Eno Sarris has up a very good article on Anthony DeSclafani and how his change up could be the key to his success at Fox Sports.
Only four righty starters last year had more horizontal movement than he did (on his change up), and the pitch that most closely resembled his was Stephen Strasburg’s excellent change (-9.2 x-mov, 3.1 y-mov, 6.7 mph difference). Surprisingly, DeSclafani gets all this movement without manipulating his arm action — “not trying to pronate, just throw it like a fastball” he said of his mechanics.
The pitch isn’t one he used much in the regular season, throwing it just 4.6% of the time in 2014 at the big league level. Then he went out to the Arizona Fall League following the season and began throwing the pitch 13.7% of the time.
There are signs that suggest the pitch can be a real difference maker if he can throw it more often. That he went out to the Fall League and actually did throw it more is a good sign and one that could take him to that next level.
After peaking at a little more than 56% in 2002, today MLB player salaries account for less than 40% of league revenues, a decline of nearly 33% in just 12 years. As a result, player payroll today accounts for just over 38% of MLB’s total revenues, a figure that just ten years ago would have been unimaginably low.
Reading through the comments there are more than a few who are chiming in that the MLBPA should step up and start representing all professional players, not just those on the 40-man roster, and that they should fight for some of that additional revenue that they used to get and give a small percentage of it to the minor leaguers so they actually make a living wage. It’s an interesting read and has some tidbits in there that I didn’t know about sharing of local television deals with everyone and a few other things.
Ben Badler has an article up about why scouts didn’t attend an international showcase up over at Baseball America. It was something else in the article though that stood out to me as something that I felt was worth pointing out about the culture of international baseball.
A true game setting shows how strongly ingrained the tryout mentality can be in many Latin American amateur players. Jhailyn Ortiz, a 16-year-old, righthanded-hitting Dominican first baseman, is 6-foot-2, 260 pounds and has the best raw power of the group, although game hitting is another story due to Ortiz’s vulnerability against breaking pitches. In the first game, he drew a walk, then stood around looking confused, wondering why he wasn’t getting a courtesy runner to go to first for him so he could stay at the plate and reset the count. The international pitchers committed multiple balks, their runners were picked off several times (including once at third base with two outs) and one player got a great jump to steal second but was thrown out when he slowed down and didn’t bother to slide.
That obviously doesn’t apply to ALL players, but when the buscones start picking up these kids at 12 and 13 years old to bring into their academies, they aren’t playing games. They practice. They train. But it’s drills, not playing games. They are working more on tools and skills rather than working on game situations to prepare for upcoming games.
Often we will see people bring up that so-and-so began playing professionally when they were 16 or 17, so they got a head start on the American born players. And that is true. To an extent. They did get professional coaching sooner, but often, they are so far behind the American born players in terms of understanding the game part of things because of how they were brought up compared to the American kids who come up playing 60 games a year.