From the land of Pilgrims, Cranberries, Sachems, and Ocean Spray, it’s Middleborough, Massachusetts’ own Sean Newcomb. A true Masshole through and through, over the course of his time in the minors, he’s refused to throw strikes with any regularity. This all changed last week, as Newcomb crushed two XL Great One’s from Dunks, and a marble cruller, before crushing the souls of the Mets. I’ve long followed Newcomb’s career dating back to his high school days at Middleborough. As he’s the rare professional sports product from my corner of the world. After some ups and downs, mostly due to control, or lack there of. Newcomb made his triumphant major league debut a little over a week ago, and in the process looked phenomenal. Flashing control and command he never possessed before. So today, we dig into the second start from the young lefty, at home vs Miami, and Giancarlo. A tough task for the rookie… Oh yeah, then we rank some pitchers.
Scouting Report: A big power lefty, Newcomb’s arsenal features 4 offerings in his 4 seam fastball, curve, slider, and change. Now forget I even wrote that he had a change and slider, because he rarely throws either. His 4-seam fastball sits mid to high 90’s, without a ton of movement, but it jumps on hitters quickly. His curveball sits in the upper 70’s, with some glove-side run. The hook generates almost exclusively fly-ball contact. Nearly 95% of his usage is between those two pitches. So know the fastball-curve combo, know his arsenal. Newcomb does mix in the slider every so often, but it’s a below average pitch. He does however generate swings and misses in bunches, consistently putting up high K per totals in the minors.
Dee Gordon – Fastball inside and over the plate at 99, second pitch is another fastball this time at 98 over the inner half of the plate, and Gordon goes the other way for a single.
Giancarlo Stanton – Fastball at 97 on the outer half, strike 1, swinging strike two over the outer half again at 99, a high fastball is more less a pitch out as Gordon heads for second, but the throw is too late, 1-2, and a 98 MPH fastball high and outside gets Stanton. Nasty pitch.
Christian Yelich – A 98 MPH fastball over the heart of the plate is hit the other way to the gap in left center, and Gordon scores on an RBI double for Yelich.
Marcell Ozuna – Starts off Ozuna with a curveball at 80 MPH to the outside, ball 1, a 98 MPH fastball low and outside, ball 2, 100 MPH!!! on the outside, Ball 3, 97 MPH fastball high and outside, a four pitch walk.
J.T. Realmuto – Starts off Realmuto at 101 on the outside. Holy moly, I’ve never seen Newcomb throw cheese like this, the guns must be hot. Lotta noise for a ball 1. 100 on the outer part of the plate and Realmuto fouls it off, strike 1, 99 MPH fastball for a swinging strike 2, Newcomb checks back Yelich at second, a 77 MPH curveball on the outer-corner is fouled off, a fastball at 100 high in the zone is skied to center for the second out, as the runners tag, and advance.
Justin Bour – Starts off the slugger with a curve in the dirt, ball 1, fastball at 100 on the inside is taken for ball 2, a 77 MPH curveball gets Bour to swing and miss, strike 1, a fastball at 99 high in the zone is fouled the other way, strike 2, a 77 MPH curve in on the hands is fouled off, 2-2 count, a cue shot off the end of the bat on a curveball is dribbled to Newcomb, who throws low, but Matt Adams does a nice job of staying on the bag.
Some good, and some ugly in this inning, definitely seems to struggle to not throw his fastball over the heart of the plate to lefties. The curveball looked like a great chase pitch, particularly when he got Bour to miss. Let’s discuss the elephant in the room, HOLY CRAP HE HIT 100!!!! According to the gun on the Braves broadcast he hit 100 five times in the first. Serious cheese!
Christian Colon – Fastball at 94 MPH on the outside, ball 1, fastball at 96 high in the zone saws off Colon, as he bounces an easy out to the pitcher, Newcomb tosses to first for the out.
JT Riddle – Fastball at 99 on the inner half, strike 1, curveball gets a check swing from Riddle for strike 2, a curveball high and in on the hands is fouled off, 0-2, a fastball at 95 in on the hands is fouled off, a 78 MPH curveball is chopped off the plate, still 0-2, a low fastball at 99 is taken for ball 1, a 98 MPH fastball on the outside corner gets Riddle looking. Two outs.
Dan Straily – High fastball at 95 starts him off for ball 1, the next pitch is a low fastball that Straily golfs a lazy fly to right field for out number three.
