Game 74, Mariner at Angels

marc w · June 20, 2013 at 3:45 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

King Felix vs. Tommy Hanson, 7:05pm

Ah, Tommy Hanson. Going into 2009, he was the 4th best prospect in baseball according to Baseball America. He put up a 4+ WAR season for Atlanta at 23, and would’ve been one of the most valuable commodities in baseball heading into 2011. This off-season, he was sent to Anaheim in exchange for a so-so relief pitcher. He’s still only 26, and is in his first year of arbitration, but essentially every single number is trending in the wrong direction.

From 2010-2013, his FIP has gone from 3.31 to 5.02. His K% went from 20.5 all the way up to 26.3% before cratering this year at 15.4%. His fastball velocity’s gone from 94mph to 89mph. O-swing? 28.3% to 24.8%. You get the picture – he’s a pitcher in decline. In Hanson’s case, it’s probably health related. The Braves were willing to cut him loose because he’s suffered from shoulder problems that first appeared late in 2011. Many, including some in the Braves, pointed to his odd pitching motion, in which he starts slowly before whipping his arm over the top. In fact, he altered those mechanics last season with the Braves, removing a ‘pause’ in his delivery to maintain momentum and hopefully ease the strain on his shoulder as it accelerates his arm. Obviously, the Braves weren’t thrilled with the results.

This season, Hanson’s made a couple of adjustments – or at least, his pitches seem to indicate a conscious effort to tweak his declining results. First, he’s now a slider/curve dominant pitcher who mixes in a fastball. He’s gone from about 55-60%+ fastballs to around 45% and declining. Those fastballs have become sliders, and he’ll throw the pitch to righties and lefties alike. The second change is more interesting: while he was always an over-the-top pitcher whose fastball had a lot of vertical movement, he’s currently throwing the fastball with the most ‘rise’ in all of MLB. His Angels teammate Jered Weaver is always near the top of that particular table, and he illustrates what can happen when a fastball has freakishly large amounts of vertical movement: lots of pop-ups, harmless fly balls and weak contact. Theoretically, it can help set up a change-up, but Hanson’s is just a show-me pitch he throws about 1% of the time. In general, all of those fly balls can be risky. In Anaheim, that may be a risk worth taking. It’s clearly worked for Weaver, but it seems to be clearly counterproductive for Hanson. His HR/9 has risen each year (it’s basically what’s driving his FIP upwards), and is currently nearly 1.6. Moving to Anaheim may have helped, but moving to the American League…hasn’t.

The other thing a lot of vertical movement can help with is platoon splits – it’s like the opposite of sinkers and their large splits. Weaver’s platoon splits are essentially even, despite his whippy delivery that starts off well to the 3B side. Hanson’s splits are indeed lower so far than his career numbers, and perhaps a bit lower than you’d expect for a guy with Brandon Maurer’s pitch mix. But that’s not all great news – in this case, it’s just an indication that righties and lefties are both hitting well off him. He’s still got splits, and they should be regressed heavily, but this isn’t a match-up where trotting out a right-handed hitter is an unconscionable mistake. Ah, who are we kidding? The M’s are beat up right now and don’t really have the ability to trot out different line-ups even if they wanted to. Morse isn’t starting, but there are non-Hanson related reasons for that.

By FIP, he’s essentially been replacement level this season. But by ERA, he’s adjusting just fine, and having a comeback season. His ERA is over a full run lower than his FIP, thanks to a great strand rate, the highest of his career. With no one on base, he’s been absolutely atrocious, but with RISP, he’s…well, I don’t know if HE’S been great, but his BABIP has been extremely low. That looks like luck, but I do find it kind of odd that Joe Blanton shows the same pattern, as does Jason Vargas. I can almost hear an old-timey pitching coach yelling at his hurlers to “challenge” batters and “make the hitter beat you” with no one on, but poor CJ Wilson’s been brilliant with no one on and worse with runners on base (thankfully, he faced the Mariners last night).

1: Chavez, RF
2: Franklin, 2B
3: Seager, 3B
4: Morales, DH
5: Ibanez, LF
6: Smoak, 1B
7: Saunders, CF
8: Blanco, C
9: Ryan, SS
SP: El Cartelua

DJ Peterson debuted in last night’s Everett win, but he went 0-3 with a walk.
The Rainiers play in Colorado Springs tonight with, uh, Hector Noesi getting the ball. Good luck, Rainiers, and good luck pedestrians of Colorado Springs.
Taijuan Walker starts for AA Jackson against Mobile, Anthony Vasquez continues his comeback with Clinton, and Lars Huijer starts for Everett.
The rookie-level Pulaski Mariners begin their season this evening against Burlington of the Royals org. 2012 3rd-round pick Edwin Diaz gets the opening night start.


82 Responses to “Game 74, Mariner at Angels”

  1. juneau_fan on June 20th, 2013 10:00 pm

    Lucky inning? 8-8 score in the 8th?

