Cactus League: Occulting Miley, Checking in on Cody Martin
Cody Martin vs. Andrew Heaney, 1:10pm
This was supposed to be Wade Miley’s start, but as he’d already faced Anaheim, the M’s are having him play in a minor league game to avoid giving Anaheim too much scouting info on the M’s #3 starter. Of course, Miley’s a big league vet, and faced them last year as a member of the Red Sox, but hey, I get it, don’t let the Angels get too comfortable timing Miley or learning every contour of every pitch. Fine. And while Cody Martin’s not a starter, he’s actually somewhat interesting, especially in light of the rash of injuries to bullpen guys like Scribner, Cook and Furbush (and Steve Cishek had a minor bicep issue as well).
When he came to Seattle, I mentioned that Martin’s repertoire had changed markedly once he joined the Oakland A’s. Instead of pitching off a four-seam fastball, he all but abandoned it in favor of a pretty mediocre cutter and a rudimentary slider. It was a very Oakland sort of move, but Martin’s results were awful. In that post, I said he should forget the cutter and focus more on the four-seamer. Thus far with the M’s, it’s looking like he’s back to throwing more four-seamers, and he’s thrown only four cutters. That’s nice, but given the vagaries of Peoria’s pitch fx system, it’d be good to see if that was a one-two game blip, or if his arsenal really has changed. It’s looking like he’s throwing more sinkers now, too, which makes some sense for a guy who had serious HR problems last year.
Andrew Heaney came over to LAA from the Dodgers in exchange for 2B Howie Kendrick, and had a promising rookie year. A lefty who throws from a somewhat arm angle – his release point is way, way towards 1B – he’s always shown great control and the ability to really eat up left-handers. Given that angle and a sinker-heavy pitch mix, you might expect some platoon split problems, and while he’s certainly got splits, righties haven’t done as much damage as you might think. Part of the reason is his change-up, which gets nearly a foot of armside run (very Mike Montgomery-ish), and the other part may be knowing how to use spacious parks. Heaney gets left-handers to hit the ball on the ground, but he’s a fly-ball pitcher against righties, which is why his overall GB% is below 40%. All of those fly balls haven’t hurt him that much, though – his HR/FB is low, and while it’s a bit higher vs. righties, as you might expect, it was low enough that he didn’t really have a HR issue against righties. Note this isn’t the same thing as having huge home/away splits the way many of his teammates do: Heaney gave up 7 out of his 9 HRs at home, and had worse numbers overall in the HR-suppressing Angels Stadium.
1: L. Martin, CF
2: Marte, SS
3: Romero, 1B
4: Seager, 3B
5: Lee, DH
6: Zunino, C
7: Taylor, 2B
8: Powell, LF
9: Robertson, RF
SP: C. Martin
The M’s get to face former prospect Ji-Man Choi, who signed on with Anaheim after being waived by Seattle this past fall. The Angels are going with their #1 middle-of-the-order with Trout/Pujols/Calhoun in the 3-5 spots today.