Tag Archives: Ichiro

Reevaluating the Ichiro Trade Using Pitch F/X Data



In this post, I will take a bit of a deeper look into Danny Farquhar and D.J. Mitchell, the two pitchers acquired by the Mariners from the Yankees when the team traded Ichiro Suzuki. Because of the nature of the trade, it is really hard to say the Mariners won the trade, as we have seen that the Mariners clearly did not get equal talent back from even a regressed Ichiro. That doesn’t necessarily mean they lost the trade, because their was obviously symbolism, and it allowed them to “move on” from Ichiro, as he didn’t really fit into their plans anymore (though he had a better WAA in 2012, despite some curious defensive data in New York, than either Michael Morse or Raul Ibanez).

It struck me that I have not really written about Mitchell or Farquhar from a Pitch F/X perspective. They both have cup of coffees in the Majors, and they have also thrown some outings in spring training that gives us more data. So in this post I’ll look at the two’s data, and their spring training so far.

Danny Farquhar

Pitch F/X says he has much better fastball velocity than I thought and saw in the minors. His 4-seamer has averaged 93.1 MPH on a whole, and 93.41 MPH this spring. This is still slightly below average for a right-handed reliever, closest to Jim Miller, but certainly an acceptable fastball for an emergency reliever stashed in AAA. It has well above average horizontal movement, and is just above average in vertical movement. Overall, it seems like a pretty good fastball, or at least that is what the data suggests.

The 4-seamer isn’t his most frequent fastball even, as he has a sinker and a cutter he throws more. In the Pitch F/X outings we have seen him in, his sinker is the most frequent pitch. It has nearly 2 MPH difference in velocity, which gives him well below average velocity in sinkers for right-handed relievers. However, it gets very good horizontal movement, and good vertical movement as well.

His cutter has dipped below 90 MPH. It has very little horizontal movement, but good vertical tilt. Since he isn’t listed as having a slider anymore (or at least hasn’t shown one yet this spring) by Brooks, it very well could just be a hard slider. However, in 2010-2011, a slider was a healthy part of his repertoire, and it averaged just under 83 MPH. He has not thrown this pitch in either of his spring training outings this year (we have no 2012 data on him).

Obviously the big thing about Farquhar is his high sidearm release point

farquhar release

This is a pretty unique release point, and I somewhat struggled to find comps. When looking at career comparisons, Carter Capps is similar in height, but his is way more out. Al Reyes released the ball a little higher, but as far as horizontal release point it is about the same. Sergio Romo is actually a decent comparison. Obviously he has a weird pitch selection that doesn’t go compare with Farquhar’s, but he doesn’t throw near as hard. Enerio Del Rosario is sort of close, releasing the ball lower and more out. Back when he had his moment in the Majors in 2011, he was releasing the ball a little lower, and a lot more closer to his body, which seems counter-intuitive. Now, he is releasing the ball further out, but is also nearly half a foot higher. This makes finding comparisons even harder. This may be, despite showing a good fastball, why he has been moved around a lot and hasn’t got much of a chance in the Majors. It is really hard to find comps for him, but he is probably going to have large platoon splits.

I think, even though he doesn’t stand a chance of making the team, and cracking the team at anytime this year may be a little difficult thanks to a deep bullpen, the fastball should be emphasized. He has hit nearly 95 MPH in camp:

farquhar speed

Overall, he shows 5 to 6 different pitches out of the pen with okay velocity and a funky release point.

D.J. Mitchell

Mitchell was part of the 40 man roster when he was traded to the Mariners, but the Mariners removed him from the 40 man during the off-season and no one claimed him. We have four Pitch F/X outings from Mitchell from his time with the Yankees, and 3 outings from this spring training with the Mariners. The first thing you notice is the difference in fastball velocity. His fastball with the Yankees was 90.14 MPH, while his fastball in spring training has been 86.92 MPH. He threw a sinker with the Yankees, and it was 89.93 MPH. His curveball has seen a similar drop in velocity, and his changeup has actually seen a worse drop in velocity, a 6 MPH drop. This is alarming. Mitchell is just 25, and we are talking about that kind of drop velocity over less than a calendar year. There could be errors in the Pitch F/X system, but we are talking about three different outing. He could just be having a slow start in spring training, but you almost never see that big of a velocity drop without an arm injury. What about his delivery? Do we see a change in his release point? Here is a 2012 outing with a 2013 outing next to it:

mitchell 2012 mitchell release point 2013

The change is not extremely drastic, but it is evident. Frankly, the 2013 release point looks better. It is above 6 feet and a little more consistent. It seems less sidearm, however, it is different. Even if it looks a little better, difference is not always a good thing, especially if it comes, which it seems that it does, with a velocity loss.

