The Problem With RRS
We’ve gotten a lot of emails asking for a post about Ryan Rowland-Smith’s problems, so by popular demand, here you go.
This one just isn’t that complicated, though. There’s no great insight to be found here – it’s just as simple as the fact that he hasn’t had any command this year. His skillset can work, but it requires that he be able to pound the strike zone, get ahead of hitters, and then be able to mix in slow stuff to get them to chase pitches out of the zone. Guys with 88 MPH four-seam fastballs can’t be continually throwing fastballs when behind in the count, because hitters will just tee off on them. And that’s exactly what’s happening to Hyphen.
His first strike percentage is down from 61 percent a year ago to 58 percent this year. By falling behind in the count, he’s getting himself into situations where hitters don’t have to look for the change-up or the breaking ball. His fastball isn’t good enough to get by MLB hitters when they know its coming.
The flyball, no strikeout lefty skillset can work, but you need pinpoint command to be able to pull it together. This year, Ryan Rowland-Smith has had far less than pinpoint command, and he’s suffering the consequences. In reality, last year’s strike-throwing ways were probably an anomaly – he’d never shown that kind of command in the minors, and it now looks like an outlier rather than improvement. The M’s are probably best served by just putting him back in the bullpen, hoping he can get a few extra MPH on his fastball in shorter stints, and let him settle in as a lefty reliever.
Unless his ability to hit his spots improves dramatically, he won’t succeed in a major league rotation.