Sunday Notes: Southpaw Speier Discovered Success in Seattle

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If you happen to’re not a Mariners fan — and even if you’re — there’s a fairly respectable probability you don’t know that Gabe Speier, together with Toronto’s Tim Mayza, made probably the most appearances amongst junior-circuit southpaws through the common season. And never solely did Speier come out of the Seattle bullpen 69 occasions, he carried out admirably far most of the time. The 28-year-old nephew of former big-league infielder Chris Speier logged a 3.79 ERA and a 3.35 FIP with 64 strikeouts and simply 48 hits allowed in 54-and-two-thirds innings.

This isn’t his first look in Sunday Notes. Again in August 2015, I quoted the then-20-year-old shortly after he’d been traded from the Boston Crimson Sox to the Detroit Tigers as a part of the Rick PorcelloYoenis Cespedes deal. I requested the itinerant hurler — the Mariners are his sixth group — how he’d describe his path from late-round draft decide to dependable big-league reliever.

“It’s been loopy,” replied Speier., whom Boston took within the nineteenth spherical of the 2013 draft out of Goleta, California’s Dos Pueblos Excessive Faculty. “My path has included being traded many occasions, however I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’ve made quite a lot of associates in each group I’ve been in, and I’ve discovered rather a lot from many various coaches. Seattle was one other recent begin for me, and I really feel like I’m a great place right here.”

Speier got here into into the season having made 41 big-league appearances, all with the Kansas Metropolis Royals from 2019-2022. He put up respectable numbers in that four-year span— a 3.83 ERA and a 4.23 FIP over 40 innings — however that was whereas shuttling between KC and Triple-A Omaha. By and huge, the 5-11 lefty was a 4-A reliever with out a agency foothold in MLB relevancy.

Once we spoke this summer season, I requested Speier what’s behind his newfound success.

“Lots of it’s them telling me my stuff is big-league stuff and that I simply have to throw it within the zone,” was his reply. “I do know that’s Pitching 101, however whereas it was at all times at the back of my thoughts that I wanted to get forward of hitters, and keep forward, the Mariners put it within the forefront of my thoughts. That’s been the principle purpose since I received right here. It’s form of grow to be my predominant identification, that I’m going to pound the zone.”

The numbers present that he did simply that. Speier issued simply 1.81 walks per 9 innings, fourth lowest amongst relievers who threw a minimum of 50 innings. And he wasn’t precisely tossing cookies over the center. His 10.54 strikeouts per 9 innings had been larger than the three pitchers who completed in entrance of him for stroll charge.

Throwing strikes is clearly an enormous a part of Pitching 101 — it at all times has been, and at all times can be — however on the similar time, that is 2023 and the Mariners are an analytically-inclined group. One would count on that they’d extra concepts up their proverbial sleeves after they introduced Speier on board. Based on the November 2022 waiver-wire acquisition, that’s not essentially true.

“I had by no means been with a company the place the analytics had been a predominant half, so I used to be form of anticipating them to be like, ‘Oh, if you happen to change your grip right here you may get extra motion,’ or no matter,” stated Speier. “However that wasn’t the case. They principally simply instructed me that my stuff was already good, so I simply wanted to throw it within the zone. The best way I’m going about that’s by creating a much bigger goal as an alternative of making an attempt to be excellent. There’s location concerned — I’m not making an attempt to simply throw it down the center — however as an alternative of choosing corners, I’m form of choosing thirds.”

He’s additionally been pitching successfully within the massive leagues. As lately as a yr in the past, he wasn’t positive one other alternative to take action was within the playing cards.

“I received despatched down final [June] and actually struggled in Triple-A,” stated Speier, whose numbers with Omaha included an unsightly 14.51 ERA over 30 appearances. “I didn’t know if I used to be going to make it again to the massive leagues. Fortunately the Mariners picked me up and gave me a shot. Like I stated, it’s form of been a loopy path.”

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RANDOM HITTER-PITCHER MATCHUPS

Hank Aaron went 5 for six in opposition to Carroll Sembera.

Carroll Hardy went 8 for 18 in opposition to Joe Nuxhall.

Corbin Carroll is 6 for 11 in opposition to Yu Darvish.

Jamey Carroll went 6 for 10 in opposition to Will Smith.

Child Doll Jacobson went 6 for 10 in opposition to Ownie Carroll.

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Requested in late August about pennant races, Dusty Baker stated that whereas he watches the scoreboard and roots for sure groups, what occurs in different video games is past your management — all you are able to do is attempt to play good constant baseball and see who comes out on prime. In the identical sit-down with reporters, the 74-year-old veteran of 26 managerial seasons introduced up how he’d been in pennant races as a younger supervisor. I requested him if he approaches issues any otherwise now.

“No,” replied Baker, whose Houston Astros went on to seize the AL West title on the ultimate day of the season and at the moment are on the doorstep of the World Collection. “It’s the identical. A race is a race. Anyone ever ran a race, anyone ever ran monitor, [knows] a race is a race. You simply do what you are able to do. As a younger supervisor, like I stated, my first yr [1993 with the San Francisco Giants] was thrilling. You’re extraordinarily drained in a race like this, emotionally drained. You’re simply hoping to search out probably the most power, probably the most constant power… I like a great battle.”

Following up, I requested Baker if the joy is any completely different now that he’s skilled it so many occasions over time. His reply was basic Dusty.

“Nah,” stated Baker, who received a World Collection as an outfielder with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981, and [finally] his first as a supervisor with the Astros final yr. “I prefer to win. I’m spoiled by successful. It’s no completely different now than once I was a child. That’s why I requested to be traded from the Braves as a younger participant: I used to be bored with dropping. It was the identical method once I was taking part in Cowboys and Indians. I needed to be the Native Individuals, as a result of I used to be bored with watching TV and seeing the Indians lose on a regular basis. I’m critical.”

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A quiz:

Who holds the report for many dwelling runs by a participant who spent his complete big-league profession with just one workforce?

The reply could be discovered beneath.

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NEWS NOTES

Jin Wong, who has been with the group for two-plus a long time, most lately as an VP of Baseball Administration/Assistant GM, is reportedly leaving the Kansas Metropolis Royals. Wong has served a number of roles since coming to KC in 2020.

Mike McCarthy received’t be returning to the Oakland Athletics teaching workers subsequent season. The 35-year-old, analytically-inclined teacher — interviewed about his craft right here at FanGraphs in August 2022 — was the membership’s bullpen coach this previous season.

The Tampa Bay Rays have promoted Blake Butera to Senior Director of Participant Growth. The 31-year-old Boston Faculty product has been a minor-league participant, coach, supervisor, and assistant discipline coordinator within the group.

Jeff Peterek, a right-handed pitcher whose big-league profession comprised seven appearances for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1989, died final weekend at age 60. The Michigan Metropolis, Indiana native went 0-2 with a 4.02 ERA.

Bob Priddy, who pitched for six big-league groups from 1962-1971, died in late September at age 83 (per Baseball Participant Passings). A right-hander who posted a 4.00 ERA over 536 innings, he recorded 9 of his 24 wins, and 12 of his 18 saves, with the Atlanta Braves.

Pete Ladd, a right-handed reliever who logged 17 wins and 39 saves whereas taking part in for six big-league groups from 1979-1986, died earlier this week at age 67. The Portland, Maine native had 25 of his saves with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1983. He made one look within the 1982 World Collection.

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The reply to the quiz is Mike Schmidt, who hit 548 dwelling runs whereas taking part in completely with the Philadelphia Phillies. Mickey Mantle (536 with the New York Yankees) and Ted Williams (521 with the Boston Crimson Sox) have the subsequent highest one-team-only totals.

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Which former supervisor is extra worthy of the Corridor of Fame, Jim Leyland or Lou Piniella? I posed that query in a Twitter ballot a couple of days in the past, and the end result wasn’t almost as shut as I’d anticipated it to be. Extra on that in a second.

Each are the on the recently-announced, eight-person, 2024 Modern Baseball Period Committee Managers/Executives/Umpires poll, which my colleague Jay Jaffe broke down earlier this week. There are two different managers on the poll as effectively, however whereas Cito Gaston and Davey Johnson are likewise stable candidates, Leyland and Piniella having probably the most managerial wins among the many foursome made them a logical ballot matchup. Counting the postseason, these totals are Piniella 1,858, Leyland 1,813, Johnson 1,397, Gaston 912.

Greater than uncooked win totals matter when assessing a managerial profession, and it bears noting that Gaston has two World Collection championships on his resume (and was the primary Black supervisor to win a Fall Traditional) whereas the others have only one. Once more, each he and Johnson are likewise sturdy candidates.

As for the ballot, Leyland obtained a hefty 74.9% % of the votes forged, whereas Piniella garnered simply 25.1%. What that may imply when the official votes are tabulated on December 3 through the Winter Conferences is anybody’s guess.

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FOREIGN AFFAIRS

The Hanshin Tigers will face the Orix Buffaloes in NPB’s championship sequence, which begins subsequent weekend. The Tigers, which had the Central League’s finest report, beat the Hiroshima Carp to advance. The Buffaloes, which boasted the Pacific League’s finest report and can be trying to defend their title, beat the Chiba Lotte Marines.

Kazuma Okamoto led NPB gamers in dwelling runs this yr with 41. The 27-year-old Yomiuri Giants third baseman/first baseman slashed .278/.374/.585.

The NC Dinos defeated the Doosan Bears 14-9 within the KBO’s wildcard recreation. Ho-cheol Search engine marketing went 3-for-4 with a house run and 6 RBIs for the winners, who go on to face SSG Landers within the subsequent spherical starting right this moment.

Si-hwan Roh led KBO gamers in dwelling runs this yr with 31. The 22-year-old Hanwha Eagles third baseman slashed .298/.388/.541.

Samad Taylor has 9 hits in 29 at-bats for the Mexican Pacific Winter League’s Yaquis de Obregon. The 25-year-old infielder/outfielder made his MLB debut with the Kansas Metropolis Royals in June and logged a dozen hits in 60 at-bats.

Derrick Loop has made three scoreless reduction appearances for Charros de Jalisco. The oldest pitcher within the Mexican Pacific Winter League at age 39, the southpaw is in his 18th skilled season, together with six in affiliated ball stateside. Loop led Sunday Notes on October 16, 2016.

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Bobby Scales joined the Detroit Tigers radio workforce as a part-time analyst this previous season, working alongside esteemed play-by-play voice Dan Dickerson for a choice of highway video games. Earlier than getting into the published sales space, the 40-year-old College of Michigan product performed professionally for 14 seasons — together with elements of two with the Chicago Cubs — and he additionally frolicked within the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s entrance workplace. It was throughout his tenure because the workforce’s director of participant of improvement that he gave a possibility to an independent-league pitcher who two years earlier had gone un-drafted out of Ohio State College.

“We would have liked pitching actually unhealthy on the decrease ranges;” Scales stated of the 2013 signing. “I had an intern named Andrew Mack — I believe he’s with the Crimson Sox now — and I requested him to place collectively a spreadsheet of men who had been main indie ball in all of those completely different classes. From there we noticed that Drew Rucinski was punching everyone out, so we began asking, ‘How is he doing it?’ We had a rudimentary scouting stuff in place for indie ball once I was with the Angels, the studies had been good, and I noticed just a little little bit of tape.

“He was with the Rockford Aviators,” continued Scales. “I talked to his supervisor, and from there I pulled the set off. I signed Rucinski on a Tuesday, he flew out on Wednesday and did just a little knock-the-rust-off contact and really feel when he received on the bottom, after which we began him on Friday. This was in A-ball with Inland Empire. He punched out seven or eight, and from there he simply saved getting higher.”

The next yr, Rucinski was promoted to Double-A Arkansas the place he went 10-6 with a 3.15 ERA in 26 begins. In July of that season, Scales received a name from Jerry Dipoto, who was the Angels’ GM on the time. The large-league membership wanted one other arm within the bullpen, and what might he give him on Rucinski? A couple of days later, the righty out of indie ball made his MLB debut.

9 years later, Rucinski’s resume contains 45 big-league video games, 159 extra within the minors, and (from 2019-2022) one other 121 with the KBO’s NC Dinos. He made 4 begins this yr with the Oakland Athletics earlier than present process season-ending again surgical procedure in July.

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FARM NOTES

Chase Petty had a 1.72 ERA and a 2.32 FIP between Excessive-A Dayton and Double-A Chattanooga. The 20-year-old right-hander within the Cincinnati Reds group logged 66 strikeouts and allowed 63 hits in 68 innings. His FIP was the bottom amongst minor-league pitchers who threw a minimum of 60 innings.

Enniel Cortez went 4-1 with a 1.58 ERA and a 2.64 FIP within the Dominican Summer season League. The 17-year-old right-hander within the Milwaukee Brewers group had 49 strikeouts and walked simply 5 batters in 45-and-two-thirds innings. Cortez was signed out of Tola, Nicaragua in January.

James Triantos is 22-for-51 with three doubles, 4 triples, and two dwelling runs for the Arizona Fall League’s Mesa Photo voltaic Sox. A second-round decide in 2021 out of Vienna, Virginia’s James Madison Excessive Faculty, the 20-year-old infielder within the Chicago Cubs system slashed .285/.363/.390 at Excessive-A Sound Bend this season.

