3 runs between their last 2 games. Things won’t get much easier Friday evening, as the Tigers send out their starting pitcher Justin Verlander. I consider a handful of starting pitchers in the ace category, and Verlander is certainly close to the top of that list. Not only did the right handed pitcher lead the American Leaguer in ERA, IP, SO, ERA+, WHIP, and H/9, but he swept the Cy Young votes and took the MVP award as a pitcher for the first time since 1992. We usually use this scouting report to analyze the opposing pitcher for the upcoming game and understand their strengths and weakness, but a lot of what Verlander does should be taken as precedent for good pitching. As you’ll see, he does very little wrong, and if you want to understand what makes good break, selection, and location, this is your guy.… Click here to read the rest

PITCHF/x Scouting Report: Scott Feldman

In the rubber game of this series, right handed pitcher Scott Feldman will take the mound on Wednesday night. After being selected in the 30th round of the 2003 draft, Feldman made his first major league appearance as a reliever in 2005. He continued his career in the bullpen until 2008, when new pitching mechanics encouraged the team to move him to the rotation. He went on to make 25 starts in his 151.1 innings, posting a 5.29 ERA, 5.35 FIP, and 4.40 K/9. After the rough year, Feldman was moved back to the bullpen before an injury pushed him back to the rotation. It was his most successful season in the majors, posting a 4.08 ERA, 4.31 FIP, and a 5.36 K/9, 3.08 BB/9. In 2010, Feldman received a two-year $11.5 million extension and was announced as the opening day starter for the Rangers, but posted a horrific 5.48 ERA, 4.73 FIP, and 4.78 K/9. While he was mostly injured last year, he pitched out of the bullpen with 32.0 innings in total, despite the Rangers attempting to option him down.… Click here to read the rest

PITCHF/x Scouting Report: Yu Darvish

Yu Darvish is the newest high-profile Japanese player to ship out to the MLB. There will be plenty of narratives when the Yankees play Texas tonight. Hiroki Kuroda v. Darvish might be proclaimed the battle for the title of best Japanese starter, but what I’ll be watching is the pitching. The 25 year old right hander is undoubtedly the NPB’s most successful pitcher to head to the Major Leagues, and the Rangers invested over $110 million to have him play for Arlington. If you read the hype during his posting, Darvish has a huge pitching repertoire, and numerous sources said he had more than a few plus pitches. While I dreaded tackling this article due to his pitch arsenal, I also loved the challenge. As I’ve stated before, I’m still in the process of developing my own database for this series, and I’m heavily reliant on TexasLeaguers and BrooksBaseball. Turns out that TexasLeaguer’s GameDay’s algorithm for identifying pitch types absolutely rules, and although it’s not perfect, it did an incredible job with Darvish.… Click here to read the rest

PITCHF/x Scouting Report: Derek Holland

After “sweeping” the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees are on their way to face the Texas Rangers and Derek Holland. As recently as 2009, Holland was ranked #31 by Baseball America’s top 100 prospect. Although he struggled after being called up in 2009, he posted a 1.78 ERA through the PCL in 2010. After being called up in the second half of 2010, the pitcher went on to post a solid 4.02 FIP, followed by a 3.94 FIP last year. Like the rest of the rotation, the 25 year old lefty has been phenomenal through his first 3 starts this year, posting a 3.10 ERA, 8.9 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, and only a 5.3 H/9. He’s thrown quality starts against all 3 clubs as well, the White Sox, the Mariners, and the Red Sox. Holland has always had serious top of the rotation potential, and 2012 could be the year that he reaches that potential.

Pitch Repertoire
His pitching arsenal consists of four different pitches.… Click here to read the rest