A Comparison Sure To Make You Shudder

Dave · April 20, 2010 at 11:27 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Hat tip to Mike Salk for getting me thinking about comparable pitchers for Doug Fister. We bounced a few names back and forth, including Jon Garland and Chris Young, as tall right-handers with sub-par fastballs who have made it work in the big leagues. Garland’s more of a comp for Fister than Young is, since Young pitches up in the zone and gets strikeouts and flyballs, while Garland is more of the slight groundball guy that Fister is.

However, there’s one other very comparable pitcher to Fister, and you won’t like this one. In fact, let’s just throw out the numbers without the name first.

Comparable Pitcher, April, 2008: 89.3 MPH FB, 1.93 BB/9, 3.86 K/9, 45.6% GB%, .269 BABIP, 81.2% LOB%, 6% HR/FB, 2.79 ERA, 4.69 xFIP

Doug Fister, April 2010: 88.9 MPH FB, 1.89 BB/9, 4.26 K/9, 47.5% GB%, .212 BABIP, 82.4% LOB%, 0% HR/FB, 1.42 ERA, 4.42 xFIP

Pretty much the same profile – no walks, lots of contact, some groundballs but not a ton, good luck on balls in play allows a lot of stranded runners, creating an unsustainably low ERA.

Comparable Pitcher? You probably guessed by now, but it’s Carlos Silva. I don’t really need to tell you how things went for him after his first month as a Mariner.

This isn’t to say that Fister is going to implode, become the worst pitcher in the game, start fights with his teammates, and eat a disgusting amount of food. But, it should hopefully serve as a reminder that any pitcher can look good by throwing strikes and letting hitters get themselves out for short stretches of time. It doesn’t generally work very well in the long run, though. With no out pitch, good hitters will make Fister pay for being around the strike zone so much. The last two starts were really nice to watch, but don’t get used to it – he’s still the same guy he always was.

Comments

52 Responses to “A Comparison Sure To Make You Shudder”

  1. DarkKnight1680 on April 20th, 2010 11:36 am

    As mentioned, Fister’s fitness and attitude should keep him from reaching Silva-like depths of sucktitude. And he flashed a curve/change a couple times last night that looked out-pitch-esque.

    Odds are he’s coming down to earth fairly soon but I watched last night pretty carefully and he looked like a real pitcher out there for stretches, especially with his ability to mix speeds. Is there any data on the ability to change speeds over wide ranges and its effect on results?

    And why do I keep thinking he’s 30 or something? At 26 there’s still some hope.

  2. killer_ewok18 on April 20th, 2010 11:44 am

    Mix speeds? He was sitting at 87-89 mph for the entire game. I think he through less than 10 pitches that weren’t fastballs.

    He’s pitched well, and it’s awesome to get starts like this from a replacement pitcher, but he’s going to come back to earth. Next weekend at Chicago isn’t looking good for him, not in that ballpark.

  3. ThundaPC on April 20th, 2010 11:46 am

    I actually thought about this from another perspective.

    Carlos Silva is currently putting up “good results” for the Cubs and I’ve seen a few people wonder if fans are going to start saying we should’ve kept him.

    Every time I see this line of thinking I think of Doug Fister. He’s basically the same thing the Cubs are trying to get out of Silva except significantly cheaper. Fister is also on the bubble so he has to produce to justify a rotation spot. If Fister loses his spot in the rotation, you won’t have to worry about him grumbling or having the play the “sunk-cost” card.

    I say the comparison of Fister and Silva is appropriate and provides a good reason why there’s no reason to even entertaining the thought of longing for Carlos Silva.

  4. vj on April 20th, 2010 11:49 am

    If I may repeat a question from the game recap: About Fister lacking an outpitch: What about that changeup of which Jeff Sullivan posted a .gif after the previous game and that you called unhittable?

  5. Evan on April 20th, 2010 11:49 am

    If this is true, we should trae him.

    Fister looks terrific right now. We’d be selling high.

  6. Carson on April 20th, 2010 11:53 am

    Luckily, the payroll hit is NOT comparable.

  7. Breadbaker on April 20th, 2010 11:55 am

    Carlos Silva was a perfectly fine no. 3 starter for the Twins in 2004, 2005 and 2007. According to Fangraphs, he was worth over $10 million each year. Doug Fister is paid nothing. If he performs like that Carlos Silva, the M’s will have a fine, positive asset as long as he’s under team control. He is very unlikely to exhibit Silva’s personal habits. The key with someone like this is not to overpay him. You don’t give him a four year contract; you can even release him before his arbitration rights kick in, because there will be another Doug Fister at league minimum when that happens.

