Round ’em Up: Knuckleballs, Pitching Duel, Narveson

19 03 2008

Sorry about the lack of a Round ’em Up yesterday all.  I was swamped yesterday and just did not have much time to get to the computer.  Here are some of today’s reads:

  • Squawking Baseball has a cool idea for an article.  They have an “over-under” projection for every team.  The Milwaukee Brewers are predicted to win over 84.5 games.  In fact, they predict “over” for pretty much every team…
  • Remember R.A. Dickey?  He was a starter for Triple-A Nashville last season.  The Seattle Mariners liked the knuckleballer so much that they swiped him in the Rule 5 Draft this season.  Here’s ESPN.com writer Jim Caple with Dickey, and he’s trying to catch his knuckleball.  It’s quite humorous.
  • Dugout Central has a March Madness bracket for baseball infielders.  It’s a little goofy in how it is set up, and it seems to be completely arbitrary.  Nonetheless, Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun match up in the first round.  The winner?  Ryan Braun.  The author then goes on to say that Ryan Braun will pass Alex Rodriguez sometime in the next couple years.  That’s quite the prediction, but I could see it.
  • A couple days ago, I linked to The Baseball Analysts graph on starting pitching and how they categorized them.  It was very interesting stuff.  Today, they have the same categorizing system, but they focus on relief pitchers.  The Brewers have a couple relievers that check in on the list.

    Derrick Turnbow: Above-average strikeout and ground ball rates.  Now if we could just solve his walk problem, he’d be one of the best relievers in the league.
    Eric Gagne: Above-average strikeout rate, but below-average ground ball rate.  Exactly what the Brewers expected when getting Gagne.  He does need to get his change-up working, however.
    Carlos Villanueva: Above-average strikeout rate, below-average ground ball rate.
    Brian Shouse, Guillermo Mota, AND Chris Spurling (yes, that Chris Spurling): Below-average strikeout rates, but above-average ground ball rates.  It’s nice to see Guillermo in that category.
    David Riske: Below-average strikeout and ground ball rates.  This really surprised me, and it does worry me a bit.  He’ll have to get one of those up if he’s going to find success in Miller Park.  It’s not necessarily the most pitcher-friendly ballpark in the MLB.

  • Chris Narveson has been brilliant this spring.  He’s only given up one run in 15 2/3 innings (0.57 ERA).  In years past, Chris would be pushing for a starting job, but the Brewers are just too deep now.  He did say that he understood that coming in though.

    With that said, he’s putting himself in position to be one of the first Triple-A call-ups if he continues pitching as well as he has.  His cut fastball has been his best pitch this spring, and coaches have been raving about his command with his offspeed stuff.  I have to say that I’ve been very impressed with Narveson.  He may even get a call to be the long man in the bullpen in a couple months.

  • Tom Haudricourt handicaps the likelihood of each starter getting a job in the rotation.  Because of the injuries to Yovani Gallardo and Chris Capuano, the field has slipped to just four men to fill three spots.

    Tom has Claudio Vargas and Dave Bush as “locks” for the starting rotation.  Vargas’ lock comes mostly from the fact that he has no options left, so he needs to make the big league squad.  My response to that is that he could be the long man in the bullpen.  Manny Parra is slated to be the fifth man in the rotation, which was nice to see because he’s been absolutely dominant this spring.  That leaves Carlos Villanueva as the odd man out.  People may say he should go back to being a reliever, but Ned Yost said that Carlos is a starter.  The Brewers organization wants to treat him as a starter.  If he does not make the starting rotation, he will be sent back to Triple-A until he is needed.  I guess experience won out over performance after all.

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2 responses

19 03 2008
Nate

Gagne needs to get something working, be it his changeup or his “funky.” That ERA isn’t looking good.

Narveson seems like he could be in the same position as Parra was last year. He is stuck in the minors but an extra injury could quickly push him up to the majors.

19 03 2008
KL Snow

Actually, Squawking Baseball got the idea for the Over-Unders from this Batters Box Interactive post, which included the over-unders for all 30 teams.

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