On Friday night, the Brewers traded Zack Greinke (2.50 FIP and 2.94 SIERA this season) to the Angels for 3 prospects, Jean Seguera, Ariel Pena, and John Hellweg. Jean Seguera is the headline prospect in the deal (who even got to play in a game with the Angels’ big league club), a middle infielder with a good line drive rate in AA and good reports on his bat from scouts. However, since this is an “off the radar” post, I will focus on the two pitchers.
When I saw Ariel Pena previously (in the Texas League All-Star game), he looked like a guy with a good fastball but lacking command of it. I went back to watch his last start in the Angels’ organization to gather more data.
The right hander has a clean delivery and isn’t scared to throw his fastball inside for strikes. The fastball looked really good velocity wise as hitters were having all kinds of problems swinging quick enough to get on it and fouled a lot of them back. He was spotting the ball pretty well early on but his fastball command deteriorated as the game went along. He has an acceptable walk rate of 8.8% this year. He wasn’t missing a lot of bats with it though, and it seemed best when it was down. He threw a couple of great changeups/sliders with 2 strikes that had sharp bite into the dirt for strike 3. His command of it wasn’t always good as it would stay in the middle of the plate (and then would often throw it above the strike zone). When he did control it, it was his out pitch. Pena gets a lot of fly-balls, and although his HR/FB ratio is worse than league average, it seemed like he was getting a lot of weak fly-balls when I saw him and he gets a lot more infield fly-balls than league average. Overall this year, Pena has a 3.98 FIP and 3.61 SIERA, which is average to better than league average in the Texas League.
Hellweg is seen by many as a wildcard, with good stuff but some serious command questions. The delivery isn’t messy, and he brings his arm back a little bit to hide the ball.
He was throwing 95-97 MPH in his final start for the Angels’ AA affiliate (he has hit 100 MPH a couple times this year according to reports). It has some bite too, not a straight. The slider doesn’t have real big break but it breaks down. He threw it for some strikes but it is probably best when he buries it in the dirt. As the scouting reports said, control is a huge issue for Hellweg. Especially his fastball, which just was crazy wild when I saw him. Hellweg does have a swing and miss changeup that I saw him throw for strikes. He definately has swing and miss stuff on all his pitches. As cliche as it sounds, it didn’t look like he was finishing his delivery. A lot of balls just stayed way to the right, including one scary fastball that hit a batter in the head. Weirdly, he seemed to have better control of his breaking pitches than his fastball.
To take Greinke’s spot in the rotation, the Brewers promoted Mark Rogers from AAA. He wasn’t pitching very well there at all, with a 5.12 FIP and 4.69 SIERA. A former 1st round pick in 2004, Rogers has had multiple arm and wrist surgeries. He made his MLB debut in 2010 and pitched in 4 games making 2 starts.
Rogers first pitch was a high 93 MPH fastball. He has a bit of a pause in his delivery followed by an over the top delivery.
Rogers really lived at 94 MPH-97 MPH. He was somewhat wild to start the game and didn’t have great control throughout (but didn’t walk a lot of batters). A low fastball inside to Steve Lombardozzi was cranked to RF for a homer to start the game (after he fell behind 3-1). His next pitch hit 95 MPH to Bryce Harper up high above the zone and got Rogers a ground-out. He gave up another deep fly-ball on his fastball but really settled down after that. Even in the 6th inning he was still throwing 96-97 MPH, keeping his velocity throughout.
His main secondary pitch was a 81-88 MPH slider. It is a ground-ball pitch when he can keep it down, but it is really inconsistent in both movement and velocity. It is almost like they were different pitches at times. Sometimes it broke like a traditional slider and other times it didn’t have much break at all. When he had any kind control of it, it made his fastball a lot better. The Nationals squared up several of his fastballs when he put them in on the low or middle part of the plate and he didn’t set it up with the slider. When he started the at-bats with some sliders, his fastball looked even better (especially when it was high). He broke off some good sliders to Bryce Harper to get him chasing for a strikeout.