  8. robbbbbb on April 20th, 2010 11:58 am

    I seem to recall that Dave commented favorably on Fister’s changeup over on Lookout Landing. Does that pitch have a chance to develop into something that would allow Fister to maintain his gains?

    I’m not expecting him to give up one run per 15 innings for the rest of the year. However, can we expect something between average and replacement level from him? Or is it all going to come crashing down?

  9. CCW on April 20th, 2010 11:59 am

    No shuddering here. We know that the FO knows what it has in Fister and that it won’t overpay him, so who cares? Cheap ground ball pitch-to-contact control artists are perfect back of the rotation filler. Maybe he’ll learn to use his height to induce even more ground balls… who knows?

    And the last two games he pitched are money in the bank.

  10. Dave on April 20th, 2010 12:06 pm

    Fister’s change-up is his best pitch, but it’s not consistently good, and he doesn’t throw it all that often.

    As for the changing speeds thing, it only matters to the extent that it affects things like walk rate, strikeout rate, and groundball rate. He doesn’t have some magical ability to limit hits on balls in play or keep fly balls in the park, and those are the two things that are driving his success right now.

    But, yes, he’s a perfectly serviceable #5 starter or long reliever who will benefit from Safeco Field and the team’s defense. He’s just not any more than that.

  11. idahowriter on April 20th, 2010 12:08 pm

    Okay, so honest question from someone attempting to be a student of the game. Why don’t we see more situational starting pitching? Why do teams insist on a set rotation, sending a guy like Fister out in, say, Arlington, to have the bejesus koocked out of him? If Fister’s skillset works best at Safeco, use him there and sit him in hitters parks.

  12. KaminaAyato on April 20th, 2010 12:11 pm

    So we have “extremes” of either Washburn 2.0 or Silva 2.0.

    As a just curious, I decided to look at a Washburn start (2009.06.01 vs. Bal) and Fister’s start yesterday. (I just chose the Baltimore game for Washburn since he had a start against them)

    Both had fastballs that ranged approximately in the 86-90 range and threw few off-speed pitches.

    Yes, I know it’s just comparing one start from each, but the approach seems the same.

    Fister’s talent may be somewhere in between. For all we know, he could have a similar season to Washburn last year where the defense here helps him, and if he leaves he’ll become Silva-esque.

  13. Dave on April 20th, 2010 12:12 pm

    For one, the pitchers wouldn’t like it. They’re used to routines, and they want to have a schedule that they can work with.

    More importantly, it’s just really hard to manage that kind of swap. Say you flip flop between Vargas and Fister in the #5 spot, depending on what the environment is on that day. You have to give up having a long reliever in order to make it work.

    Say Fister pitches on a Sunday, and you’re going to have Vargas take the start on the following Friday. Well, you can’t use Fister in relief, because he’s recovering from his Sunday start, and you can’t use Vargas in relief or he won’t be ready to start on Friday.

    It forces you to use two roster spots for one rotation slot, and no manager is willing to make that trade off.

  14. MrZDevotee on April 20th, 2010 12:12 pm

    If he can do what Silva did his first full year as a starter (14-8 with an ERA+ of 112, and 1.429 WHIP) I’ll be a very happy camper.

    Maybe the schedule can be friendly and he won’t end up facing the same lineups more than once or twice in his starts.

    And then we trade him next year, to someone who doesn’t notice the similarity (Chicago?).

  15. robbbbbb on April 20th, 2010 12:13 pm

    What are the odds that the changeup goes from “inconsistent” to “consistently good”, and he ends up as a league-average pitcher?

  16. robbbbbb on April 20th, 2010 12:15 pm

    Oh, and one way that Fister’s entirely different from Silva: There’s no way in hell that Silva would make defensive plays like Fister. Fister nabbed a couple of comebackers last night, and that play covering first base was absolutely beautiful.

    It’s a little thing, but Fister’s a good defensive pitcher. That’s a little bit of extra on his side. And it’s awfully fun to watch.

  17. Dave on April 20th, 2010 12:15 pm

    It’s possible, sure. But you could make that case with any pitcher. There’s always a chance that any player can improve his underlying skills beyond what would be expected. Until we see it happen, though, we can’t assume it will.