  2. gopilots70 on June 20th, 2013 10:05 pm

    Thanks Westy,

    I should have said “please don’t tell me that”

  3. juneau_fan on June 20th, 2013 10:07 pm

    Whoo-hoo to the Hamilton suck extending to fielding!

  4. Section329 on June 20th, 2013 10:07 pm

    Go, Seag!

  5. Westside guy on June 20th, 2013 10:07 pm

    Yeah Seager!

  6. Kazinski on June 20th, 2013 10:08 pm

    That was weierd seeing the umpire at seconds wild grin at Seager’s double.

  7. Westside guy on June 20th, 2013 10:09 pm

    Wish we had a bench so Wedge didn’t need to send Raul out there against a lefty.

    But this is the team he wanted.

  8. juneau_fan on June 20th, 2013 10:09 pm

    I thought the same thing, Kazinski. Although it was was pretty funny watching Hamilton lawn darting.

  9. msfanmike on June 20th, 2013 10:13 pm

    Bourjos is just killing the Mariners.

  10. juneau_fan on June 20th, 2013 10:14 pm

    They really don’t want to win this game, do they?

    I don’t usually turn a game off, but geez. This team may have broken me.

  11. Section329 on June 20th, 2013 10:17 pm

    This is looking way too familiar. Why do we do this to ourselves? And I have begun to turn off games this year.

  12. gopilots70 on June 20th, 2013 10:23 pm

    Eric Wedge on Ryan’s hitting problems:

    At times he swings when he should take the pitch. Sometimes he looks at the pitch when he should take a cut at it.

  13. Westside guy on June 20th, 2013 10:27 pm


  14. chrischris on June 20th, 2013 10:28 pm

    Was Ryan covering second with the runner going on that soft ground ball through the left side?

  15. msfanmike on June 20th, 2013 10:29 pm


  16. Westside guy on June 20th, 2013 10:30 pm


    Montero would’ve pulled his foot off the plate.

  17. msfanmike on June 20th, 2013 10:32 pm

    So Mariners

  18. Westside guy on June 20th, 2013 10:34 pm

    Well now.

  19. terryoftacoma on June 20th, 2013 10:35 pm

    The team isn’t so good. We aall know that. But, boy, I’m really getting tired of the bullpen blowing it.

  20. Westside guy on June 20th, 2013 10:40 pm

    Man, I wish Smoak were stronger.

  21. pgreyy on June 20th, 2013 10:40 pm

    Warning track power. 🙁

  22. Bodhizefa on June 20th, 2013 10:42 pm

    Man, Smoak creamed that ball about as best he could and it only went to the track. That sucks.

  23. Sideline observer on June 20th, 2013 10:43 pm

    at least you don’t have to watch Hamilton look like a pony league player.

  24. Westside guy on June 20th, 2013 10:45 pm


  25. dang on June 20th, 2013 10:56 pm

    I got news for you terryoftacoma. The bullpen didn’t blow this game, the $25M pitcher did.

  26. mrakbaseball on June 20th, 2013 11:00 pm

    Hey, at least Felix is glad the Heat won. He’ll sleep well tonight.

  27. seasick on June 20th, 2013 11:47 pm

    What if this is as good as it gets?

  28. smb on June 21st, 2013 7:10 am

    Yeah but the NBA sucks…at least without the Sonics it does.

    Was bummed Peterson didn’t play for the AquaSox when I went on Tuesday…but Reinheimer was 2-2 with a couple great looking ABs before we left. Reggie Lawson looked great, too. That AquaSox squad is full of big boys who swing big sticks. If even a few of them pan out, our offense should look a lot better within 5 years or so.

  29. jak924 on June 21st, 2013 8:13 am

    Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse…

  30. sawsatch on June 21st, 2013 8:47 am

    This loss almost equals the 2001 loss to Cleveland. One big difference: this 2013 squad is on route to lose 92 games.

  31. Will Lofton on June 21st, 2013 9:17 am

    Actually, this reminded me of the Cleveland game last season when Millwood was pitching at home ad we coughed up an eight run lead.

    I’m so frustarated with this team right now I can’t even watch the games. I understand that Felix blew a huge lead yesterday, but he’s human and he’s still having a phenominal season. When is the bullpen going to wake up? It was supposed to be the stength of this team and now they can’t even hold down a lead for an inning or two. Beyond frustarating for a team that seldom scores more than three runs a night. Hate waisting a nine run performance.

  32. sawsatch on June 21st, 2013 9:29 am

    The only way I’ll go to a game now is if they dump all of the veterans and bring up whatever youth they have in the minors. At least I’ll see some fresh faces.
    Nothing against Bay, Morse, and Chavez, but I’ll only pay to see them if they’re on a contender. Otherwise they are not a compelling draw to the ball park.

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