Recently, I have done two different posts on Pitch F/X data in the Arizona Fall League. You can read those posts here and here. This post will use the same data that one can find on GameDay through the MLB.com site, except this one will be on 3 hitters. I will look to see if the data can tell us anything about 3 different hitting prospects. I took a little bit of liberty on pitch classification, as there were clearly some problems in identifying changeups versus fastballs in some cases.
Yordy Cabrera has struggled since being drafted in the 2nd round by the A’s, as he has been below average offensively at every stop, including really struggling in the hitter friendly California League in 2012. He was traded by the A’s in part of the deal that sent Heath Bell from the Marlins to the Diamondbacks (with Cabrera being the player that the Marlins received). He has played just 2 games in Pitch F/X parks in the AFL, so I won’t sort the results like I will for the two players below. Instead, here is just the results for the pitches in the two games separated by platoons.
October 24th (Pitched away in first at-bat):
89 MPH fastball: ball
87 MPH fastball: GB (hit)
88 fastball: foul
93 MPH fastball: ball, foul, called strike, foul, ball, soft fly-ball (hit)
90 MPH fastball: foul
91 MPH fastball: ball, foul, line drive (hit)
92 MPH fastball: swinging strike, foul
93 MPH fastball: called strike
82 MPH slider: swinging strike.
76 slider: outside and middle, swinging strike
76 change: ball
84 change: ball
91 MPH fastball: ground-ball (out)
90 MPH fastball: ground-ball (out)
82 MPH curveball: called strike, ball
84 MPH slider: ball
81 MPH change: called strike
80 MPH curveball: ground-ball (out)
95 MPH fastball: fly-ball (out)
87 MPH slider: ball
Darrell Ceciliani was the Mets 4th round pick in 2009. The 2012 season was extremely limited thanks to an injury that allowed him to play just 23 games. This is why he is playing in the Arizona Fall League.
Against RHP (Ceciliani is a LHB):
Change (77-84 MPH): 4 fouls, line drive (hit), 2 fly-ball (outs), 8 balls, swinging strike, ground-ball (out)
Cutter (86-87 MPH): 2 swinging strikes, 2 balls
Below average to average fastball (88-91 MPH): 11 balls, 4 fouls, ground-ball (out), 4 called strikes, fly-ball (out)
Above average fastball (92-98) fastball: 11 balls, 2 fouls, 4 called strikes, 2 line drive (hit and out), 3 ground-balls (hit and 2 outs), fly-ball (out)
So he handles the fastball well when he has the platoon advantage, and he was patient too. The cutter gave him problems in the small sample size.
Curveball (75-86 MPH): 4 balls, foul, called strike, swinging strike
Slider (80-87 MPH): fly-ball (out), 3 fouls, called strike, swinging strike
Cecilliani seems to handle the breaking balls pretty well when he has the platoon advantage. He also did a good job against the change, which is important when you have the platoon advantage. The only concern is the cutter.
LHP, so when he doesn’t have the platoon advantage:
Above Average Fastball (92-95 MPH): 4 called strikes, 2 fouls, 2 balls
Below Average to Average Fastball (87-91 MPH): swinging strike, line drive (hit), 3 balls, 3 fouls, called strike, ground-ball (out)
Curveball (71-81 MPH) : 2 balls, 4 swinging strikes, 2 called strikes
Change (81-82 MPH): swinging strike, called strike, ball
Slider (75-82 MPH) : 3 swinging strikes, 2 balls, 4 called strikes
Cutter (87 MPH): ball
Against left handed pitchers, the sample size is not as large. He seems to handle the fastball just fine, but it seems that the left-handed curveball and slider is giving him problems. He actually has a higher walk rate against lefties in the minors, but hits for less power and strikes out more as well.
Javier Baez was the first round pick (9th overall) in 2011 by the Chicago Cubs. He hurt his thumb, and the fear is that it is broken, so his AFL season is most likely over. Most of his at-bats were also in non Pitch F/X parks. However, there is still some data we can look at.
Fastball/Cutter (90-94 MPH): 3 ground-balls (2 hits, 1 out), 2 called strikes, 3 balls, 5 swinging strikes
Slider (79-88 MPH): 3 swinging strikes, 2 fouls, ground-ball (hit), 2 fly-ball (out and hit), 2 called strikes, 4 balls
Fastball (89-93 MPH):2 fouls, 2 ground-balls (out and error), line drive (out), called strike, swinging strike, 2 balls
Change (77-87 MPH): swinging strike, 4 balls, fly-ball (homer)
Slider (79-82 MPH): 2 fouls, swinging strike, line drive (out)
So obviously small sample sizes apply, but Baez appears to handle left-handers well, including changeups. Against right-handers, he seems to be swinging and missing a lot, especially on fastballs. His reputation is that he has problems with good breaking stuff, but the fastballs is what gave him the most trouble. This isn’t supposed to be a problem since he has elite bat speed (or so the scouting reports say). However, I have heard that there may be some problems with him getting his swing started. In the minors this year, he didn’t really have a platoon split. One could say that the pitching in the AFL, while not high quality, is more advanced than the pitching he was seeing in Dayton or Peoria. This might expose a platoon flaw he has. The counter argument could be that this is mainly small sample size and has no real bearing on Baez’s future or even a good measure of his current talent. We will see as he moves up in the minors .