Carson Williams is 14-for-48 with two doubles for the Arizona Fall League’s Peoria Javelinas. Drafted Twenty eighth-overall by the Tampa Bay Rays out of San Diego’s Torrey Pines Excessive Faculty. the 20-year-old shortstop slashed .254/.351/.506 with 23 dwelling runs for Excessive-A Bowling Inexperienced.

Braden Nett has 16 strikeouts, and has allowed six hits and two runs in 13 innings, with the Javelinas. Signed as a non-drafted free agent by the San Diego Padres in 2022, the 21-year-old Troy, Missouri native had a 4.46 ERA over 40-and-a-third innings this yr between the Arizona Advanced League and Low-A Lake Elsinore.

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LINKS YOU’LL LIKE

At NW Baseball Historical past, Amanda Lane Cumming wrote about how baseball video games lasting too lengthy is an opinion that dates again greater than a century.

Trevor Might lambasted understandably-abhorred Oakland A’s proprietor John Fisher whereas saying his retirement earlier this week. Michael Nowels has the story at The Mercury Information.

A Washington DC intersection is ready to be renamed for Mamie “Peanut” Jackson, a two-way participant with the Indianapolis Clowns who was the primary feminine pitcher within the Negro Leagues. Stacy Jackson has the story at Black Enterprise.

MLB.com’s Mandy Bell had some pointed questions for Cleveland Guardians entrance workplace decision-makers Chris Antonetti and Mike Chernoff.

The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli wrote about how Kim Ng was a reluctant trailblazer, and why her Miami Marlins exit makes her much more spectacular (subscription required).

The Fielding Bible has a sortable leaderboard for Defensive Runs Saved.

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RANDOM FACTS AND STATS

George Frazier made three reduction appearances for the New York Yankees in opposition to the Los Angeles Dodgers within the 1981 World Collection and was charged with a loss in all three, together with the Sport 5 clincher. The title was LA’s first since 1965 after they beat the Minnesota Twins in seven video games, a Collection by which each successful pitcher hurled an entire recreation.

Stan Musial had 24 hits, 25 walks, and one strikeout in 103 plate appearances in opposition to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1944.

Jigger Statz recorded 4,093 skilled hits in a profession that spanned the 1919-1942 seasons. Born Arnold John Statz in Waukegan, Illinois, the outfielder logged 536 hits with the Chicago Cubs, 179 with the Brooklyn Robins, 22 with the New York Giants, and three,356 with the Pacific Coast League’s Los Angeles Angels.

Minnie Minoso slashed .339/.405/.539 with 40 doubles, 10 triples, and 20 dwelling runs for the Pacific Coast League’s San Diego Padres in 1950. The PCL performed a 200-game season that yr with the Padres ending 114-86, 4 video games behind the pennant-winning Oakland Oaks. The San Francisco Seals completed 100-100.

Barry Bonds slashed .359/.526/.821 with 22 dwelling runs in 255 profession plate appearances versus the Milwaukee Brewers.

The San Francisco Giants traded Bobby Bonds to the New York Yankees in alternate for Bobby Murcer on right this moment’s in 1974. Bonds, who was subsequently traded 5 extra occasions in as a few years, had 32 dwelling runs and a 151 wRC+ in his lone season with the Yankees. Murcer hit 34 dwelling runs with a 126 wRC+ over his two seasons with the Giants.

The Oakland Athletics beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-2 in Sport 7 of the World Collection on right this moment’s date in 1972. Gene Tenace, who homered 4 occasions within the sequence, had a run-scoring single within the first inning and a go-ahead RBI double within the sixth inning.

On right this moment’s date in 2011, Albert Pujols homered thrice to steer the St. Louis Cardinals to a 16-7 win over the Texas Rangers in Sport 3 of the World Collection. Every of the bombs got here from the sixth inning on.

Gamers born on right this moment’s date embrace Wilbur Wooden, a knuckleballer who averaged 22 wins and 348 innings pitched with the Chicago White Sox from 1971-1974. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-born southpaw had averaged 80 appearances, 11 wins, and 17 saves figuring out of the ChiSox bullpen the earlier three seasons.

Additionally born on right this moment’s date was Chick Lathers, an infielder who noticed motion in 70 video games for the Detroit Tigers between the 1910 and 1911 seasons. A local of Dearborn, Michigan, Charles Ten Eyck Lathers recorded the primary of his 29 big-league hits off of White Sox Corridor of Fame right-hander “Huge Ed” Walsh.





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