New Arms of the Week: September 7-13

A week after the bumper crop, only four pitchers made their Major League debuts last week. If Tim Lincecum's back wasn't balky, it would've been three.

Madison Bumgarner was called-up to start in place of The Freak. The Giants' prospect showed his true velocity (high 80s), surprising many (myself included) who had read reports of 94-96 mph fastballs. Not so much, only once did he top 91 - and by an eyelash. The soft tossing lefty has a funky cross-over step in his delivery, bringing the ball from the first base side after the long stride across the mound.

Esmil Rogers got the ball for the Rockies on Saturday, featuring a mid-90s fastball.  Rogers had a good half-year in Double-A, and a bad half in Triple-A. For whatever reason, a pristine BB per 9 of 1.8 turned into a hideous 5.2. It wasn't all bad, according to MLB.com:

There were five extremely bad games in which he gave up 31 earned runs in 20 2/3 innings. The rest were decent or better.

Dusty Baker called for Pedro Viola three times last week, and the hard throwing lefty has done OK, other than a quick home run in his debut. Viola was first property of the Giants, but, well, he was signed at one position under one name at a fake age.  RedLegs Baseball says this about the prospect they ranked 21st in the Cincinnati system:

Viola was originally signed by the San Francisco Giants as an outfielder, but was promptly released when they discovered that Pedro had used a cousin's birth certificate to appear younger than he was.

The fourth debut is someone who, in a perfect world, would be under the tutelage of Rich Dubee*: Tobi Stoner. Stoner has made a couple relief appearances for the Mets.Throwing a little harder than Bumgarner, and from the right-side, Stoner is the sinker-baller of the group.

*I wish I could remember/find the twitterer who I'm stealing that line from

Here are the basics on their stuff. PFX_X and PFX_Z are the movement on the pitch caused by spin. X is side-to-side (negative is to the catcher's left) and Z is vertical, compared to a ball under the influence of gravity alone. A negative PFX_Z indicates top-spin (curveball) and a positive value (all in inches, BTW) indicates "rise". Not literally, gravity wins, but it's effects are dampened.

Esmil Rogers # vs LHH vs RHH MPH PFX_X PFX_Z
Change-up 8 8 0 85.9 -5.6 9.0
Fastball 53 27 26 94.7 -4.8 10.4
Slider 19 9 10 80.6 5.8 -2.6

 

While the outing was short (four innings), Rogers was throwing very hard for a starter. Big gap to the change, and the slider is slurvey. Rogers did throw strikes (55% in the wide zone) and got ground balls (54.5%).

Madison Bumgarner # vs LHH vs RHH MPH PFX_X PFX_Z
Change-up 4 0 4 82.5 6.1 4.1
Sinker 4 0 4 88.5 7.9 3.8
Fastball 49 9 40 88.8 3.7 7.7
Slider 19 6 13 78.3 -3.8 2.3

 

Bumgarner (pictured above) threw everything slow, with a slider that's a sweeper without much sink. He threw even more strikes than Rogers (56.6%) and got even more ground balls (62.5%). That's a pretty good start to a career, if you ask me.

Pedro Viola # vs LHH vs RHH MPH PFX_X PFX_Z
Change-up 2 0 2 85.2 7.7 5.1
Sinker 1 0 1 93.2 12.1 1.6
Fastball 38 20 18 93.1 8.1 6.3
Slider 8 7 1 79.5 0.3 -1.8

 

I read somewhere on the interwebs that Viola could throw 98. He topped out around 95 in his three outings. His control looks about average (55.1% in the zone, 2.1 B:CS) but seems to be a fly ball pitcher (30% ground balls).

Tobi Stoner # vs LHH vs RHH MPH PFX_X PFX_Z
Change-up 16 12 4 75.8 -6.0 4.8
Curveball 10 9 1 71.9 2.4 -4.3
Sinker 17 9 8 90.1 -9.2 6.1
Fastball 16 10 6 89.9 -5.1 8.9
Slider 11 6 5 81.9 2.2 0.1

 

Mostly threw two-seam fastballs that didn't sink all that much. He'll get to play Winter Ball this year and his name will be easy to find in the box scores, so I'm sure this isn't the last I'll hear about this guy. Well, his results are memorable, too. 65.7% in the zone and a .258 whiff rate. His ground ball rate has been nondescript (42.9%) but he's been hit hard (SLGCON .786, which is 250 points higher than average).

This ends the current edition of Small Sample Size Theater, please join us again next week.

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