Excellent inning by Newcomb, as he does his job taking care of the bottom of the order on 11 pitches. He got weak contact from two batters, and threw consistent strikes to all three.
Dee Gordon – Fastball at 96 on the outside taken for ball 1, 81 MPh slider grounded to short, and Gordon is the first out.
Giancarlo Stanton – Buries the curveball and Stanton bites for a swinging strike 1, 95 MPH on the outside ball 1, another curveball bounces off the plate and Stanton swings again! Strike 2, curveball wayyyy outside, ball 2, Another hook on the outer-half and it’s cued over to third, and the throw beats Stanton for the second out.
Christian Yelich – Fastball at 98 down Main St., but I guess it’s too low, ball 1, 99 on the outer half, glove-side, strike 1, 83 MPH slider gets a bouncing foul ball, strike 2, a curveball low and under the hands is slapped to Phillips at second and he easily tosses out Yelich.
Another 1-2-3 inning for Newcomb as he sits down the top of the order on 11 pitches! That’s back to back 1-2-3 innings on 11 pitches. Great run for Newcomb, even the slider has been effective the couple of times he’s introduced it.
Marcell Ozuna – Starts off Ozuna with a 76 MPH hook that bounces before home, but gets a swing from Ozuna, strike 1, 100 MPH again on the outside, ball 1, 100 MPH high and in the zone, ans it’s fouled off, strike 2, 78 MPH curve on the outside is taken for ball 2, another high fastball, full count, 99 MPH fastball is hit hard on the ground to Matt Adams at first, Newcomb hustles over gets Adams throw and beats a hustling Ozuna to the bag. One out.
J.T. Realmuto – High fastball at 99 on the top of the zone is hit to center for a lazy fly ball, and a one pitch out for Newcomb. Two outs.
Justin Bour – Curveball at 76 is low and inside, ball 1, a fastball high and over the heart of the plate is hit 400+ feet to center for a homer.
Christian Colon – Fastball at 100 down Main St is taken for strike 1, a high fastball at 100 again is swung on, and hit for a lazy fly to left- center.
Outisde of one mistake to Bour it was another strong inning from Newcomb as he once again only needed 11 pitches. Bour’s homer was the first hard fly ball contact off Newcomb today.
JT Riddle – Newcomb starts Riddle off with a 73 MPH curve that runs in toward the plate, but misses for ball 1, he follows that up with a 81 MPH curve low in the zone, that hooks over the outside corner, strike 1, fastball at 97, low for ball 2, followed up by a 97 MPH fastball high in the zone on the outside corner is fouled off, count even at 2-2, a 98 MPH pitch on the inside is fouled down the first base line, 78 MPH curve on the inner-half of the plate, hit foul, 97 MPH fastball, hit foul, 85 MPH changeup is fouled back, 99 MPH fastball in on the hands is grounded to second, Phillips makes the throw for the first out of the fifth.
Dan Straily – 96 MPH for a strike on the outer half, 97 MPH down Main St., strike 2, 97 MPH on the outer half, foul ball, rings him up with the 74 MPH curveball on the outside part of the plate.
Dee Gordon – Curve at 79, low and inside, ball 1, changeup at 85 MPH low, ball 2, inside fastball at 98 is hit on the ground to first, Adams trots to first, tags, and the side is retired.
Interesting inning for Newcomb, he continued his strong run of innings going 1-2-3 for the third time in 5 innings including retiring 9 out of 10 consecutive batters. He started to mix in the change a little this inning, and it didn’t look bad. Lots of movement, but some question as to whether or not he can control it.
Giancarlo Stanton – High fastball at 95 is hit into center for a single. Little shocked Newcomb didn’t go back to the curveball, Stanton’s been fooled a few times by the hook already.
Christian Yelich – 96 MPH fastball outer half to the glove-side is swung through for strike 1, curve at 75 low in the zone, ball 1, another fastball at 96 high to the glove-side is swung on and missed by Yelich, strike 2, 82 MPH slider on the inside taken for ball 2, 82 MPH slider on the inside this time is hit into center for another single.
Marcell Ozuna – 98 MPH on the outside, ball 1, 75 MPH curveball on the outside, ball 2, 100 MPH inside to Ozuna, and it’s fouled back, strike 1, 96 on the outer half, and it’s hit foul again, strike 2, 76 MPH curve way outside, ball 3, 79 MPH curveball fouled back, full count, 97 MPH fastball, foul, 89 MPH outside, almost looked like a pitch out, because it didn’t have his changeup movement, walk. Bases loaded.
