Breaking News: Heroes’ Lee Jung-hoo He’s out

Heroes' Lee Jung-hoo likely to miss rest of season after ankle injury

Spring training is, almost entirely, a bag of lies. A small-sample mirage shrouded in empty hope.

Besides the occasional gut-wrenching, catastrophic injury, spring exhibition games provide little in the way of the definitive, conclusive or predictive. That’s because nobody is playing to win in March. Hitters and pitchers are focused on getting themselves and their bodies ready for the six-month marathon to come. Outcomes during the six-week Arizona/Florida trudge are irrelevant. The Los Angeles Angels, for instance, have won the past two Cactus League “championships.”

But there is gold in the riverbed, riches hidden in the muck.

The advent of pitch and batted ball tracking technology means the public has access to reliable, objective data. Instead of evaluating a pitcher on how many strikeouts he tallied in camp, we can look at changes in fastball velocity or pitch mix. Hitters can be judged on the quality of their contact instead of something as comical as spring training batting average.

With that in mind, let’s sift through some data from the spring to find the potentially meaningful and lasting developments.

Strider laid waste to hitters last year, with an outrageous, league-leading 36.8 K% despite leaning on his fastball/slider combo a whopping 95% of the time. While he flashed an occasional plus changeup, Strider has been lacking a meaningful third pitch against lefty bats — until now.

He threw a curveball in college at Clemson but shelved it upon reaching pro ball. But in each of his two spring training outings thus far, the mustachioed flamethrower has shown multiple uncle charlies. The pitch isn’t a true 12-6, end-over-end breaker, and it features more side-to-side sweep than most curveballs, but it should give left-handed hitters something else to think about. This pitch is likely to survive the testing ground of spring, giving Strider another weapon against opposite-handed hitters.

Fantasy spin for 2024: Strider was arguably in a fantasy tier by himself already, so the addition of a possible plus third pitch could make him a top-three player. He’s the league’s clear best pitcher who should also benefit from elite run support, so Strider will rack up wins and is worth a top-10 pick. — Dalton Del Don

[Join or create a Yahoo Fantasy Baseball league for the 2024 MLB season]

Bryce Miller has added a splitter

Miller’s rookie year with the Mariners was solid, though unspectacular: a 4.32 ERA across 25 starts with under a strikeout per inning. And the 25-year-old’s handedness splits were outrageous: Right-handed hitters slugged just .315 against him (top 15 or so in MLB), while lefties crushed his soul to the tune of a .558 slugging percentage (second-worst in MLB).

To try to mitigate that imbalance, Miller added a splitter to his repertoire over the winter. The pitch is visually beautiful, but more importantly, it grades out extraordinarily well from a data perspective. Don’t expect Miller to throw the splitter a whole lot right away, but the downward movement of the pitch should give lefties fits and help him even out his performance.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *