A few weeks back, I spent a couple days at the Kansas JUCO scout days. The East Division teams went the first day with the West division teams going the next day. The conditions were a little extreme the first day with rain forcing the pitchers inside where they had to throw off artificial mounds and when the position players hit, they had a nice wind blowing out. The East players were able to hit a half dozen or so home runs over the CF fence while no one from the West did. Also, the West pitchers had more pitchers hitting 90 mph off the bullpen mounds, while the East squad had just a few. With those disclaimers out of the way, here are some of the players who caught my interest. These are not all my notes, so if you have any questions email me at wydiyd~hotmail~com or on Twitter @JeffWZimmerman
On this past Friday, I was able to attend the four games of the Jawhawk Conference’s (Region VI) Junior College Baseball Championship. Here are my thoughts on some of the players I saw.
Note: For the stats on any player, go to the Leaders stats page for the KJCCC and then click on the player’s Team at the bottom right.
Chad Thomas – Fresh, 5’8”, 175 lbs, RH
He threw side arm at an all right-handed Steward County lineup and ate them up. His fastball was at 82-84 mph with a 72-74 mph curve. He only allowed two runs and struggled the fourth time through the lineup. I expected him to have problems the 2nd time, but he was able to keep Steward’s lineup guessing.
Lucas Milner – Fresh, 5’11”, 180 lbs, RH
His delivery was unique. He looked like it was going to have submarine style release, but then flicked the ball across the plate with only his wrist and elbow. His fastball was 78-79 mph and he showed a change.
Yesterday, Norberto Rivas at baseballciencia explained via video and words why sliding head first is faster into first base. Here is the explanation in tweets. I figured I would put the relevant information all in one place for future reference.
Tanner Roark has a 1.78 BB/9 in one and half seasons for the Nationals. Currently, he has a Steamer projection of 2.26 for his 2015 BB/9. This value seemed a bit high to me. I went back and looked at the next season’s BB/9 for pitcher who threw at least 160 inning and had a BB/9 between 1.5 and 2.0.
Looking at all pitchers, the average BB/9 was 1.77 and jumped to 2.07 the next season. Since Roark is not as established, I limited the search to pitcher 27-years-old or younger and got a 1.77 BB/9 in season one and it jumped to 2.10 the next season. I looked at the median values to see if one high BB/9 was messing with the average, but the values were almost identical.
So if a pitcher does have an BB/9 between 1.5 and 2.0, historically they should expect a decent sized jump in their prediction for next season.
I just got done reading The Sports Gene by David Espstein. The books looks at how science is helping to understand and find great athletes. It had a couple of sections on baseball players with some interesting quotes for future reference. The first quote deals with the great eye sight baseball players inherit:
Over 4 years of testing, and 387 minor and major league players, Rosenbaum and his team found an average visual acuity around 20/13. Position players…had better vision than pitchers, and major league players had better vision than minor leaguers. Major league position players had an average right eye visual acuity of 20/11 and an average left eye visual acuity of 20/12. In the test of fine depth perception, 58 percent of the baseball players scored “superior,” compared with 18 percent of a control population. In tests of contrast sensitivity, the pro players scored better than collegiate baseball players had in previous research, and collegiate baseball scored better than young people in the general population. In each eye test, pro baseball players were better than nonathletes, and major league players were better than minor league players. “Half the guys on the Dodger’s major league roster were 20/10 uncorrected,” Rosenbaum says.
The two largest population studies of visual acuity, one from India and one from China, give a sense of just how rare 20/10 vision might be. In the Indian study, out of 9411 tested eyes, one single eye had 20/10 vision. In the Beijing Eye Study, only 22 out of 4438 eyes tested at 20/17.
The next quote deals with baseball players taking ADHD