Usually I wouldn’t put much stock in location for small sample spring training outings, but considering the other concerns, and the fact that he is usually a strike thrower, the fact that I could just 11 of his 35 pitches in the strike zone so far is really concerning. In one of his outings, his fastball averaged 85.9 MPH. Much was made of Joe Saunders’ low velocity, and the Mariners are definitely relying on him more and paying him more, but Mitchell’s loss is way more drastic.

Of course, teams have Pitch F/X data for minor league games, it just isn’t publicly available (and since it is not, I am not sure what it looks like). While I remember hearing 87-88 MPH while Mitchell was in Tacoma, I wonder what the Mariners’ data showed, and if they were able to see what looks like a new release point. This could be a reason they took him off the 40 man roster, though he didn’t have great stuff or potential to begin with, so it is possible that they took him off without even knowing that he had regressed.

And again, it should be emphasized, this is not just a normal regression. This is a pitcher that has suddenly lost all his velocity (he didn’t have great velocity to begin with), at age 25. This looks like a pretty serious injury. Obviously we aren’t in Mariner team meetings, but I would have to assume that the Front Office sees this data. I wonder how they are interpreting it, and I wonder what Mitchell is saying to the team. To me, I would be shutting him down and getting him an MRI or something. I don’t think this is Mitchell just being a slow starter (mainly because of the release point inconsistencies), though because Mitchell was with the Yankees last spring training, we don’t have the Pitch F/X data from then to really test this.

I liked Farquhar more than Mitchell at the time of the trade, and I think the difference in value between them is even more pronounced after looking at the data. Farquhar is clearly trending in the right direction, while Mitchell is trending in the wrong direction, and seems to be injured. The actual value the Mariners will get from either of these players is nearly certain to be 0 or insignificant, but Farquhar is sort of interesting in a low leverage situational role.

Would You Trade Taijuan Walker for Billy Butler?


According to recent reports, the Mariners “covet” Billy Butler, the Kansas City Royals slugger. In fact, they like him so much that they would be willing to trade one of their top pitching prospects to get him. So the question arises, should the Mariners trade Taijuan Walker for Butler?

Butler is a good hitter, with a career 121 wRC + and 123 OPS +. This would put him in the Bryce Harper, Paul Goldschmidt, and Miguel Montero range of hitters (at least using their 2012 numbers). He had the best year in his career in 2012, at least according to wRC +, but his walk rate slightly declined and his strikeout rate increased (but it was still a solid K/BB). He has good, but not elite, and not near elite power (although according to batted ball data, he has a homer over 460, which wow). In fact, his Isolated Slugging was (in 2012) under Nick Swisher’s (who doesn’t have power as his main skill either) and was only .012 points above Michael Saunders. He has never hit 30 homers in a season (29 in 2012 was his career high), and there is no reason to think that he would when playing in the more pitcher friendly Safeco. But this is not to say that Butler doesn’t cream the ball. Here is his batted ball data sorted by distance:

For comparison, here is Jesus Montero’s data (because numbers are nothing without context):

Butler’s average batted ball distance is 268.031 (very good) feet for his career. In 2012, it was 271.091, so a little better, but not necessarily considerably better. His line drive rate increased by nearly 5%, but it came from his FB %, not his GB % and according to Baseball Reference’s data, the line drive percentage only went up by 1 %. I just wouldn’t trust that data. He was really good against both lefties and righties in 2012, but better against lefties (as expected). He has been above average against both in his career, but his peripherals are pretty mediocre against right-handed pitchers.

He doesn’t see a ton of pitches at the plate, in fact he was league average in 2012, but he also doesn’t strike out for a guy that provides power. In fact, his contact percentage is not only above league average, it was just under 3 studs in Miguel Cabrera, David Wright, and Robinson Cano in 2012. There is so much to like about Billy Butler as a hitter. However, there are 3 different facets (Hitting/Defense/Baserunning) to position players and the other two is where Butler loses his value.

