Results tagged ‘ Noah Syndergaard ’
By Danny Wild
We’re back with the weekly rundown of our favorite Tweets from our favorite Minor Leaguers. We’ll begin with Mariners No. 1 prospect Taijuan Walker, who, since he’s admitting it, won’t make me embarrased to say I also have not seen all the Star Wars movies. Walker is catching up, though, between starts for Double-A Jackson:
I’m on the the 5th Star Wars now! Past 3 days have been nothing but Star Wars! #skywalker
— Taijuan Walker (@tai_walker) May 16, 2013
Who of us has ever gone out to see a movie and been stunned when a medium bag of popcorn costs $10? Gary Brown, probably. Brown, the Giants’ top offensive prospect, has some beef with movie theatres hiking prices:
$11.75 for a movie ticket. $11.75 for a movie ticket. $11.75 for a movie ticket. Sounds terrible every time.
— Gary Brown (@garybrown909) May 16, 2013
Brown signed with the Giants for $1.3 million, though, so he can probably survive for now. For slightly more affordable entertainment, Xavier Scruggs, a first baseman with Double-A Springfield in the Cardinals system, turns to a classic:
— Xavier Scruggs (@Xavier_Scruggs) May 16, 2013
What if there are no good movies out and some little punk kid has already claimed the arcade machines? If you’re Mets No. 3 prospect Noah Syndergaard, maybe you go check out the little tropical fish or cat climbing trees:
Got some time to kill so where do I go? Petco! Where the pets go.
— Noah Syndergaard (@Noahsyndergaard) May 16, 2013
Black Dark roast coffee to kick start this early day. Gotta love 10 30 games and gotta hate em at the same time
— Jameson Taillon (@JTaillon19) May 16, 2013
A waffle is like a pancake with a syrup trap.
— Tony Sanchez (@Tony26Montana) May 16, 2013
Totally. (The pancake quote is actually from the late Mitch Hedberg, who is awesome).
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that, just because you’re a professional baseball player, you aren’t necessarily a grizzled, old, scruffy, bearded, mustachioed veteran. Sometimes you’re 22-year-old Orioles No. 2 prospect Kevin Gausman:
Successfully shaved my face using a straight edge razor!!! Closest shave ever!!! Even more baby faced then I was before!! Haha #Smooth!!!
— Kevin Gausman (@KevinGausman) May 16, 2013
Peoria right-hander Tyrell Jenkins, the Cardinals’ 2010 first-round pick and No. 7 prospect, discovered an unidentified teammate’s hidden talent: reading with his eyes closed. As others Tweeted, he’s keeping his hand warm, too:
— Brotha Jenkins™ (@TyrellJenkins14) May 16, 2013
Yankees right-hander Danny Burawa got innovative when he needed to follow the New York Rangers’ playoff game on Thursday:
Not having cable sucks, stealing internet to listen to radio though #LetsGoRangers !!!
— danny burawa (@dannyburawa) May 17, 2013
Jeremy Barfield continues his streak of Tweets with this thought on Ian Kinsler:
Imagine a T-Rex sliding head first. That’s what Ian Kinsler just did. #nottop10
— Jeremy Barfield (@Baseclogger) May 17, 2013
Cody Decker took some time to put ham back in its place among basic lunch meats:
Okay, take it easy, Black Forest Ham…… You’re ham…..
— Cody Decker (@Decker6) May 11, 2013
Taijuan Walker, evidently not inspired to meet anyone from Star Wars, holds out another dream:
My goal is to meet will smith!
— Taijuan Walker (@tai_walker) May 16, 2013
Tony Sanchez was elated to get a birthday card from a youngster in this nice moment:
Jax was kind enough to sign my BDay card after he gave it to me. What a guy. twitter.com/Tony26Montana/…
— Tony Sanchez (@Tony26Montana) May 16, 2013
Chipotle Tweet of the Week
Finally, Lancaster’s Aaron West may be a pitcher, but he didn’t hesitate in going to bat for his favorite burrito house:
— Aaron West (@WestAaron14) May 11, 2013
Will Leitch, one of America’s best sportswriters, has a feature in the current issue of New York Magazine called “The Glass Arm: Inside the art and science (but mostly still art) of keeping pitchers from getting hurt.” Check it out here.
On a warm, windy day in Tampa, everyone—fans, coaches, other pitchers—stops what they’re doing to watch Brett Marshall throw. It’s just a warm-up, with no actual game action scheduled for a few more days, so he’s not really letting it fly, but he doesn’t have to. Everyone is still staring.
It’s not the velocity, although that’s there. It’s not the distinctive thump of the ball hitting the catcher’s mitt the way it does only for those blessed with such lightning arms. It’s how easy it looks. Each motion looks like the last motion, which looks like the last motion, which looks like the last motion. The fastball comes in at a consistent 94 mph, but it’s the changeup, widely considered his best pitch, that you have to keep an eye out for; the arm action is perfectly deceptive for being so repeatable. Marshall looks fluid and simple, like he could throw forever. To watch him pitch is to think that throwing a baseball is the most natural thing in the world. When he finishes, a group of fans standing on a walkway above burst into applause. He has simply been playing catch.