  18. spankystout on April 20th, 2010 12:20 pm

    I agree that the results are similar with a predominately sinker pitcher. I believe Fister has a little more upside in him. He has a nice change and curve. Silva only has a mediocre sinker/2-seam fastball. Fister only threw 9 curves yesterday, but 3 of his 9 curves were a swinging strikes. He also isn’t throwing his change-up as much he threw that 6 times with one swinging strike. Last year he threw his change-up about 20% of the time.
    I understand that Fisters ceiling is a #3 starter (at best). But comparing him to Silva…is funny and mean.
    I just see that Fister has other options than his sinker. Silva does not have a decent second pitch. Plus Silva’s GB% hasn’t been above 50% since 2004. Silva, during that time remained to throw his mediocre fastball near 70% of the time. No adjustments no progress.

  19. robbbbbb on April 20th, 2010 12:21 pm

    And Fister’s already made a skill improvement just to catch on at the major league level. I don’t recall that he was on anyone’s radar before he showed up late last year throwing that fastball for a ton of strikes.

    I totally understand your point. The odds are low that Fister will be anything other than a replacement level pitcher. I plan to enjoy watching him while it lasts.

  20. Dave on April 20th, 2010 12:22 pm

    Fister’s curveball isn’t really a major league pitch. It’s like Jakubauskas’ curve last year – just a big slow breaking ball that will get destroyed if he throws it in the zone.

    His change-up is good sometimes. His fastball is below average. There aren’t many major league pitchers who have succeeded with that repertoire.

    He’s not a #3 starter on a playoff team. If you’re starting Doug Fister in October, you did something wrong.

  21. Steve T on April 20th, 2010 12:47 pm

    Or you scored 900 runs. Which we’re not going to do.

  22. Chris_From_Bothell on April 20th, 2010 1:14 pm

    So is what we’re seeing largely a side effect of the Oakland and Baltimore lineups, and he will need to perform like this against a couple of better hitting teams to see if it’s real?

    Or would you really need to see a couple of seasons to declare some development or turnaround, and saying anything about him good or bad for the next few weeks or months is likely premature?

  23. CCW on April 20th, 2010 1:24 pm

    Throwing strikes in Safeco Field in front of the M’s defense against a bad-hitting team is flat-out a recipe for success.

  24. Evan on April 20th, 2010 1:33 pm

    Another way Fister is different from Silva:

    There’s no way Fister could eat four 4×4 burgers in one sitting at In-n-out Burger.

  25. Dave on April 20th, 2010 1:33 pm

    When Fister either ups his strikeout or groundball rate by 50 percent, then we’ll have some reason to believe he’s able to keep pitching well.

    Without either of those things happening, it’s just unsustainable luck.

  26. Paul B on April 20th, 2010 1:34 pm

    Carlos Silva is currently putting up “good results” for the Cubs and I’ve seen a few people wonder if fans are going to start saying we should’ve kept him.

    I was wondering about that, so took a look. It’s definitely SSS. Mr. Regression to the Mean should be paying him a visit soon.

    Silva’s had two starts with the Cubs. His BABIP is an unsustainable .205. His GB/FB rate is 0.63, which is lower than even the 0.8 to 0.9 range he has put up in the seasons since he was good.

    He has yet to walk anyone or give up a homer. His SO% is up around 16% compared to his usual 10% range.

    I have no explanation for why the NL hitters have been getting themselves out, but I think it will change.

  27. PackBob on April 20th, 2010 1:35 pm

    I agree that Fister will come back to Earth and he is a 5th starter, but I have a question about the Silva stats. Did Silva go south because he pitched exactly the same and hitters just caught up with him, or did he pitch differently after his good start? With Silva, I seem to remember a whole lot of squared-up balls after his good start, and remember talk about his sinker not sinking much.

    If a pitcher with average stuff consistently hits his spots, he should get better results than one who doesn’t. Silva just seemed to have forgotton how to pitch, whether it was missing his spots, loss of sink, or loss of confidence.

    A pitcher with good stuff can be off and still get away with it sometimes. An average pitcher tends to get shelled. I look for Fister to get shelled sometimes, but if he can stay sharp according to his talent level, he should be a serviceable 5th starter.

  28. jephdood on April 20th, 2010 1:35 pm

    Fister reminds me of Aaron Sele. Big guy, doesn’t throw hard, good changeup, similar 12 to 6 curve (though Sele threw it a lot), cut fastball to lefties, pitch-to-contact guy.