Despite being 26 years old, Butler has played more games (126 more games!) at DH than he has at first. When he has played at first, he hasn’t been very good. He doesn’t get to as many balls as most first basemen, and every single defensive metric alive (there are some problems with measuring 1st baseman with defensive metrics, but just the eye test says he isn’t very good either) has him as not only as a below average first baseman, but a really bad first baseman.

He is also one the slowest human beings imaginable, which isn’t surprising considering his lack of range. Only 9 players in the MLB (qualified hitters) had a worse speed score than Billy Butler, and two of them were Mariners (Jesus Montero and Justin Smoak). He is really durable, but that has to be helped by the fact that he doesn’t play much defense and obviously doing nothing spectacular on the bases (which I think makes Ichiro Suzuki’s durability amazing. As he has played in at least 157 games every year since 2001 except one and 160 games every year since 2004 except one. Ichiro steals bases and plays in the outfield, and is even a little bit of a showboat out there).

These ties to the DH types like Butler and Mike Napoli with the Mariners really baffles me. Where does one put John Jaso? And why did they trade for Jesus Montero (perhaps this is too simplistic, but it really seems like the Mariners were hoping Montero would become Butler with perhaps a little more power)? I would understand going after a first baseman (because Smoak still isn’t the answer, or you at least can pretend he is going into the season), but Butler really isn’t that, or at least not a very good one. I also understand spending big money on Nick Swisher or Josh Hamilton (and it looks like the latter isn’t going to happen, at least according to comments by Jack Z). Billy Butler is a nice player to have, but he is extremely limited. He is an everyday player yes, but he is a role player and, perhaps most importantly, a role player that doesn’t really fit on the Mariners. Would you play him at first, and watch his defensive value hurt the team and just point out that his offensive value makes him worth starting? Then you could bench Smoak and use Jaso and Montero as the DH/C. Or would you DH him, keep Smoak at first (not solving your problem), and platoon Jaso and Montero? Obviously if you traded for Billy Butler, you would figure out how to play him, but there really is a question as to which problem he solves. The Mariners need good hitting, and Butler is a good hitter, but the (lack of) positional value makes him much less valuable. If you are trading Taijuan Walker, a pitcher that has a chance to be a top of the rotation pitcher, it would seem to be wise to trade him for a player that has more overall skill and positional value than Butler. This doesn’t even bring up the contract situation. If you trade for Butler, you are trading for 3 years of control. The salary is reasonable, 8 million a year in both 2013 and 2014 along with a 12.5 million dollar option in 2015, but you would be watching him walk away at age 29, which would be bizarre (as that is when Walker would really be taking off in the minors if everything goes according to plan, and I should emphasize that it might not). The Mariners are in a position where they could conceivable compete in a really tough AL West within the next couple of years, but they really need a couple of pieces. They really need a good outfielder that can hit, along with 1 or 2 more good hitters, and at least 1 or 2 more good starting pitchers (which could and should come from the minors within the next couple of years). I just don’t think that Billy Butler brings you that much closer, at least not enough that you should part with your best prospect. If you really want a big slugger with defensive questions, pay the money for Mike Napoli. Don’t pay the baseball talent, pay the money.

Are the Mariners the A’s?

Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics

On the last day of the season, Angie Mentink of Root Sports mentioned the similarity of the Mariners in 2012 to the A’s in 2011. In 2011, the Athletics went 74-88 with a Pythagorean Record of 77-85. This year, the Mariners went 75-87 with a Pythagorean Record of 77-85. So obviously the similarity is there, but what was implicit in the mentioning was the possibility of the Mariners making the jump the Athletics did this season (this isn’t an attack or even a rebuttal of Mentink, I only mention her because she brought up the comparison, which inspired the article). The A’s had a Pythagorean Record of 92-70 this year, but are the Mariners in a position to be a serious competitor in the division and possibly even win it next year? Let’s compare the two rosters:


The Athletics had 7 players that played 67 games or more (that includes Chris Carter, if you want to up the number up to 100, they had 4 such players, with Jonny Gomes at 99 and Brandon Moss at 84 games. George Kottaras had a 104 wRC + in 27 games after being acquired from the Brewers) with an above league average wRC + (which is park adjusted). The Mariners had 3 such players (Franklin Gutierrez was above league average in 40 games, and Casper Wells sat at 99 wRC +). If you discount those with a .300 BABIP or more, it takes out 3 Athletics and no Mariners, but the A’s still have 1 more above league average hitter. As a team, the Athletics had a walk rate of 1.1% higher, and a strikeout rate of .9% lower. Oakland also had a .025 higher ISO than the Mariners to go along with Oakland’s much lower ground-ball rate and a higher line drive rate. Both teams hit a similar amount of infield fly-balls and Oakland had a slightly better HR/FB %.


The A’s had 14 players with an above average UZR while the Mariners had 12. According to Baseball Reference’s DRS (or D-WAR), Brendan Ryan saved nearly twice as many runs as the Athletics shortstop (and DRS leader) Cliff Pennington. Oakland had just 2 players with at least one defensive “win”, while the Mariners had 3 (and a much better peak guy with Ryan). However, the Athletics had a lot of guys worth 1 to 2 runs above average, leading to 13 players with positive DRS (the Mariners had 8). In all, the Mariners were given just 1.2 wins defensively according to UZR (Oakland had 4). It seems that while they had some elite defenders this year (Ryan, Ichiro, Ackley), they also had some really poor defenders (Montero, Jaso, Thames). Michael Saunders was also penalized by both major defensive metrics, which I found surprising (and perhaps even wrong. Saunders reputation is as a good defender, and was given positive ratings before this year. I am not sure if he is gotten worse).


The Mariners had 6 players with above average baserunning value according to Fangraphs. The A’s had 13, although many of them were by not much at all. If you set the baseline at 5 runs above average, the Mariners had 4 and the A’s have 5 (with one at exactly .5). The A’s still have all 4 (or 5) of those players, while the Mariners no longer have Ichiro Suzuki and another one of them is Chone Figgins who is obviously a disaster in other ways (and may not be with the team next year anyway). The Mariners had 8 players with speed scores over 5.0 (including Ichiro and Figgins), while the A’s had 6.

If you want to make it simpler and just use stolen bases, the A’s had 5 guys steal at least 10 bases, including Coco Crisp, who stole 39. The Mariners leader was Michael Saunders, who had 21. Ichiro was second with 15, while Seager, Ackley, and Ryan all had over 10. So slight advantage to the A’s there as well.

If the problem the Mariners have is that they have put too much emphasis on speed and defense, then they have a funny way of showing it, as they look like a slower team that the Athletics (and a worse defending team), who relied heavily on the home run offensively.


On the mound, the Athletics were better overall, slightly above average at 96 FIP -, while the Mariners were slightly below league average with a 103 FIP -.

Mariners pitching averaged a full MPH (92.1 to 91.1 MPH) better than A’s pitchers. The difference between the team’s starters was less (.3 MPH), but the Mariners still held a slight advantage. The bullpen was the big difference, as the A’s averaged 92.3 MPH, while the Mariners averaged 94.6 MPH (thanks in large part to Carter Capps and Stephen Pryor, but they are not the only hard throwers in Seattle’s bullpen). Mariners relievers used this velocity to strikeout 23.5% of the batters they faced, while the Athletics struck out 22.2%. As stated many times before, the Mariners strength this year was their bullpen. It was really good (they also walked .2% of batters less than the A’s bullpen). The Mariners rotation had an identical amount of walks (in percentage terms) and had a strikeout rate of about a percent better. However, they had more problems with the long ball that the Athletics simply didn’t have. As the ground-ball rates were almost identical, the Mariners mysteriously suffered from a HR/FB % problem. For all the talk about Safeco, and moving the fences in, the Mariners starters had a higher HR/FB % than 7 other teams, 3 of them non-playoff teams.

On one hand, the Mariners could say that their rotation was better down the stretch as it ditched Hector Noesi, but on the other hand, the return of Kevin Millwood or Hisashi Iwakuma is not guaranteed (if desired, especially in the former’s case), and who knows what you are going to get from Blake Beavan next season.

