Way back in April the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Commonwealth of Independent States, sent the notorious “Player To Be Named Later” to the Baltimore Orioles for Parker Bridwell. At the time Bridwell was an unheard of 25 year old righthander with less than 20 innings above AA. The move flew under the radar to most of the baseball world with the exception of the Bridwell family, and an eccentric dyslexic real estate agent named Shelly with a passion for anything bird related. See no one at the time, could have foreseen this unheralded pro in his 7th season in the minors helping a major league ball club. Fast forward 3 months, and here we sit about to breakdown Bridwell’s 6th major league start of 2017 against the contending Tampa Bay Rays. What a world!
Scouting Report: Despite spending parts of 7 seasons in the minor leagues, Bridwell has an interesting mix of pitches. The righty is unique from the sense that his most heavily used pitch is his 90 MPH cutter and not his mid-90’s four-seamer. Though the usage difference between the two is mere percentage points (24.9% usage on the cutter to 23.58% usage on the four-seamer). He uses his low 90’s sinker (19.5%), mid-80’s changeup (16.7%), and low-80’s slider (15.2%) with near bookends regularity. His changeup has some run, while his slider features two plane movement. He throws all 5 pitches from different release points though the sinker and four-seamer are similar. He tends to work both sides of the plate with his fastball against lefties, while opting to work heavily inside to righthanders. A majority of his cutter usage to both righties and lefties is low in the zone and to the armside. While both his changeup and sinker tend to be used low in the zone to the gloveside. The slider on the other hand tends to be thrown low and inside to all batters. To summarize Bridwell throws lots of pitches all over the zone.
Mallex Smith – 94 MPH fastball, bunt foul, 94 MPH off the plate, Ball 1, 81 MPH slider drops on the outside of the plate, swinging strike 2, 94 MPH fastball way off the plate, ball 2, sinker own the middle, bounced foul, 81 MPH slider cued to second for out number one.
Corey Dickerson – 78 MPH slider drops in on the outside of the plate for strike 1, high fastball is skied foul, 94 MPH fastball off the plate, slider off the plate, ball 2, 91 MPH sinker is hit right at short, 2 outs.
Evan Longoria – 92 MPH sinker inside hit foul, 87 MPH changeup, hit foul, high cutter at 89, cutter low and inside to Longo fouled off, slider off the plate to the glove side ball 1, cutter high and away to Longo and he hits it to left.
Logan Morrison – slider drops in on Lo-Mo, swinging strike 1, cutter off the plate to the armside, 83 MPH changeup off the plate fouled back, cutter off the plate, ball 2, slider drops on the inside, swinging strike three.
Not too shabby, Bridwell is mixing a whole bunch of different offerings. As shown in the final pitch to Lo-Mo the breaking ball has some bite.
Steven Souza Jr. – 91 MPH cutter on the inside to Souza is missed by Maldonado and it hits the home plate umpire in the balls, ouch, ball 1 literally! Fastball hit down the left field line foul, changeup hits the inside of the zone called a ball, total missed strike, sinker absolutely destroyed for a possible double, but Maybin plays it quickly off the wall and throws out Souza.
Brad Miller – slider outside ball 1, changeup to the outside ball 2, cutter off the plate again, ball 3, 92 MPH fastball on the inside, strike 1, cutter at 90 MPH taken for a strike, fastball hit foul to the left field corner and Maybin makes a great play. Two outs.
Tim Beckham – cutter at 90 MPH absolutely walloped to leftfield but just goes foul. Ut-oh, the curse of Ralph might have struck out first in game victim. As Bridwell is checked on by The Sciosciopath and the training staff. They’re gone as quickly as they came. 92 MPH off the plate, ball 1, 79 MPH slider gets a swinging strike 2, 93 MPH sinker off the plate gets another swing and a miss.
An eventful Inning for a 1-2-3 job. Bridwell gave up some hard contact, but was throwing lots of strikes whether the umpire saw it that way or not. Martin Maldonado is an atrocious pitch-framer. He catches like a little leaguer.
Jesus Sucre – 91 MPH sinker taken for strike 1, 82 MPH something slider maybe changeup overthrown way off the plate on the gloveside, mistake pitch ball 1, 82 MPH changeup off the plate gets a swinging strike 2, 80 MPH slider buried in the dirt off the plate Ugly swing by Sucre.
Mallex Smith – 78 MPH slider gets a swinging strike 1, changeup off the plate, ball 1, 78 MPH breaking ball catches the outside of the plate, strike 2, 92 MPH fastball slapped down the 3rd baseline foul, 79 MPH slider hit to short, Simmons flips it to Franklin to get Hechavarria but he can’t beat the speedy Smith to turn two.
Corey Dickerson – not a pitch is thrown, as Bridwell picks up Mallex at first.
Outside of the first pitch single not a ball was hit out of the infield. Bridwell got ahead to both batters after the single and continued to display a nice breaking ball that gets lots of swings.
