Game 21, Astros at Mariners
Chris Young vs. Jarred Cosart, 12:40pm
Shhhh….shhh..it’s almost over now. The Astros and Marlins will be gone for a good long while. They were bullied themselves, you see, and can’t help but continue the cycle of violence, borne from their anger and helplessness. They lash out not because they want to, but because they never learned anything different.
Collin McHugh had and 8:5 K:BB ratio in 14 AAA innings coming into last night’s game, FYI. Either the PCL is no joke this year or the M’s…never mind.
OK, the M’s have avoided the Astros’ best pitcher to date, Scott Feldman, but today they’ll tangle with the Astros most *talented* hurler, Jarred Cosart. The strong-armed righty came to Houston in the Hunter Pence deal in 2011. He sits in the mid-90s with his fastball, but like Nathan Eovaldi, he’s had some control issues coming through the minors and never quite put up the strikeout numbers you’d imagine for someone with that kind of velocity.
What he has shown in the majors thus far is an ability to get plenty of ground balls and avoid really loud contact. His HR/FB was pretty lucky in 2013, and it could certainly regress – but he’s a righty who gets a staggering number of GBs against *left* handed hitters. He’s been better against lefties overall thus far because of it. He’s pitched all of a handful of big league games, so you wouldn’t forecast that to continue, but it’s something to keep an eye on – he had a slightly better MiLB FIP against lefties too, though this was due to a couple of HRs more than sustainable differences in K:BB/batted balls.
In fact, he reminds me a lot of James Paxton. Just looking at the vertical movement on their fastballs, you wouldn’t peg it as a grounder-generating machine, but it is. Like Paxton, he backs it up with a big curve ball that *also* gets ground balls. Paxon’s fastball has a bit more arm-side run despite his over-the-top delivery (and may be something that Paxton tweaked a bit during 2013), but Cosart’s more of a classic cutter. Depending on the pitch fx source you use, it may be that the cutter is essentially the ONLY fastball he throws (as Brooks Baseball suggests); others (MLBAM) think he uses it most often, but mixes in quite a few four-seamers as well. Looking at this chart, I don’t see a clear break between FC and FA, so I’d tend to believe the Brooks coding, but it’s not critical for game thread analysis: Cosart throws a lot (or nearly exclusively) 95mph cutters that allow him to get ground balls and frustrate lefties. He’s not close to a finished product; in his last start, he gave up 7 runs on 4 walks and 2 HRs in just one third of an inning. His control/command issues prevent him from taking the next step and becoming an elite starter, but Cosart is talented and has done an admirable job of learning in the big leagues. He was clearly due for some regression coming into 2014, but I’d like to have a guy throwing a 95mph cutter all day on my team.
Chris Young starts today. I’d say that things have to get better as he’s pitching in a fly-ball friendly park, but then, so is Marlins Park. I don’t know. Do something interesting, Mariners.
1: Almonte, CF
2: Miller, SS
3: Cano, 2B
4: Hart, DH
5: Smoak, 1B
6: Seager, 3B
7: Franklin, RF
8: Ackley, LF
9: Zunino, C
I feel like this season has already fallen into familiar patterns – snark about the M’s, add in some Felix-worship, talk about prospects – so what’s one more: the Rainiers are pretty fun to watch, and you should do so if at some point it stops raining. The R’s are crushing the ball despite playing most of their games in damp and chilly Cheney Stadium thus far. After a slow opening series, SS Chris Taylor is leading the charge with a .636 slugging percentage. AAAA vet Cole Gillespie didn’t seem to have a future here, as he’s not on the 40 man, but he’s at .362/.456/.741 so far, and he could get a look if Saunders/Almonte continue to struggle. Given that Nick Franklin’s already up, it looks like they’ll give the erstwhile IF further looks in LF/RF, but he’s slumping like everyone else. Anyway, go see the Rainiers some time if only to remember what it looks like when a team scores lots of runs.