You could certainly make the case that the Mariners team is somewhat similar to the A’s this year. They still need at least a couple of more hitters, and they have to make sure the rotation doesn’t get away from them. The bullpen and defense gives them a chance if they are able to either hit or run more. There will be work to do this off-season, and they will have to compete not only with Oakland, but with a tough Texas Rangers team (and don’t forget about the Angels, who were good this year as well).

The Soft-Tossing D.J. Mitchell


As you probably already know, D.J. Mitchell was part of the Ichiro trade. If you read this site regularly, you know that I am not a big fan of D.J. Mitchell. Since the trade, he has been good for Tacoma, with a 3.33 FIP. In the Yankees AAA, he wasn’t bad, with a 3.96 FIP and 3.92 SIERA. So what are the reasons for not being high on Mitchell. Most of it lies on his fastball. Simply, he sits at 87-88 mph.

On Saturday against the Cardinals AAA affiliate, Mitchell had a start riddled with bad luck (2.74 FIP but 12.46 ERA). He struck out just 4 and walked 2. His sinker/fastball got hit hard a few times despite being located down and away. Mitchell’s off-speed got him some whiffs, especially his change-up. His curve was located pretty well, and he showed that he could throw it for strikes. While, he had some good luck (when he gave up a hard line drive right at Catricala for an out), he gave up several ground-balls that barely made it out of the infield. Guillermo Quiroz also had a rough day behind the plate, letting a few balls get through. There were a few balls that were hit pretty hard off Mitchell, but when he left the game with 2 runners on base, Steven Hensley promptly let them score.

So what about Mitchell’s long term prospects? Here is the list of qualified right-handed MLB starters that have an average fastball of 87-88 MPH: No one. Jered Weaver is awesome (3.59 FIP), and averages just 88.3 MPH. Jason Marquis averages 88.5 MPH on his fastball. Tim Hudson averages 88.9 MPH, as does Carlos Zambrano. Dan Haren has averaged 88.6 MPH this year, but that is quite a bit down from what it was last year (and he is struggling much more than he has in the past). Pitchers like Tom Milone, Jason Vargas, and Paul Maholm average between 87-88 MPH on their fastballs, but they are left-handed. The lowest 3 (qualified) pitchers in average fastball velocity are all right-handed. R.A. Dickey is a knuckleballer, Derek Lowe was DFA’d by the Indians this year (but signed by the Yankees), and Bronson Arroyo has been solid this year, but has been extremely hittable in the past.

Many have suggested that Mitchell’s future is in the bullpen, and I believe they are right. If we assume he adds 1-2 MPH on his fastball in the bullpen (bumping him up to 88-89 MPH), the only 2 qualified righties in the bullpen are Huston Street (2.95 FIP in his career) and Kameron Loe (3.36 ERA over the last 3 years). So it is not a high number of pitchers he compares with (on fastball alone), but they are quality pitchers. While Mitchell’s splits aren’t bad (his BB% and LD% are actually higher against right-handers), it appears that his sinker is easier to drive, even when it is way off the plate, for lefties. His plan against lefties, and it seems to be working, is to just throw a ton of off-speed pitches. The only problem with this is that mistakes could be absolutely crushed by power lefties. While it seems that Mitchell makes less mistakes than the average AAA pitcher, good left-handed hitters can destroy curveballs when they know it is coming.

There just isn’t a great history of guys like D.J. Mitchell succeeding in the big leagues. Even with the Mariners loaded bullpen, Mitchell will get his chance soon enough if he keeps putting up the numbers he is in Tacoma. When rosters expand to 40 in September, you can almost guarantee that Mitchell will be up with Seattle. My guess is that he will pitch exclusively out of the bullpen for the Mariners this year and be given a shot at a rotation job in 2013. My guess on the eventual role for Mitchell will be low-leverage long-man type reliever along with occasional spot starts. Despite what some of his numbers say, I am just not ready to believe in him yet.

Mariners Scouting Players in Japan

K. Fujikawa

The Mariners have always been looking for talent internationally. Not only have they been one of the biggest spenders in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, they have also got players from rather strange places (such as Italy and South Africa). Perhaps most famously (and most logically, since the majority owner lives in Japan), the Mariners have been relevant in Japan, most notably with Ichiro.