J.T. Realmuto – starts off the catcher with a fastball over the heart of the plate at 98, strike 1, 99 MPH on the outer-half, strike 2, a 100 MPH fastball on the outer-half, gets a groundball to 3rd and Camargo starts a double play, but Stanton still scores.
Justin Bour – 98 MPH on the outside, ball 1, 97 MPH low and outside, ball 2, 84 MPH slider, gets a swing and miss, strike 1, 77 MPH curve bounces off the plate, ball 3, 98 MPH down Main St., strike 2, a 97 MPH pitch that should have been strike 3, is called a ball, and Bour is awarded first. 2 outs, runners at the corners.
Christian Colon – 80 MPH curve bounces off the plate, ball 1, rainbow curve on the outside, ball 2, 100 MPH pitch on the outside fouled off, strike 1, Newcomb follows up with a 99 MPH fastball, that’s fouled off, strike 2, another outside fastball, this time at 95, is fouled off, 2-2 count, 79 MPH curve bounces off the plate for ball 3, low curveball, ball 4, and Colon walks.
JT Riddle – 99 MPH on the outside, ball 1, 97 MPH in on the hands is fouled off, strike 1, 81 MPH slider is just a bit outside, ball 2, inside fastball at 97 is fouled off, strike 2, a fastball down the middle at 99 is hit hard to Swanson at short, and he makes a great play, throwing to Adams, the throw pulls the first baseman off the bag, but he’s able to tag Riddle for the third out.
Final Line: 6 Innings, 5 Hits, 4 Walks, 3 Earned Runs, 3 K’s, 1 HR, 106 Pitches, 67 Strikes, Game Score 46.
Summary: Two bad innings sandwiched four pretty strong frames for Newcomb today. He definitely had more control issues than his previous start, but there’s not a lot of pitches I felt he missed on. As much as he throws on the outside to try and get guys chasing his fastball, and curve. He rarely uses the slider or change, but both were better than advertised. He started to work inside to righties, and outside to lefties more as the game progressed, and I think his ability to do those two things will ultimately drive his success. He didn’t have the swing and miss stuff today, but you can see that it’s there. I wish he would waste less pitches trying to get guys chasing, and go at hitters more often with his high 90’s heat. He was throwing smoke all day, and as someone who’s followed Newcomb’s career, I haven’t seen him hit triple digits before, let alone a dozen plus times in an outing. I’m still skeptical of him as an every week option, but there’s much to be encouraged by.
Updated Top 100 SP
(rankings for ROS based on 12-team Roto)
Disabled List (Ranking When Active): Madison Bumgarner, SF (3) , Lance McCullers, HOU (7), Noah Syndergaard, NYM (8), Dallas Keuchel, HOU (13), Danny Duffy (19), KC, Jon Gray, COL (26), Kyle Hendricks, CHC (33), Eduardo Rodriguez, BOS (31), Aaron Sanchez, TOR (34), Charlie Morton, HOU (46), Carlos Rodon, CHW (49), C.C. Sabathia, NYY (51), Matt Shoemaker, LAA (54), Andrew Triggs, OAK (61), Felix Hernandez, SEA (62), Trevor Cahill, SD (66), Matt Andriese, TB (68),Vincent Velasquez, PHI (73), Kendall Graveman, OAK (76), Matt Harvey, NYM (99)
Dropped off: Kevin Gausman, BAL, Trevor Williams, PIT, Joe Musgrove, HOU, Erasmo Ramirez, TB, Danny Salazar, CLE, Julio Urias, LAD, Patrick Corbin, ARI, Chad Kuhl, PIT, Amir Garrett, CIN, Matt Garza, MIL, Tyler Anderson, COL, Jesse Chavez, LAA, Jeremy Hellickson, PHI, Ricky Nolasco, LAA, J.C. Ramirez, LAA
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- Not the best day to sing Robbie Ray’s praises following a sub-par effort on Sunday. However, I’m impressed by the changes in Ray’s approach in 2017. His curveball usage has spiked dramatically, giving the lefty a true third offering. In fact based off Fangraphs pitch values, the curve has been his best pitch. Everything is working for Ray at the moment, I’m buying no matter the format. Home starts be damned! Seriously, his ERA is 1.32 in road starts.
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