In the clubhouse afterward, Marshall is taking a sip of water and checking his iPhone with his non-throwing hand. He is 22 years old and seems unaware of the show he’s just put on. The display is over, just another workout session in a career full of them. Marshall has been in the Yankees organization for five seasons, and has climbed through the team’s minor-league ranks at the exact pace you’d want him to. He will likely spend this season in Triple-A Scranton, one stop from the bigs, where guaranteed contracts and the major-league-minimum salary of $490,000 a year, at the very least, await. If he puts up the kind of numbers scouts think he’s capable of—double-digit wins, with a 4.00 ERA, 175 innings a season, say—he could well earn $10 million a year or more. He’s on the verge of becoming a millionaire and playing for the New York Yankees in front of the entire world. And he knows it could all blow up in a second. “You just want your arm to hold up,” he says. “You have to not think about it. I do not, man. Not at all.”
Marshall is a Texas kid (baseball scouts have long had a fetish for Texas pitchers, from Ryan to Roger Clemens) who exploded on the scouting scene his junior year in high school. The fact that he had started out as a shortstop made many scouts believe he would be less injury prone because he’d thrown fewer pitches (the “you only have so many bullets in the gun” theory). Marshall lost the last start of his high-school career when he hit a batter in the state semifinals to force in the deciding run. It was his 146th pitch. The Yankees drafted Marshall in the sixth round in 2008. He pitched a total of twenty games (poorly; his ERA was 5.21) before his arm started feeling sore and the Yankees shut him down. He then had Tommy John surgery. He was 19.
This got me thinking about how many pitching prospects still in the Minors have undergone the operation we most associate with baseball’s best hurlers. So I wondered how many of the 29 pitchers that I interviewed in-depth last season for our Prospect Pitch series (first edition here, and you can click to other editions using the drop-down menu in the middle of the story) went under the knife. Here’s what I found:
Have undergone Tommy John:
- Cam Bedrosian (Angels) – “It’s frustrating. It is,” he said. “Coming back from it, it’s been tougher than I first imagined. I thought, ‘Once I get to about 12 months and get back in the system and throwing again, I’ll be all ready to go.’ But it’s been a lot tougher getting a feel for everything. My first couple of starts were a little — I was a little wild. It was hard to control the fastball and other pitches. Each time I throw, I feel a little bit better.”
- John Gast (Cardinals) – “I was more of a slinger — I had a lower arm slot in high school — and I had Tommy John surgery and changed my motion. [The slurve] was a little easier to throw when you’re slinging across it. I’m a little more on top than I was, but not by much. The action of the pitch hasn’t changed; the hitters are just better.”
- Drew Hutchison (Blue Jays) — Had the surgery not long after we spoke.
- Brett Marshall (Yankees) – “My first year, I threw a lot of curveballs. Every day, even after a start, I’d throw 100 curveballs on flat ground, just spinning ‘em, trying to get a feel for it. So after Tommy John [surgery in 2009], I was like, ‘Give me my sinker back. That’s what I had when ya’ll signed me, and that was one big thing that got me drafted.’ I have been throwing it ever since.”
- Eric Surkamp (Giants) – Had the surgery not long after we spoke.
- Navery Moore (Braves) – “I was throwing pretty hard in high school for my age, and that’s how I got hurt,” said Moore, who was clocked at 96 mph before undergoing Tommy John surgery on his elbow in March 2007. “I grew fairly quickly, and then out of nowhere, my body had to adjust to throwing that hard, on top of [using] mechanics that probably weren’t the best. … The hardest thing after [surgery] was getting my feel back. My arm strength was back, but it was just something about confidence and repetition to get back the feel for breaking pitches; I was trying to do too much with the breaking pitches.”
- Jake Petricka (White Sox) – Had the surgery way back in 2007.
Prospect Q&A: Marlins LHP Justin Nicolino on Being Traded, Turning Down WBC Team Italy, Hitting off Noah Syndergaard
Justin Nicolino completed his first bullpen session this morning. Excellent news, right Marlins fans?
Ready for even better news? Nicolino’s month-old throwing program is to get ready for the 2013 Minor League season, not the World Baseball Classic. More on that later. First, some background: Nicolino (@J_Nicolino22) was the best prospect in that 10-player, mid-November trade that sent All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes from Miami to Toronto. (I wrote here why I thought the Jays won the deal, despite Nicolino’s inclusion.) Now the Marlins’ No. 4 prospect (and baseball’s No. 86 overall), the 21-year-old left-hander will likely begin April at Class A Advanced Jupiter.
I caught up with Nicolino, who started throwing Dec. 16 and is working out with Cardinals farmhand Joe Cuda, this afternoon from his home in Palm Harbor. (He moved from Orlando to the Clearwater-Dunedin area when he was still in Toronto’s system but has relocated again.). Enjoy our chat.
Me: Let’s start with the newsiest item. You were asked to pitch for Team Italy in the WBC but declined?