Gen Sueyoshi (@gwynar) pointed to an article (the link is in Japanese, you can run it through an online translator, but those don’t pick up Japanese very well in my experience) in which the Mariners had scouts in Japan to scout players, most likely Kyuji Fujikawa and Takashi Toritani, both of whom should be eligible for free agency at the end of the season (Fujikama is already eligible).

Fujikawa is a right-handed reliever who has been downright dominant in the NPB with a 1.38 ERA and 5.61 K/BB since 2007. According to the NPB Tracker’s pitch F/X data, he has 5 different pitches: A 4-seamer averaging 91.35 MPH, a curveball averaging 74.90 MPH, a slider averaging 83.09 MPH, a cutter averaging 88.35, a 2-seamer at 88.44, and a fork-ball at 84.51 MPH. One concerning thing is that the 32 year old is losing velocity:

His walk rate has remained steady and he hadn’t seen a strikeout decrease until this year. At 10.9 K/9IP it is the lowest it has been for Fujikawa since 2004. For many NPB players, Ichiro and Yu Darvish obviously exceptions, they are no longer in their prime by the time they come to the United States. Fujikawa really hasn’t been more hittable this season though, with a 1.52 ERA and 1.011 WHIP. In the World Baseball Classic in 2009, Fujikawa threw 4 scoreless innings.

Here is what Josh Kalk of Hardball Times wrote about Fujikawa after watching him in the WBC:

“Fujikawa’s fastball averaged 92 mph during the WBC, which is lower than what he reportedly throws during the season. The interesting thing about his fastball is the huge vertical movement it possesses, more than a foot compared to a ball thrown without spin. Few major league pitchers get so much “rise” with their fastballs, though it is a bit uncertain how much benefit that actually provides. In any case, with a fastball with so much “rise” to it, it appears that Fujikawa works up in the zone with that pitch a lot and, unlike Iwakuma, relies heavily on his fastball to get hitters out. While he’s been dominant in Japan, there are serious questions how that would play in the states. I’d like the pitch a lot more at 94 mph than 92.

Fujikawa also throws a splitter, his out pitch. Fujikawa’s speed differential is almost 10 mph from his fastball and it doesn’t hide quite as well in his fastball as does Iwakuma’s, but it is a plus pitch. Like Iwakuma, he isn’t afraid to throw that pitch to right-handed batters and it likely is very effective against them.

I am lukewarm on Fujikawa’s curve. The five he threw were all over the map with movement. The three that are clustered near zero horizontal movement were rather 12 to 6, but without a lot of actual vertical movement. The pitch was 20 mph slower than his fastball, so I would describe it as more looping than a harder hammer you see from most 12 to 6 guys. The other two had almost no vertical drop; I would describe them as sweeping. I don’t think the sweeping curve would be very effective in the States. The looping curve might be okay, but what I would like to see from Fujikawa is a nice hard hammer.

Because he is throwing up in the zone a lot with his fastball, a hard 12 to 6 curve would be hidden well. With a pitch like that, I think Fujikawa could be very effective in the States, but without it I don’t think he would be a top-flight closer.”

Takashi Toritani is a 31 year old shortstop for the Hanshin Tigers, a teammate of Fujikawa. So far this year, he is hitting .260/.377/.363. For comparison, Munenori Kawasaki hit .267/.310/.327 last year, so Toritani hits for more power and walks more. Takashi has a good mix of contact and patience, walking more than he struck out in 2011 (for comparison, Kawasaki struck out nearly 3 times as much as he walked in 2011). While this may not mean a whole lot, Toritani had a better fielding percentage and range factor than Kawasaki last year. The left handed hitter provides some speed with an 82 speed rating by the Baseball Cube (91 patience and 74 contact) along with a hint of power (64 rating out of 100). So one would think he would cost more than Kawasaki, he will be better  than Kawasaki (who has been terrible, a -.2 bWAR and .468 OPS this season) and could provide the Mariners good middle infield depth and work as a utility player. He went 1 for 4 when the Tigers played the Mariners in March (Fujikawa threw 1 inning and gave up a solo homer and also struck a hitter out).

Again, this is just a report (the scouts may even have written bad reports, making the team have no interest in the players), and we will have to see what happens once free agency happens, but the Mariners are in Japan scouting players.

This Should Bring a Tear to Mariners Fans’ Eyes

There's no crying in baseball!

