Pitcher Profiles are almost back baby!  Oh man, I haven’t been this excited for pitchers to return ever since all the crap I got for saying Ryan Dempster was a sleeper last year.  Of course, no one remembers Matt Harvey was my #1 sleeper (audio proof!), and then Grey even forgets which old bad pitcher I lumped in my sleepers saying it was Josh Beckett!  Ugh.  Being such a bully around the office.  Punk me for the rest of those picks!  Yikes.

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You ask and you shall receive! I had numerous requests for a Jeff Samardzija Pitcher Profile, and since I’d only seen the fire-baller throw maybe once or twice against my Brewers, I thought it would be a great idea to break him down for Razzball Nation.

I know the big righty features a huge fastball that flirts with the upper 90’s, but off the top of my head I couldn’t remember any specific secondary pitches so I was excited to really analyze one of his starts. Remember when he was the top WR target for Brady Quinn? Seems like ages ago! Remember when he was an erratic fixture in that Cubs bullpen along with Carlos Marmol? I bet some of those innings made even Steve Bartman cringe. But it’s much further down the road with Samardzija a fixture in that rotation (along with your fantasy squad’s staff) and a piece of the Cubs’ rebuilding future. Let’s go through how he hurled against the Diamondbacks on Saturday:

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After an underwhelming cup of coffee last year, Tyler Skaggs looked primed for the 5th spot in the Diamondbacks rotation, only to lose out to Patrick Corbin.  I remember there was some dissension with that decision, but you don’t hear any of those arguments now!  With Corbin obviously one of the biggest surprises of the season, Skaggs had a really rough start to his AAA assignment with his ERA climbing close to 7.00 through six starts, but then again it was with Reno in the Pacific Coast League.

Skaggs has put it together recently though, racking up a 30:5 K:BB ratio in 25.1 May innings and three straight quality starts.  With Ian Kennedy ailing with a cut on his finger, Skaggs got the call for a spot start in a tough matchup in the first leg of a double-header against the Rangers.  I don’t think expectations were huge for this game, but having never seen Skaggs pitch and with no knowledge of his repertoire, I decided to tune in and break down his 2013 debut:

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When David Price went down with a triceps injury, mercifully so with the struggles he was enduring, the Rays finally announced over the weekend that prospect Jake Odorizzi would be called up from Triple-A Durham to take his spot in the rotation .  As Bill Murray would say, “Go Bulls!”  I was fortunate enough to see Odorizzi pitch in Durham earlier this season, throwing 6.2 innings of shutout ball with 8 Ks against AAA Gwinnett.

From what I remember in that outing, he features a mid-to-low 90s fastball and a wipe out breaking ball.  Other than that, I couldn’t tell much more from our seats, which were surprisingly tough to get in the Bulls home debut that night.  There were free fireworks!  Also, the city of Durham loves their Bulls, it is a very nice AAA experience.  Anywho, I was stoked that Odorizzi would be pitching right around when my next Pitcher Profile was due out, so I decided to break down his Rays debut (and 3rd career start) at Toronto and see what kind of impact he could have for fantasy owners:

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As you all know, pitching is my favorite part of fantasy baseball and baseball in general.  It’s as overpoweringly addictive to me as gasoline is to the leather-clad gangs in The Road Warrior.  Now I most certainly don’t have any ass-less chaps, but I was on the edge of my seat watching some of thee performances, I’m not gonna lie mainly Chris Sale last night, just because he’s on many of my teams and I was on vacation over the weekend…

There were a lot of comments last week asking for a Shelby Miller breakdown, and as probably everyone knows (spoiler alert!  Wait it’s in the title.  Don’t look at the title…) all he did was go out and throw a 1-hitter.  So I went back to watch the tape and break down the start for all you loyal pitcher profile fans:

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Ah Coors Field.  One of the few baseball stadiums I’ve actually been to, it’s a magical land where hitters come to dream and pitchers come to die.  You see mountains, you see towers… sounds like some sort of Lord of the Rings babble…