Nicolino: Yeah, I got that phone call this past Sunday. I got a call from the pitching coach and he asked me if I would want to pitch for Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic. They asked me if I wanted come out and do that. For me, it was an honor. To get called and be given an opportunity to pitch, I think for anyone, it’s an honor. When I talked to ‘em, I just said that with the trade and everything that’s happened this offseason, I wanted to get down [to Florida] and get used to the way the Marlins did everything. That way, I can go into Spring Training knowing [how the Marlins do things]. I didn’t want to go play for Team Italy and not know anything about the Marlins, or the Marlins not knowing anything about me firsthand. I told [Team Italy], ‘Maybe down the road, call back and it might be different.’
Me: Obviously, you’re an American-born Floridian, so would it have been weird to pitch for bella Italia and against Team USA?
Nicolino: Yeah, definitely. Being an American and having Team USA — that was the funny thing that came up in my conversation with my agent. A couple years down the road, whenever I get that phone call back, ‘What would you want to do: Team USA or Team Italy?’ At that point, four years down the road who’s to say what I’d do and who’d I pitch for.
Me: Just out of curiosity, where does your Italian heritage come from?
CiPitcher: Noah Syndergaard (from Blue Jays to Mets)
Headline: Mets added d’Arnaud, Syndergaard (12/17)
Team in 2013: Class A Advanced St. Lucie (FSL)
Repertoire: Four pitches
- Four-seam fastball — 94-98 mph — A plus pitch, but is it too straight?
- Two-seam fastball — 94-95 mph — Work-in-progress
- Curveball — 74-79 mph — Improved, but still average
- Circle-changeup — 84-88 mph — Work-in-progress
Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (from Royals to Rays)
Headline: Royals send top prospects to Rays (12/10)
Team in 2013: Triple-A Durham (IL) / Tampa Bay
Repertoire: Four pitches
- Four-seam fastball — 90-96 mph — Not always plus, control is key
- Changeup — 80-83 mph — Work-in-progress
- Curveball — 75 mph — Average at this point
- Slider — 82-85 mph — Average at this point
Pitcher: Alex Meyer (from Nationals to Twins)
Headline: Top prospect Meyer shipped to Twins (11/29)
Team in 2013: Double-A New Britain
Repertoire: Three pitches
- No-seam fastball — 93-98 mph — Plus moving fastball, he plans to add straighter variety
- Knuckle-curveball — 83-86 mph — Not always plus, control is key
- Circle-changeup –87-90 mph — Work-in-progress, this offering’s development could decide his future role
Pitcher: Trevor Bauer (from D-backs to Indians)
Headline: Bauer sent to Tribe in three-team deal (12/11/12)
Team in 2013: Triple-A Columbus (IL) / Cleveland
Repertoire: Eight pitches
- Four-seam fastball — 92-plus mph — Can be a plus pitch, location is key (he likes to pitch up in the zone)
- Changeups 1 — 80-84 mph — Can be a plus pitch, it cuts
- Changeup 2 — 76-81 mph — Can be a plus pitch, it runs
- Curveball — 76-81 mph — Can be a plus pitch when break is right, tight
- Dot slider — 84-86 mph — Can be a plus pitch, big breaker
- Circle slider — 84 mph — A solid pitch, more of a cutter
- Reverse slider — 88-91 mph — His invention, average offering
- Splitter — 86-88 mph — Work-in-progress
Editor’s note: Lost and Found is an offseason series in which one underrated prospect from each of the 30 MLB clubs will be discussed in a short, snappy post.
Lost: Sean Nolin had this unenviable scenario unfold in 2010: He was drafted after that Noah Syndergaard-Aaron Sanchez-Justin Nicolino trio in 2010 and, unlike each of those top pitching prospects, did not begin his career as smoothly.
2010-2011: 32 G — 28 GS — 4-6 W-L — 3.82 ERA — .262 .AVG — 149-41 K-BB – 129 2/3 IP at Rookie-level Bluefield, Auburn and Class A Lansing
Found: The sixth-round choice turned improved dramatically in his third pro season, doing many what many elite prospects do: upping their game against higher-level competition. His opponents’ batting average has decreased at each new level, including the .170 mark he held Eastern League (AA) hitters to this year, his restorative year.
2012: 20 G — 18 S — 10-0 — 2.04 ERA — .218 .AVG — 108-27 K-BB — 101 1/3 IP at Class A Advanced Dunedin, Double-A New Hampshire
So Nolin was lost, now he is found. Now, about the Blue Jays’ returns: Soon to turn 23 and now Toronto’s No. 19 prospect, Nolin deserves to be in that Syndergaard-Sanchez-Nicolino group. His low-to-mid-90-mph fastball is a touch below Syndergaard’s and Sanchez’s, and his changeup is almost or about as good as Nicolino’s, which is saying something. The less-lauded lefty also has immense confidence in his curveball, while his slider has perhaps the greatest potential to improve. He should begin ’13 at Double-A, which puts him a full year ahead of his fellow farmhands in development. So he may actually be the first of the four to get to the Majors, and that’s where he’s headed.