The Yankees left Seattle having won two out of three games at Safeco Field. Ichiro left with them undoubtedly nursing a sore ankle after Felix Hernandez lost control of a pitch in Tuesdays game. Ichiro wasn’t the only Yankee to be assaulted as if King Felix was playing dodgeball, rather than baseball.

Alex Rodriguez, who many Mariners fans still hate with a passion was also a victim of Hernandez’s. Not only was A-Roid hit with a pitch, he was hit in his hand and will be sidelined for approximately eight weeks. That’s two months of baseball that we can enjoy without Alex Rodriguez.

There’s no crying in baseball!

We here at Seattle Sports Central never cheer injury or wish harm on any professional athlete just because he or she plays for a rival team. Unless that persons name happens to be Alex Rodriguez.

A Quick Scouting Report on D.J. Mitchell


As Ichiro takes the field for the first time as a Yankee (against the Mariners at Safeco) wearing number 31, I watched a couple of D.J. Mitchell outings from earlier in the year.

Here are his pitches from what I can gather:

85-89 MPH fastball with some movement (he has no “straight” or 4-seamer). It is 2 seamer type pitch without downward break. Mitchell doesn’t have much of an idea where it’s going.

81 MPH soft slider that he was using as his feature pitch

76 MPH curve. I didn’t see much difference in break between it and the slider.

It just doesn’t look like big league stuff to me. He missed some bats in AAA because of the breaking pitches, but I don’t think that will translate. He just doesn’t have the fastball to set up those pitches and the breaking pitches do not have the sharp break to fool hitters in the Majors.  He doesn’t throw them for strikes very often (and when he does they are hung high in the zone and/or hit hard) or at least not often enough for him to really be able to pitch backwards. Despite keeping the ball low quite a bit, he wasn’t getting grounders when I saw him. Too many of his fastballs were thrown down the plate. He isn’t wild for the most part, but it is not like he has real good control/command. With his (lack of stuff), his command has to be just about perfect. It isn’t. Will it be? Who knows.  He has a good pickoff move for a right hander and a delivery that doesn’t give you much concern mechanically or injury-wise. His best bet is using it to gain some deception as he brings his arm relatively far back, but it wasn’t like AAA hitters were fooled by sneaky velocity. In fact, he just wasn’t getting many whiffs at all. He isn’t a pitcher who is going to miss a lot of bats, especially with that fastball.

Both Mitchell and Farquhar will start in AAA Tacoma according to reports. The Mariners have just 24 players for tonight’s game, it is pretty obvious that Mike Carp will join the team tomorrow to make it 25.

Ichiro Traded, Great Mariner Career Over

Photography by Anthony Bolante © The Image Arsenal

One of the all-time greatest Mariners have been traded. Ichiro Suzuki is now a Yankee.

The drop-off offensively came pretty sudden for Ichiro. In 2009, he had a 126 wRC+, a 113 wRC+ in 2010, and then an 82 wRC + in 2011. This year, his wRC + is just 77. This year, he was hitting just .261/.288/.353. However, he was still the 6th best Mariner position player according to Baseball Reference WAR (1.4, Fangraphs has him at 1.8). He struggled defensively in 2011, but by both defensive metrics and eye-witness accounts, he had improved in 2012, rated as one of the best defenders in baseball. In fact, he has already put up his 5th best career UZR. However, that is not all that important. Mariners fans and writers should be celebrating Ichiro’s great Seattle career.

His first year in America was the 2001 season, when he not only won Rookie of the Year, but won the A.L. MVP as well. Not only was that the best Mariner team ever, but it was one of the best teams of all time. While he didn’t hit for much power, he was one of the best in all of baseball as far as speed, hitting for average, throwing arm, and overall defense. While decline eventually happened, Ichiro’s prime last longer than most players. He is not only still a serviceable player, but should get an offensive boost at the “New” Yankee Stadium.

In return, the Mariners get two minor league pitchers, Danny Farquhar and D.J. Mitchell.

I wrote extensively about Danny Farquhar, who has been dominant since joining the Yankees, here

I will have a further writeup on D.J. Mitchell soon, but he is 25 and was drafted in the 10th round in 2008. He pitched in 4.2 innings for the big league Yankees this year. The right handed starter has a 3.96 FIP and 3.92 SIERA in AAA this year.

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