  29. gwangung on April 20th, 2010 1:57 pm

    It’s possible, sure. But you could make that case with any pitcher. There’s always a chance that any player can improve his underlying skills beyond what would be expected. Until we see it happen, though, we can’t assume it will.

    Hm. But if you keep developing pitchers like that and throwing them in the #5 spot, won’t you eventually get somebody who DOES improve into a #4 or #3 pitcher?

    This gets into strategies of pitcher development, doesn’t it…wonder if there’s a comprehensive set…

  30. Rick L on April 20th, 2010 2:03 pm

    Dave, how would you compare Fister to Jamie Moyer? I guess you will say that Moyer’s change is an out pitch and Fister’s only sometimes is. But if it sometimes is, maybe he will develop it into something that often is.

  31. mln on April 20th, 2010 2:39 pm

    “This isn’t to say that Fister is going to implode, become the worst pitcher in the game, start fights with his teammates, and eat a disgusting amount of food”

    Lol. But eating a disgusting amount of food is fan-tastic and makes for great television.

  32. Steve Nelson on April 20th, 2010 2:43 pm

    Hm. But if you keep developing pitchers like that and throwing them in the #5 spot, won’t you eventually get somebody who DOES improve into a #4 or #3 pitcher?

    Certainly. And if you draw to an inside straight at every opportunity you will eventually fill the straight. But in doing so you will be worse off than if you put your chips into hands with better odds.

    Guys like Fister are easily found. There’s no need trying to find them or creating a development program for them.

    The goal is to bring in guys who have more potential than Fister. That way you get better odds of landing a guy who does break-out and become more than a #5 starter.

  33. Kazinski on April 20th, 2010 2:48 pm

    His change-up is good sometimes. His fastball is below average. There aren’t many major league pitchers who have succeeded with that repertoire.

    Well I don’t think Fister is the second coming of Greg Maddox, but Maddux was able to have a pretty good career throwing a not so good fastball 65-70% of the time, and a decent change-up 20-25%.

    His comps aren’t all that far off from Fister:
    Greg Maddux 2002: 85.8 MPH FB, 2.03 BB/9, 5.33 K/9, 56.4 GB%, .288 BABIP, 78.8% LOB%, 9% HR/FB, 2.62 ERA, 3.58xFIP.

    If Fister can develop his changeup a little improve his control and brainwash the umpires into expanding the strike zone for him, then he has the makings for a pretty good career.

  34. Dave on April 20th, 2010 2:53 pm

    The only version of Maddux that is comparable to Fister is the end of career version that posted ERAs of 4.00 to 4.25 in the NL. The one that everyone remembers, the guy who won Cy Youngs, wasn’t anything like Fister except for the modest velocity.

  35. Kazinski on April 20th, 2010 4:14 pm

    Well that is why I went back to 2002, which was the earliest year Fangraphs had pitch data. I wonder if there is some correlation between the fact that Maddux had his last really good year just about the time that MLB started implementing automatic ball tracking and umpires started getting graded on their calls.

    But I agree that while Maddux is an example of a guy that did not have any outstanding pitches, but had an outstanding career, they don’t seem to grow on trees. And Fister is unlikely to be the next soft tossing right handed ace to come along.

  36. Utis on April 20th, 2010 5:02 pm

    Is Joel Pineiro an example of a pitcher who can improve significantly by (re)learning to pitch? Isn’t it too early to say that Fister couldn’t refine his skills to continue improving? I was at his game last year against NY and he looked good that day against an experienced lineup. I saw some potential that day. It may have been a mirage but time will tell.

  37. mearls on April 20th, 2010 5:06 pm

    I think focusing on whether Fister can transform into a front end starter misses the point of what’s really compelling about the M’s approach.

    The important thing to remember is that, given the team’s emphasis on defense, back end guys like Fister can and will have stretches like this. If Fister was stuck on a team with bad defense, we’re not having this conversation.

  38. kenshabby on April 20th, 2010 5:17 pm

    Despite the similar pitching numbers, Fister has one huge numerical advantage over Silva–his body mass index score.

  39. Mathball on April 20th, 2010 5:25 pm

    I am interested in seeing if Fister’s approach changes as he faces better teams in different parks. It made sense to throw fast ball strikes and trust the defence and the park vs a poor team. Wil he do the same thing in Texas in late May or will he throw more off speed stuff?

