Sean White’s Transformation

Dave · April 19, 2009 at 6:52 am · Filed Under Mariners 

If you were around in 2007, you probably remember Sean White less than fondly. He posted a 5.45 FIP out of the bullpen that year, walking more than he struck out and showing no kind of out pitch. His claim to fame was a sinker that averaged 90 MPH, but the stuff and command were both relatively underwhelming. He didn’t really impress in Tacoma last year, either, and was basically just organizational fodder to eat minor league innings.

Now, though, something’s clicked – with the shift back to the bullpen, he’s found new life on his fastball. Pitch F/x had his hardest fastball last night at 95.7 MPH, and his average fastball was 94.

He’s now throwing a serious power sinker, and that’s a pretty nasty weapon coming out of the pen. There’s a reason he’s running an 82% GB% through his first two appearances. You throw 94 with sink, and people aren’t going to be able to do much more than pound it into the ground.

Welcome back to Seattle, Sean White. I might actually like you this time around.


9 Responses to “Sean White’s Transformation”

  1. gwangung on April 19th, 2009 8:15 am


    Maybe he’s taking over the designed Sean role in the bullpen (from Green).

    (Love it when you point out these changes in player behavior, or even the non-changes. That’s stats-based scouting, innit?)

  2. Mere Tantalisers on April 19th, 2009 8:35 am

    Great news. Do you think this makes Corcoran the best demotion candidate when Tyler Johnson is finally ready to join the club? Corcoran has such limited skills that I’d rather he not take up space in the roster if there’s a guy with the same skills plus 5 mph.

  3. bakomariner on April 19th, 2009 10:08 am

    I’ve noticed he’s doing a much better job too, but doesn’t this scream “small sample size?”

    Not tying to be negative…just asking…

  4. gwangung on April 19th, 2009 10:28 am

    I’ve noticed he’s doing a much better job too, but doesn’t this scream “small sample size?”

    Well, if you’re looking at just the results, yeah.

    But we’re also looking at the velocity of his pitches. That might be SSS, too, but I think that’s more unlikely—and it’s something we can look at the next time he’s on the mound. If he’s still sitting at mid 90s, then it’s much more likely he’ll sustain success.

  5. The Ancient Mariner on April 19th, 2009 10:31 am

    Yeah, when you can suddenly do something you couldn’t do before, that’s not small sample size, it’s something else again. How on earth does that sort of jump happen, anyway?

  6. joser on April 19th, 2009 10:32 am

    Sample size doesn’t really apply if you’re talking about him being able to do something that he wasn’t able to do previously — like throw 5mph faster. Now, it’s possible he won’t be able to keep doing it — he gets fatigued or injured or whatever. And it’s possible his control will desert him, and the only way he can get it back is by not throwing as hard. But right now, this represents a real change in his capabilities. He’s doing something he didn’t do before, and that’s true even if the sample is just a few pitches.

  7. Patrick517 on April 19th, 2009 11:22 am

    I’ll take him over Corcoran at this point. I like Corcoran but when he’s not locating, he’s a train wreck.

  8. Mr. Egaas on April 19th, 2009 1:10 pm

    Part of me wonders if the Safeco radar gun is reading a bit high.

    Verlander and Jackson were living at 97-98 for much of their games. A few of our relievers (Lowe, Morrow) have been throwing a few MPH higher than they were last year, now White.

    Call me skeptical.

  9. Dave on April 19th, 2009 1:28 pm

    Pitch F/x is not a radar gun.

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