Results tagged ‘ Jeremy Hellickson ’

A pitching renaissance in the postseason

It’s nothing new to rave about young pitching, but watching the Division Series this year, I couldn’t help but be struck, not just by how many young pitchers are on playoff rosters, but by the important roles they’ve been giving. The results may be uneven, but it’s amazing how often teams are putting the ball in the hands of some fairly inexperienced hurlers, confident that they are the best options at the time.

By now, I’ve written enough about Matt Moore to be the official spokesman of his fan club. But he’s Exhibit A, right? A top prospect who started in Double-A, got a September callup and not only won Game 1 of the ALDS, but threw three more relief innings in Game 4. Of course, he wasn’t alone on that Tampa staff. Jeremy Hellickson, the potential AL Rookie of the Year, started Game 4.

Game 5 between the Yankees and Tigers is tonight. New York’s best (only?) option: Ivan Nova, the right-hander who might give Hellickson a pretty good contest in ROY voting. Mind you, this is a guy who got sent down earlier this year. He’s been nothing short of sensational since his return, of course, and won Game 1  once it resumed post-suspension.

In last night’s Brewers-Diamondbacks game, Arizona brought Jarrod Parker into the game in the sixth inning with a 7-3 lead. Yes, he gave up two hits, a walk and a run, but the fact Parker is even on the postseason roster is somewhat amazing. He is, after all, in his first season following Tommy John surgery. After shaking off the rust in the first half, he was tremendous in the second, helping Mobile win the Double-A Southern League title. He got a late September callup and appeared in one game, a very solid start. With his relief outing in Game 4, that brings his career total of games out of the bullpen to… let’s see here… one.

There’s more… Bryan Shaw joins Parker in that Arizona bullpen with 33 Major League games under his belt and has been perfect in three NLDS appearances. Rookie Al Albuquerque has become an important part of the Tigers bullpen and appeared in two games against the Yankees.

Obviously, I think it’s fantastic and a further sign of where the game is these days. Even the teams with deep pockets have to rely on young pitching, developing their own.

Meanwhile, in Panama…

After dropping their first game, Team USA has won two in a row against Chinese Taipei and Japan. Through three games, few have been more impressive than Pirates middle infield prospect Jordy Mercer, who’s now 5-for-12 with three extra-base hits and five RBIs.

Our friends from the Top 50, Brett Jackson and Travis d’Arnaud, continue to do well (the team is hitting .309 overall). Jackson is 4-for-12 and d’Arnaud is 3-for-8 with three doubles. A somewhat forgotten prospect, A.J Pollock of the Diamondbacks, is 3-for-9 with a homer.

And, finally, the AFL. There was more offense yesterday, shockingly. There’s now been 76 runs scored in five total games. That’s 15.2 runs per game, if you’re keeping score at home. As friend and colleague Kevin Goldstein pointed out via Twitter (@Kevin_Goldstein) recently, the AFL averaged 5.8 runs per game in 2010. So, to summarize: They are a tad ahead of pace so far this year.

Opening Day pitching prowess

I ran down some of the top pitching prospects who are on the hill tonight in Minor League games. Let’s check in on the big matchup of the day.

The Jeremy Hellickson-Chris Tillman matchup has gone about how you’d expect (check Gameday here). Tillman’s out of the game, having thrown 81 pitchers over four innings. He gave up two runs on five hits while striking out five and walking one. Hellickson’s been even better. In his four innings (and he’s still in the game), he’s thrown just 57 pitches, allowing one run on four hits, no walks and five K’s. Talk about efficient.

Scouting the Top 50: 39-36

OK, so “later today” evidently means a few days later in my world. Here’s the next set of scouting reports for this year’s Top 50.

39. Jeremy Hellickson, RHP, Rays
jeremy_hellickson.jpgSeen: April (FSL) and July (SL)

Fastball: 91-96 mph
Curve: 74-77 mph
Slider: 79-81 mph
Changeup: 75-81 mph

Solid, medium frame with big arm. Easy effort on delivery, throws strikes with four pitches. Fastball sinks to arm side on two-seamers, with occasional cutter. Slider sometimes tight with bite in zone; sometimes wide and with big downer curve, can be slurvy at times. Deceptive change with sinking life to arm side. Good competitor, No. 2 starter in future.

38. Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves
freddie_freeman.jpgSeen: June (SAL)

Good hitting approach. Takes fat part to ball, makes good contact and goes with pitch. Quiet, simple at plate. Drives balls to gaps, opens and turns to hit with power. Can shorten up and go other way for base hits. Good hands at first, average arm. Decent footwork defensively.

37. Scott Elbert, LHP, Dodgers
scott_elbert.jpgSeen: June (SL)

Fastball: 88-91 mph
Slider: 80-82 mph
Changeup: 82-83 mph

First outing of season (coming off injury). Threw one inning, so hard to get full evaluation. In later outings, velocity increased to 94-95 mph on fastball. Slingshot delivery with wrap in back, but fast and clean through arm slot. Heavy fastball thrown downhill. Long slider with depth. Change has dive to it.

36. Jake Arrieta, RHP, Orioles
jake_arrieta.jpgSeen: July (CAR) and August (Team USA)

Fastball: 90-97 mph
Curveball: 75-78 mph
Slider: 82-87 mph

Stuff and mound presense to be top of rotation type. When locked in, three plus pitches. Needs to improve fastball command. Slider is out pitch, sharp bite. 4-seem FB explodes, can go upstairs with it. Straight change has chance, needs some work. Mechanics on lower half can be off at times.

Note: I had planned to do through No. 35, but just checked my files and realized that I was missing a scouting report on Nick Adenhart. Sorry ’bout that folks. I’ll skip over him for now and will add him back in if/when I can get that info. 

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