Tyler Mahle made his Triple-A debut last night for the Louisville Bats. He joined the Bats after 14 dominant starts for Double-A Pensacola where he posted a 1.59 ERA in 85.0 innings. That came along with 17 walks and 87 strikeouts. The 22-year-old didn’t miss a beat in his first start at the next level. While his defense let him down some, committing two errors in the same inning, leading to three unearned runs, the rest of the game went as well as could be expected from a statistical standpoint. He allowed no other runs in 6.0 innings pitched, gave up just four hits, walked one batter and had nine strikeouts.

The Fastball

This is where Tyler Mahle shines on the mound. Last night, according to the stadium radar gun, the right hander was throwing 91-93 MPH throughout the night, touching a tad higher on occasion. That’s not really unexpected and generally, in the area of where he pitches at (he’s a little faster in his pitching range in some games). What stands out has never been the velocity for Mahle, though he can reach back for 97 or 98 every so often, but it’s his control of the pitch. He’s always been able to locate the fastball very well. Last night was no different. 73.3% of the fastballs that he threw went down as strikes of some kind. The movement on the pitch is also rather impressive. It sinks. It’s got good, late running action to it. There’s a lot to like with the fastball.

The offspeed pitches

This is the area where Tyler Mahle hasn’t ever really stood out. Scouting reports have long said that his secondary offerings were average-ish at best. Last night that seemed to be the case. Two breaking balls flashed good biting action to them, but neither made it 60 feet. The rest were fringe-average offerings. The change up is a solid enough pitch, showing some armside run, but it’s another average-ish offering.

Last night was rather interesting to watch when it came to the offspeed stuff. Another thing that’s brought up with Tyler Mahle is that he relies on his fastball a lot. That was certainly true last night as he threw his fastball 74% of the time. That means he went to the offspeed stuff just 26% of the time. Your typical big leaguer throws the fastball 65% of the time, though some guys do go with it significantly more and some significantly less depending on who we are talking about. Of the 27 offspeed pitches that he did through, 16 of them didn’t go for strikes.

Overall thoughts on Tyler Mahle

Last night seemed to be much like other starts for Tyler Mahle. Use the fastball a lot, painting the corners or coming up and in at the top of the zone on hitters. This is a big strength for the righty. But, the secondary stuff still needs work. While I have seen him have better nights with these offerings than he had last night, I still believe that these are mostly fringe-average pitches. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it probably does mean that his strikeout rate is going to decrease in the big leagues some. Still, strike one is the best pitch in baseball and the fastball movement and control that Mahle brings is going to allow him to do things that other guys with similar secondary offerings usually can’t. His fastball, despite non-elite velocity, can be a strikeout pitch because of what he can do with it.

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Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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