Jimenez and Feierabend

Dave · September 3, 2008 at 7:51 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Cesar Jimenez and Ryan Feierabend are two of the youngsters the M’s are taking a look at and trying to figure out where they fit into the organization’s future plans. Both are left-handed, both have quality major league change-ups, and both throw fastballs in the mid-80s. And, because of their repertoires of pitching, both have one other big thing in common – they’re much better against right-handed hitters than left-handed hitters.

This is true of most pitchers who have a great change-up and not much else. The change is primarily a weapon to use against opposite handed hitters. The change-up from a lefty to a lefty ends up fading right back into the down-and-in wheelhouse that so many hitters love, but against a right-hander, the movement leads the ball away from the hitter, making it more effective. While the common belief is that a change-up is effective because of its speed, the movement of the pitch is also a big key.

Because both Jimenez and Feierabend feature quality change-ups and below average everything else, they really have nothing to throw left-handed hitters. Their mid-80s fastballs and crappy breaking balls hang like meatballs, and LH hitters simply tee off, just like Texas did last night. Against a line-up with more RH hitters, he’d have done better.

These reverse split type of pitchers are tough to find a role for, honestly. Because they don’t have anything to get LH hitters out, they’ll struggle in the rotation, and there aren’t many managers on earth who will use a southpaw as a bullpen specialist to get right-handed hitters. Realistically, both of them are probably looking at careers in long relief if they don’t learn how to spin a breaking ball to counteract left-handed bats.


13 Responses to “Jimenez and Feierabend”

  1. DarkKnight1680 on September 3rd, 2008 8:35 am

    Maybe the M’s coaching staff should require 2 hours a day of Jamie Moyer Film Study.

    Also, just noticed that the new layout does not show who submitted the original post. I was nice knowing what was a Dave and what was a DMZ.

  2. DMZ on September 3rd, 2008 8:42 am

    That’s a bug. The main index page shows author.

  3. bat guano on September 3rd, 2008 8:43 am

    So is Thomas a different animal or more of the same? Is there a potential big league LOOGY in the system? O’Flaherty again?

  4. msb on September 3rd, 2008 8:45 am

    just wondering; is there a reason recent posts have been unattributed?

    never mind.

  5. Dave on September 3rd, 2008 9:01 am

    Thomas has a slider that works very well against lefties. He’s a totally different animal, and actually very well suited to LH specialist work. If he can command his change-up better, there’s potential for him to become more than a LOOGY, but he’s probably the best guy down there right now for that role.

  6. dnc on September 3rd, 2008 9:36 am

    Dave, granted that this is obviously a true statement,

    “There aren’t many managers on earth who will use a southpaw as a bullpen specialist to get right-handed hitters.”

    is this an unexploited market inefficiency (plenty of soft tossing lefties out there that could be righty specialists if given the chance), or are right handers that get righties out so plentiful that there would be no advantage by employing the Feierebends and Jimenez’s of the world against righties?

  7. Dave on September 3rd, 2008 9:51 am

    It would be interesting to see a team use a guy like Jimenez as a RH specialist and see how long it took other managers to figure it out. Their L/L, R/R matchup tendencies are so strong that you’d probably be able to consistently get the platoon advantage for at least a couple of months, and maybe longer, depending on how reticent managers were to actually pinch hit a lefty for a righty with a LH pitcher on the mound.

    But, it’s not likely to make a big enough difference to be worth creating an entire strategy around it. For the M’s, especially, with Green and Corcoran, there isn’t a big need for another ROOGY.

  8. marc w on September 3rd, 2008 10:41 am

    Maybe it was just hyperbole, but Cesar Jimenez’s average fastball at fangraphs is listed at 89.9, putting him safely above the yearly and career average of George Sherrill.
    Jorge Campillo has a mid-80s FB. Feierabend is noticeably below average too. I’m just not sure Jimenez *in the relief role* fits this bill.

    Jimenez’s is absolutely better in a role other than LOOGY. I still think he can be a decent option for the 7th inning or so, but much of this depends on how his slider develops. Does anyone have pitch fx data for this pitch?

  9. moocow on September 3rd, 2008 1:13 pm

    I’m curious as to what makes a guy like Trevor Hoffman so effective against like-handed hitters. That guy hasn’t broke 85 mph in years and yet he still somehow manages to be one of the top closers in the league year after year, with nothing but a fastball and a changeup. Is it just that his change is so dang good?

  10. Dave on September 3rd, 2008 1:26 pm

    Pretty much – he’s got one of the best change-ups ever.

  11. don52656 on September 3rd, 2008 2:28 pm

    I found it discouraging to hear Feierabend’s comments after the game, in which he basically said that he pitched a good game and the Rangers were hitting his good pitches. I’d feel better if he said that they hit his mistakes and he needed to make less of them rather than hear him say that they were hitting the best that he’s got. But, his comments jibe perfectly with the point that Dave’s making in this thread….I would be surprised if he ever made it as a major league starter.

  12. NBarnes on September 3rd, 2008 2:44 pm

    I’m just gonna say, the change-up is just about my favorite pitch ever. Pedro’s, Johan’s, Trevor’s, Moyer’s. *happy sigh*

  13. Dave on September 3rd, 2008 4:00 pm

    I love the change-up too. I think any pitcher who doesn’t at least try to learn one is doing himself a huge disservice. Watching guys like Hamels and Hoffman throw their change-ups is watching art.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.