  40. JMHawkins on April 20th, 2010 5:45 pm

    GB% K/9
    Pitcher A 42.7% 5.1
    Pitcher B 47.7% 3.6
    Pitcher C 39.5% 5.4

    A is Fister’s MLB career, which at this point is 80 IPs, so grains of salt suggested.

    B is Carlos Silva while a Twinkie. He was basically a +2.5 WAR guy for those years, mostly because he ate a ton…

    …of innings. Hard to imagine how he got those results with so few K’s.

    C is Jamie Moyer’s career (since someone asked). But I think Moyer may be one of those rare guys who gets results in abnormal ways. Like Ichiro.

    Anyway, I’m optimistic. Fister has about a third of a seasons worth of starts under his MLB belt and a 4.48 xFIP. That’s not October Starter material, but it ain’t half bad either. It’s worth 2.2 WAR over a full season if he threw 200 innings.

  41. Kid_A on April 20th, 2010 6:26 pm

    The thing about Moyer was he had an out-pitch (actually more than just one pitch, he knew how to use all of his). Like Dave said, Fister’s change-up is his best pitch, but it isn’t consistently good like Moyer’s. Plus Jamie kept hitters off balance by changing speeds. Yes they were a good 5-10 mph slower than most guys, but at that point it doesn’t matter as much.

    Guys can have great careers with modest fastballs, and terrible ones with 100 mph heaters. It has a lot to do with the full repertoire, and at this point Fister’s just a dime-a-dozen, back-of-the-rotation starter.

  42. RRS for Prez on April 20th, 2010 6:56 pm

    Sorry…I don’t know how to use that quote thing, but Dave said, “As for the changing speeds thing, it only matters to the extent that it affects things like walk rate, strikeout rate, and groundball rate.”

    Changing speeds makes people swing while off-balance and hit balls less hard. Things like pop-ups to 3rd base, “can of corn”s to shallow right field, and dribblers to the pitcher start happening more often. If you could isolate people being off-balance vs not off-balance, you’d see a much lower BABIP when someone is off-balance as a result of someone effectively changing speed. That has nothing to do with walk rate, strikeout rate, (and I would think) it’d be inversely correlated with groundball rate (more pop-ups than dribblers).

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Fister’s going to win a Cy Young in the near future but changing speeds does “magically” help balls stay in the ballpark.

  43. JMHawkins on April 20th, 2010 6:57 pm

    The thing about Moyer was he had an out-pitch…

    Except that Moyer’s lifetime K/9 is nearly the same as Fisters, so his outpitch isn’t any better than Fisters. Or rather, it’s 0.3 K/9 better.

  44. Dave on April 20th, 2010 8:15 pm

    Show me a pitcher who has sustained a low BABIP by “changing speeds”.

  45. RRS for Prez on April 20th, 2010 10:47 pm

    First off, I want to admit I’m new to using Sabermetrics and I’m open to input. This post is not adverserial. I’d like to learn. So I’m open to your opinion which comes with experience.

    I’ll mention some pitchers with low BABIPs, and I’m sure you’ll have other reasons for their low BABIP and rightfully so. It seems to be a very simple statistic that can capture any number of different things: the presence of Franklin Gutierrez (i.e. better fielders), playing in Safeco (i.e. bigger parks), luck, and I think it would also capture the ability to keep hitters “off-balance” through changing speed (i.e. Doug Fister on a good day).

    Phil Niekro – .273
    Wakefield – .275
    Moyer – .287 for career, which I realize is pretty par for the course, but he had a number of Safeco .250ish years.

    Who else is known for keeping people off balance? I can’t really think of a lot of others, and I’m guessing that’s because those people generally aren’t very successful.

    Do you think there is no truth to the idea of hitting a pitch after your weight has shifted makes you hit the ball less hard?

    Do you think the BABIP is the same for hard hit balls as it is for softly hit balls?

    If that’s what the data shows I’m open to it. I just haven’t seen the data, and I have a hard time believing that’s what it would show.

  46. Jon S. on April 21st, 2010 10:29 am

    I know sabermetricians aren’t prone to talk about potential that isn’t backed up by any sort of numbers, but what are the chances Fister puts 5 mph on his pitches? He’s a 6’8″ control pitcher. I mean, the kid is almost Randy Johnson tall. And I know Randy was lanky, but Fister’s 200 pound (if that) frame looks downright scrawny in comparison.