Corey Dickerson – Sinker at 91 fouled off, strike 1, 92 MPH cutter off the plate, ball 1, slider low in the zone is ripped in the air deep to center but Trout makes the play right before the warning track. One out.
Evan Longoria – 91 MPH cutter fouled off, strike 1, 92 MPH sinker fouled off, strike 2, 80 MPH slider foul tip, 91 MPH sinker gets a swinging strike 3. Two outs.
Only needed 8 pitches to run through the middle of the Rays order. Great inning, of course the Rays overly aggressive approach on first pitch strikes helps you look efficient.
Steven Souza Jr. – 90 MPH cutter off the plate, ball 1, cutter down Main Street is smacked deep to center, but Trout makes the catch at the track. One out.
Brad Miller – Slider drops in for strike one, sinker off the plate strike two, another sinker swinging strike three.
Tim Beckham – 79 MPH breaking ball bounces before the plate, ball 1, 87 MPH changeup over the plate hit up the middle for a single.
Adeiny Hechavarria – 88 MPH cutter hit foul, strike 1, 91 MPH sinker off the plate fouled off, strike 2, 79 MPH slider gets a swinging strike 3.
Bridwell is cruising getting swings on his breaking ball getting ahead with his three Fastball variation, and mixing in his changeup. He kind of reminds me of Rick Porcello, not only in build and delivery but also stuff.
Jesus Sucre – First pitch strike didn’t see game broadcast came back a hair late, slider at 79 over the outside corner for a swinging strike 2, slider low and in the dirt, ball 1, cutter fouled off, slider cued toward first and Bridwell covers first. One out.
Mallex Smith – 83 MPH changeup off the plate, ball 1, bunt on front of Bridwell, and he easily makes the play to first. Two outs.
Corey Dickerson – 82 MPH changeup off the plate, ball 1, 90 MPH sinker buried gets a swinging strike 1, cutter to the same spot gets a swinging strike 2, 88 MPH changeup high in the zone fouled back, 1-2 count, 78 MPH breaking ball gets a swing and miss to end the 6th.
A really good performance by Bridwell today as he’s just dominating the Rays. I can’t get over how good his breaking ball looks. The at bat to Dickerson to end the inning might have been his best at bat of the game.
Evan Longoria – 77 MPH slider in the dirt, and Longo holds up, ball 1, another breaking ball on the outside of the plate, ball 2, fastball at 92, strike 1, changeup at 85 is pulled to left for a leadoff single.
Logan Morrison – 77 MPH slider low and inside, ball 1, changeup at 83 drops out of the zone, ball 2, 90 MPH sinker middle in and it’s crushed for a homer to rightfield.
Steven Souza Jr. – missed the first pitch strike, 89 MPH sinker on the outside of the plate ball 1, 87 MPH changeup, ball 2, 77 MPH slider gets a swinging strike 2, 91 MPH fastball fouled off into the seats, 91 MPH sinker in the dirt off the plate, slider gets Souza to swing, strike 3. One out.
Brad Miller – 78 MPH slider, ball 1, 75 MPH slider strike 1, 90 MPH cutter, ball 2, changeup too far inside, ball 3, fastball, fouled off strike 2, 75 MPH slider. First walk.
Final Line: 6.1 IP, 6 Hits, 1 Walk, 2 Runs, 1 Home Run, 8 K’s, 14 Swinging Strikes, 96 pitches, 63 strikes.
Summary: In closing Bridwell’s arsenal of pitches was very much on display today. He showed the ability to spot the three variations of his fastball in the four-seamer, cutter, and sinker. Mixed in the change, and got swings and misses in bunches with his two plane breaking ball. The Rays aggressive approach on first pitch strikes certainly aided Bridwell’s efficient outing, but he definitely showed he’s worthy of an extended look in the Angels rotation. Whether that happens or not is another story.
Updated Top 100 SP
(rankings for ROS based on 12-team Roto)
Disabled List (Ranking When Active): Noah Syndergaard, NYM (8), Dallas Keuchel, HOU (13), Johnny Cueto, SF (28), Chase Anderson, MIL (29) Kyle Hendricks, CHC (33), Matt Shoemaker, LAA (54), Matt Andriese, TB (68),Vincent Velasquez, PHI (73), Hyun-Jin Ryu, LAD (75), Matt Harvey, NYM (99) Brandon Finnegan, CIN (100)
- I’m so glad I don’t have to rank Johnny Cueto any longer. On one hand he was so bad he deserved a ranking in the 50’s, on the other hand, I felt like he could get hot at any moment.
- Peace out 2017 seasons of Michael Pineda and Joe Ross. We’ll pour out a little liquor for the official end of the “Joe Ross Era” in the Top 100 Starters. Where are you now?
- The home/road splits are nuts for Julio Teheran. Granted his home/road peripheral splits still say he’s a mid-4 pitcher, but he’s simply getting killed at Suntrust. One of the few starters you can’t trust at home.