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  • Samuel Deduno showing progress in World Baseball Classic

    Don’t look now, but Samuel Deduno has not walked a batter yet this spring.

    I know, I know: It has been five meaningless spring innings. Give it time, right? And, sure, four of those innings were against Spain in the World Baseball Classic, a team whose lineup was littered with players lacking even minor league deals. Pump the brakes, Parker.


    The reality is that last year he handed out more free passes than the gals standing out front of Dream Girls gentlemen’s club. With 121 innings split between Rochester and the Twins, he walked 75, or 14% of all the hitters he faced. Five measly innings of not throwing four balls in a given at-bat is not going to change that fact.

    His inability to work ahead of hitters put Deduno in many precarious situations in 2012. A whopping 8% of his match-ups resulted in 3-0 counts (league average being 5%). Overall, hitters knew his reputation and refrained from chasing much of anything outside of the strike zone. According to Fangraphs.com Deduno got opponents to chase after just 23.5% of all out-of-zone offerings – the second lowest rate in baseball with a minimum of 70 innings pitched.

    Here’s the catch: Despite being behind hitters frequently, he was not damaged significantly. He walked plenty, but teams were unable to put the ball in play sharply. Thanks to his incredible movement of his fastball which had an MLB-best 67% ground ball rate, the opposition showed they simply could not square up. Even in situations where they should have an advantage, they were unsuccessful. While the rest of the American League’s pitching staffs had a .299/.465/.513 batting line when behind in the count, Deduno produced a walk-heavy yet respectable .244/.524/.389 line.

    With his nearly unhittable fastball (not to mention decent curve), Deduno has the foundations to be a very good pitcher. The giant elephant on his chest is his incapability to throw the ball over the plate consistently. Behind the small sample size, there may be some reason why he is throwing the ball better. Look how free and easy his motion is – particularly his finish - while in the World Baseball Classic compared to last season:






    Notice the “Francisco Liriano” twirl with his back leg after his follow through. He is finishing higher with his upper body. This is the follow through of someone who is not over-thinking, not aiming, not over-throwing on every pitch. He’s just letting it fly, as they say. Maybe that is all that it takes with him to achieve that next level.

    Then again, who is to say that this will carry over to the season? At 29 years old, he’s had numerous opportunities to try to get his walk rate in order and failed. Frankly, Deduno represents a fringe player; one whose skill set can get him near the top level but never fully entrench him into a starting rotation. That said, it is still important for a an organization to have a pitcher like Deduno available. As Russell Charlton’s research at Baseball Prospectus showed that pitchers who have had previous injuries have high odds of a reoccurrence. For example, pitchers who have had elbow injuries have had a 27.4% chance of re-injury. That means three-fifths of the projected rotation - Vance Worley, Scott Diamond and Mike Pelfrey – stand the likelihood of spending time on the DL in 2013. If Deduno is able to harness his control, he could be a valuable contributor in some capacity.

    Deduno will get the start for the Dominican Republic on Thursday, taking on a far superior Team USA lineup. Watch his command, walk total and scrutinize his mechanics – if he is throwing free and easy, it could translate to a rough day for Team USA in the WBC.
    This article was originally published in blog: Samuel Deduno showing progress in World Baseball Classic started by Parker Hageman
    Comments 106 Comments
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Some things appear to be off in this article, but I realized the same thing about Deduno. This is a good sign. But it just makes this Correia abomination way worse.
    1. Parker Hageman's Avatar
      Parker Hageman -
      Something is fudged up. Brock's working on getting some solutions as to why the GIFs are not appearing. Check back tomorrow to see it in full glory.
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      new......... and improved?
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      I am a big fan of Deduno and hope that he has found a way to decrease his walk rate. If that happens, he can be awesome. I am setting my DVR for Thursday's game!
    1. Teflon's Avatar
      Teflon -
      People need to look a pitchers like Deduno a little more closely and understand that the high walk rate which is such a flashing number in his pitching stats is not as negative an indicator as people would have you think given Deduno's low hit rate.

