We received 130 votes last week, and we'll be taking your votes again. I'm adding some write-in candidates, like Sergio Santos. Here's why -- if a pitcher has PITCHf/x data prior to his Major League debut in 2010, he's not making it through my filter. If you see a pitcher, like Santos, slip through the cracks, just leave a comment or shoot me an email or a tweet or a smoke signal. Carrier pigeons, no thanks. Rats with wings.
Let's review the full crop (last week's vote totals in parentheses). Position players not included.
This Week's Featured New Arms
Jonny Venters (23)
Ryota Igarashi (22)
Tyson Ross (16)
Jon Link (12)
Ivan Nova (12)
Enerio Del Rosario
Other Newbies with >50 Pitches* in PITCHf/x
Luis Atilano (10)
Carlos Monasterios (9)
Raul Valdes (7)
Rommie Lewis (7)
Cory Luebke (6)
Jordan Norberto (3)
Brad Thomas** (2)
Daniel Stange (1)
*now includes pitchers from Spring Training or other pre-season exhibitions
**Thomas is hardly new. The Australian left-hander has big league experience dating back to 2001. The "newness" is a result of being out of the Major leagues since 2004.
Vote for the next group -- the poll remains open until the weekend.
This Week's Featured Arms
Venters is now well past the Tommy John surgery that cost him the entire 2006 campaign. You have to like a left-handed pitcher who averages nearly 95 mph with his sinking fastball, so I can see why he was the top vote-getter last week. The Braves have themselves one serious lefty in the bullpen.
That's a power curve in my book, it doesn't move like a slider. I have him throwing the sinker nearly 2:1 over the four-seam fastball. He's thrown fewer than a dozen change-ups, all to right-handed batters.
Venters has been a ground ball (57%) producing, bat-missing (.361 whiff rate) machine. His curveball is particularly perplexing -- 19 swings, 15 whiffs, 1 foul ball and 3 ground outs. The other 32 curveballs have produced an impressive 1.5 Ball-to-Called-Strike (B:CS) ratio. Expect regression, but enjoy the moment.
The Mets' Igarashi is a veteran reliever from Japan with a power arm. At first blush he's fastball/change-up, but he also throws some two-seam fastballs and, from the looks of it, one solitary slider. While he doesn't throw as hard as he may have at one time, he's got plenty of gas.
So far, Igarashi has been a mild fly ball pitcher with bad control. His ERA is over 11 right now, but it should only be in the mid-5s with a some better luck. "Only", as a reliever in the National League. Since returning from a hamstring injury, he's been no better, if not worse.
Oakland's Ross is someone you need to see. His delivery, as described by Jeff Sullivan, is Tall-and-Twist. He's about 6'6", so maybe a little lower body action would help pump up his velocity. His fastball is around 93, the sinker a bit less. Considering his height and the apparent effort, it's not overly impressive.
Ross has managed to miss a decent amount of bats (.251) with all four pitches -- the worst rate is on his sinker, but at .230 is twice what you'd hope for from a typical two-seamer. His best is from his slider and change-up (both just over .28), which is actually below average for such pitches. He's been a starter in the minors, so the A's will eventually give him a better rotation shot than the two spot starts he's had. Unless his mechanics has them worried about durability, that is.
Link was around for a couple games as a Dodger in April, plus one game in the Cactus League under the Surprise, AZ PITCHf/x installation. He came over from the White Sox with Ely for Juan Pierre. He's been groomed as a closer, although he's not your prototypical power arm.
I realize he's average a strikeout per inning in the minors (and a ground ball machine), but I don't think his stuff will miss a lot of bats in the bigs. His slider has manifested in three forms (slutter, slider, slurve) so I don't have a peg on that yet. I haven't confirmed the splitter ... anyone?
What ever the case with Link, he looks useful in the bullpen and Ely looks like a decent starter -- that Pierre must be some ball player.
As with Link, Nova is currently in the minors. Nova, though, is a starter by trade, and made a few relief appearances with the Yankees early this season. As a result, the three pitches he used in majors may not be the whole kit-and-kaboodle.
I'm pretty sure he's throwing a four-seam fastball, but he gets two-seamer results. Throughout his career, Nova has been a ground ball pitcher. His major league stint was no exception. He doesn't strike out a lot of batters (6.2 per 9 IP in his minor league career) which also fits the ground ball profile. The Yankees and young pitchers are always an interesting dance, we'll see where he ends up.
Not yet! A new version is in the works ...