AFL Day 4: Hultzen’s Debut
Well, I had said I was going to have some thoughts on the game yesterday… but, as is Marc W. and Jeff Sullivan have both written much better posts on the subject. So I’m not going to take time to reinvent the wheel. Most importantly as Jeff Sullivan said this is purely one start with an assortment of varibles that can potential distort any information that we might try to dervie from it.
So what am I saying it’s great to see him have a semi-successful start and all you can hope for at this time is that he just gets more experience and hope that we get to see more consistent pitch f/x data on him.
Here are some quotes via MLB.com from Hultzen on his start on AFL.
“It was awesome, really exciting,” Hultzen said. “I had the nerves, too, out there a bit. I haven’t pitched in a while, but it felt good to be out there again.”
“I had pretty good command of the fastball and slider,” said Hultzen, who threw 42 pitches. “I fell behind some hitters but was able to come back after that and get out of some jams. I need to be more consistent with everything. You fall behind with these guys and they’ll punish you for it. It’s definitely something I have to get better at.”
“It was pretty crazy,” Hultzen said. “We got a 3-2, two-out grand slam from one of the smaller guys on our team, then had a talent like Manzanillo lighting up the radar gun. It doesn’t always mean success, but he’ll bounce back. But that was a crazy inning.”
“It reminds me a lot of my freshman year of college — you’re coming out of high school and playing the best high school players in the area. And now you’re in pro ball and facing the best hitters in the country,” he said. “I’m kind of getting used to that whole atmosphere and competitiveness, getting acquainted with it again.”
more thoughts beyond the jump….
Something that jumps out to be is his quote about how “lighting up the radar gun doesn’t always mean success”. It’s such “duh” type statement but the fact is that some of the young guys coming into pro ball have lived off their fastball for the last couple of years that some of them feel like they can just continue to use it like they were in HS and even college. Realizing that he needs to be able to mix up his pitches already at his young age speaks to his polish and even advanced understanding of “how” to pitch.
Hultzen, of course, wasn’t the only Mariner that started. Last night also featured Adam Moore, Chih-Hsien Chiang and Nick Franklin start as well.
- Adam Moore, C – 1/2 , 1R, 2BB, 1 K (swinging)
There are a couple of things to like about tonight with Moore.
A) he got behind the plate for Hultzen and got an opportunity to build a relationship with the young pitcher. If Moore has any future left in this organization that could be an important thing. Sure, it’s only one game. But this time that they have down in Arizona is going to be important. Moore may not have previously been apart of any previous AFL. But, the year of major league experience and with four years of being in the minor leagues, Moore is going to impart some wisdom and spend time with Hultzen. I like Moore being in the AFL even more for this reason.
B) I’m glad to see Moore work a couple of walks. He’s a smart hitter and it’s good to see him get on base. But more importantly I feel like he worked better at bats than what he did the other day. I’m not saying take it to the bank he’s going to have an good season or anything like that. There isn’t much you can really derive from AFL stats. But you’d rather see them do well than do poorly.
- Nick Franklin, SS – 0/2, 2 BB, 1R, 1E(fielding)
Franklin doesn’t have a hit in two games but I’m not really worried. What I like to see is 3 BB / 1 K in 8 PA’s. He’s showing patience in an hitter heavy enviornment. Sometimes guys get that “swing for the fence mentality” and I’d rather see guys reel that attitude in and do what Franklin is doing. That said he’s also hit 4 ground balls and I’d like to see him get the ball in the air too.
- Chih-Hsien Chiang, RF – 0/3, 1 BB
Chiang has started all three games (2 RF, 1 CF) and while I don’t think it’ll continue I do like to see him getting plenty of reps. Just like Franklin he has a good K/BB split (2/3) through 13 PA’s. Something to watch going forward. He’s never shown much in the way of patience before. So it’s probably just a small sample size. Either that or not being discplined enough to lay off unhittable pitches. Either way it’s just something to watch going forward.
Tomorrow is one of my few days off so I wouldn’t expect anything…we’ll get back and try to tackle Saturday and Sunday on Monday.