However, some pitchers can overcome the treachery that is thin air, and who better than Alex Cobb yesterday afternoon?  A guy I haven’t followed too closely and is unfortunately on none of my teams (but I did get to see him pitch once in AAA for the Durham Bulls), Cobb boasts a 2.79 ERA and 33:8 K:BB ratio after yesterday’s start.  Drafted at the end of standard drafts and even undrafted in some leagues, Cobb has obviously had a great start, but I wanted a better gauge of where to place him.  He was cruising his last start out, then with two outs in the sixth couldn’t get out of the inning and a shutout turned into a 5.2 IP 10 H 4 ER shellacking   So I decided to break down a Cobb game for the first time and attempt to place where I think he is right now:

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Rookie sensation Tony Cingrani has been lights out since he’s filled in for an injured Johnny Cueto, allowing 3 ERs in his first 12 innings with 17 strikeouts.  But with those dominant outings at Miami and at home against the Chicago Cubs, it’s not exactly like he was blowing away elite offenses.

This time out on a Sunday afternoon, Tony C would be facing one of baseball’s most dynamic lineups on the road.  Relying very heavily on his power fastball, it’s been debated how long Cingrani could have success in the Majors, so I decided to tune in to his start yesterday and break down the rookie’s third career start:

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South Korean native Hyun-Jin Ryu burst onto the scene this season, racking 20 strikeouts in his first three outings, notching two wins with a sub-3.00 ERA.  Like many baseball fans and fantasy die-hards, I didn’t know much about Ryu’s repertoire and did little research into his scouting reports from overseas, mainly because it’s difficult to project a guy like Ryu’s prospects in the Majors with success in the Korean leagues, as language-barriers, increased talent level, and moving half a world away can completely change a pitcher’s approach.

Without much info and never having seen him pitch, I decided (and was suggested by a commenter) to watch his start on Saturday against the Orioles to see what his stuff really looks like:

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Roy Halladay.

Is he the next Tim Lincecum? Can he pitch at all any more? Should he get sent to the minors?! Is he fantasy ownable in a 10-team league?! Is he really a doctor? Are Phillies fans all really that mean?! Why does being good in baseball mean you have to have the highest WAR!? WAR – what is it good for?! What does all this mean!?!

Roy Halladay has been one of the biggest hot topics heading into the fantasy season and real MLB season alike. After two brutal starts seeing his ERA climb close to the age of consent with a “woman” in France (14.73 – only 0.27 away!), the write-off for Halladay had become as frequent as an Enron tax return.

Curious to me was that debut against the Braves where Halladay got tagged for 5 runs and 9 baserunners in 3.1 innings, but struck out 9! That’s only one out not by the strikeout. All or nothing.

Obviously all the hubbub from Spring Training and entering the season was the lost velocity. I wanna throw fast! If you’re not first, you’re last. I was never big on Halladay because of his hefty price tag in drafts due to name value, but I thought he could be a usable pitcher this season. So I decided to tune into his start yesterday afternoon against those lowly Marlins to see how he looked. After all, if he can’t mow these guys down, he’s gotta be toast, right?

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Razzball Nation!

The pitcher profiles are back for 2013.  Every Monday I will be breaking down a starting pitcher’s performance pitch-by-pitch so you can see an in-depth review of their velocity and how much luck factored into their numbers.

Jose Fernandez, the Miami Marlins 1st-round pick in 2011, had an unreal ascent through the Minors up until Spring Training a few months back, and in a surprise move a few days before Opening Day, decided to put the big righty in the rotation to start the season.  Similar comparison could be made to Michael Pineda when he came up with the Mariners in 2011.  A big, hard-thrower beginning in the Majors in the Opening Day rotation perhaps too early in their careers.  Just look at what happened to Pineda’s shoulder.  Hopefully Fernandez can avoid similar fate.

Listen, I know these can sometimes be a little drier than Grey’s mustache on a Caribbean beach.  But they offer a different perspective on a pitcher’s outing other than looking at only stats.  I will tend to pick young pitchers or fringe-owned starters, but if you have any suggestions of a pitcher you’d like broken down, pick a guy starting over next weekend and shoot that comment below.

Here’s how Fernandez looked:

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