    Johnson in his prime- 6’10″, 225lbs = 23.5 BMI
    Fister now- 6’8″, 200lbs = 22.0 BMI

    Fister needs to put on 14 pounds of muscle to have the same body type as Johnson. What would happen if the Mariner’s sent Fister down to the minors, made sure he had plenty of red meat to eat and sent a trainer with him to the gym every other day to build up core and arm strength?

    But raw strength isn’t the only think that goes into pitch velocity. His mechanics may be limiting his velocity as well. Do you guys think Rick Adair is looking for ways to help Fister increase his velocity and movement, or is he just looking to help Fister use what he already has more effectively?

    I think Fister has at least 5 mph untapped in that toothpick frame of his. If his fastball averages 93-94 while topping out at 96 or so, he’s a completely different pitcher and Silva comparisons become, well, uneccessary.

  47. Jon S. on April 21st, 2010 10:35 am

    Unnecessary. I swear I can spell when I try.

  48. Tboneman on April 21st, 2010 11:05 am

    Not sure what you mean by saying “he’s still the same guy he always was.” If he were 32 yrs old with 5-6 years behind him, that statement might make more sense. But he is just starting out, with a lot of potential upswing!
    He pitched 6 innings of 1 hit ball in his first big league start on 8/11/09 against the Chisox.He has been given the “Morrow treatment through much of his minor league career (switched from starter to reliever, and back). He only has 13 ML starts in his career, and has more to show than Koufax had at this point in HIS career.
    Not saying he will be a HOF pitcher, just that he he is still growing and could develope into a very good pitcher.
    Either way he goes, it just makes no sense to say he’s the same guy he always was.

  49. Dave on April 21st, 2010 12:04 pm

    Niekro and Wakefield don’t really change speeds – they change movement on one speed. The knuckleball is a totally different class of pitch, and has to be treated differently than traditional pitchers.

    So, that leaves Moyer, a flyball lefty who spent his prime in Safeco Field while the M’s had some outstanding defensive outfields, and he still has a career BABIP about 1 percent better than league average.

    Clearly, hard hit balls become hits more often than soft hit balls. But, the problem is that you’re assuming pitchers can consistently force “soft hit” balls. There is no evidence this is true.

  50. joser on April 21st, 2010 1:04 pm

    Fister appears to have varied his pitch velocity quite a bit in that last start, actually, especially starting in the 5th inning (pitch #57 or so).

    Paul B makes a good point about Silva’s unsustainable numbers so far; and whenever you look at his results, it’s worth reminding yourself he’s in the NL now.

    Isn’t it too early to say that Fister couldn’t refine his skills to continue improving?

    As Dave keeps repeating (and repeating): it’s possible; we just shouldn’t expect it. You can hope for things without counting on them, but you have to plan for things assuming your hopes don’t pan out.

    Yes, guys like Moyer can find ways to win, and Pineiro can find a new pitch. It happens. But we remember these guys precisely because it happens so rarely. Moyer is as much of a freak as Lincecum or Ichiro are; there probably isn’t going to be another pitcher who figures out how to do that in our lifetime, much less in the next couple of seasons on the M’s.

  51. Jon S. on April 21st, 2010 5:30 pm

    In any case, expecting improvement is a little silly. Hoping for improvement is different, like you said. With Fister, we have more reason to hope than in most cases. He’s fantastically tall, and has empty space between his skin and uniform where at least 30 pounds of solid muscle should be. He’s almost underweight for a human male, and athletes tend to be classified as overweight by BMI. If he can fill out and add strength (with which to power that ridiculous trebuchet of an arm through his pitching motion), he adds velocity to his pitches. If he can add 5 mph on all his pitches, he becomes a completely different animal. His fastball would hover around 93-94 and his breaking stuff gets sharper due to the increased velocity and rotational speed. Coupled with his “deceptive delivery” and “good control” (scout’s opinions, not just mine), he becomes a very good ML starter.

    At least that’s my hope for Fister. I don’t think he can get by coaxing weak contact on a regular basis. We are better off sending him down (as opposed to Vargas) when Lee comes back and getting him started on some strength training.

  52. Dave on April 21st, 2010 6:28 pm

    If you can name one starting pitcher who added 5 MPH to his fastball after he made the majors, I’d love to hear it.

    Adding 1 or 2 MPH is rare, but happens occasionally, though I don’t recall it happening to any tall skinny guys (the tall = velocity myth is really weird, and totally unsupported by evidence). But yeah, if you want, you can hope that Fister starts throwing 93 to 94, as long as you realize the odds of it happening are about one in a bazillion.

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