Sunday, April 13, 2008

Notes on Pitchers

I watched a few games today and had the following thoughts:

1) Greg Maddux really knows how to pitch. There is a great piece on today about him that I heartily recommend. It's a bit fanboyish but there is no denying his brilliance. He is always going to be dependent on his defense at this stage of his career but if there is a pitcher who can defy the odds and keep his BABIP down, it's Maddux. Sure, Khalil Greene (or Blondie, to my girlfriend) helped him out by robbing Martin of a base hit on a ball to his glove side, but give credit to Mad Dog. At this rate, the guy could pitch for another five years and win at least ten games a year.

2) Chad Billingsley has nasty, nasty stuff. He struggled to put away San Diego hitters but his curveball had good bite and he was locating his fastball well. His early season problems might be over so if you're a Dodgers fan, the future looks bright in your rotation. If you play fantasy, see if you can buy him low. You won't be disappointed.

3) Tim Lincecum is unique and thoroughly entertaining to watch. The kid is small, five foot eleven on his baseball card (but I think that's being mighty generous), but brings serious heat. His delivery is unorthodox to say the least but it does seem to get him tremendous hip rotation and brings all of his body weight toward home plate. So while it may seem that he's putting considerable effort into generating velocity, that effort is spread out very well throughout his entire body. I wouldn't recommend trying that delivery but if you're a small guy and can't throw over 85 mph, maybe give it a shot. Though you will want to strengthen your lower back before you try. Trust me on that one.

4) Wandy Rodriguez is a strange, strange pitcher. He is also the Ervin Santana of the National league. The guy can't pitch at all away from home but when he's in his home stadium, he's lights out. I can't see any rational reason why this would happen but it's a real phenomenon. The same goes for Ervin Santana. I hope neither of these ever gets traded. I wonder if their managers might start them only at home and rearrange everything else around that. It would be a bit silly but there's a large enough sample size for these guys that it might be reasonable.

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