      Compare two pitchers with similar WHIPs and the pitcher with the higher walk rate will fare better because a walk only puts the batter on first base and only advances base runners in a force situations a single base while hits will result in more total bases for both batters and runners.

      Liam Hendriks (1.547) and Sam Deduno (1.544) had nearly identical WHIPs for the Twins last year but Hendriks' was based on 11.2 H/9 and 2.7 BB/9 while Sam's was from 7.9 H/9 and a 6.0 BB/9. Hendriks surrendered 184 total bases to batters versus only 112 for Deduno. This means that for the same number of batters put on base, Deduno gave up 65% fewer total bases. (And this doesn't even account for the extra bases by base runners.) In a similar number of innings pitched (85 for Hendriks, 79 for Deduno) Deduno gave up 21 fewer runs.

      I won't throw Liam's 1-8 mark in the argument because his run support was horrible (3.4 runs per game.) while Deduno's was decent at 5.1. (and, by the way, Diamond got 6.0. Care to guess what kind of pitcher Diamond will be in 2013 with, say, a run and a half fewer per game?)
    1. gil4's Avatar
      gil4 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Teflon View Post
      Compare two pitchers with similar WHIPs and the pitcher with the higher walk rate will fare better because a walk only puts the batter on first base...
      It also seems like walk rate is an area where pitchers will take a big leap forward, although it usually happens well before age 29 if it's going to happen. Still, a guy who misses bats and stays healthy could very well be on the verge of being a good pitcher.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      Great post, Teflon. Thanks!
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Teflon View Post
      People need to look a pitchers like Deduno a little more closely and understand that the high walk rate which is such a flashing number in his pitching stats is not as negative an indicator as people would have you think given Deduno's low hit rate.

      Compare two pitchers with similar WHIPs and the pitcher with the higher walk rate will fare better because a walk only puts the batter on first base and only advances base runners in a force situations a single base while hits will result in more total bases for both batters and runners.

      Liam Hendriks (1.547) and Sam Deduno (1.544) had nearly identical WHIPs for the Twins last year but Hendriks' was based on 11.2 H/9 and 2.7 BB/9 while Sam's was from 7.9 H/9 and a 6.0 BB/9. Hendriks surrendered 184 total bases to batters versus only 112 for Deduno. This means that for the same number of batters put on base, Deduno gave up 65% fewer total bases. (And this doesn't even account for the extra bases by base runners.) In a similar number of innings pitched (85 for Hendriks, 79 for Deduno) Deduno gave up 21 fewer runs.

      I won't throw Liam's 1-8 mark in the argument because his run support was horrible (3.4 runs per game.) while Deduno's was decent at 5.1. (and, by the way, Diamond got 6.0. Care to guess what kind of pitcher Diamond will be in 2013 with, say, a run and a half fewer per game?)
      Hendricks has shown an ability to be very good at a level for a longer stretch than 4 innings. See last year in the minors as well as 2010. Deduno has not ever shown that. Hendricks has shown that he can be much better than a 1.5 whip pitcher, Deduno has not.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      I believe the phrase of the day is "SWEEP THE LEG, SAMMY".
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      If he lowers his walk rate to around 4 per 9 then he could be this generations Dave Stewart. He didn't have much success until his late 20's then out of know where won 20 games a year 4 years in a row. While I won't expect 20 wins a year, Dedunno could put together 3-7 years of 12-15 wins as a starter. I think a pitcher like him makes the rest of the rotation better because of the way he pitches is a different look then the other starters.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Looking at the raw data from last year is only partly helpful. I'd like to see the trend line. When he came up, he was walking five, six guys a game and pitching five, six innings a start.

      He did that for about a month and Anderson got him to make some adjustments. Most notably, he had the catcher sit down the middle and Deduno would throw it at the mit and the ball would move over the corner for a strike. Prior to that, he would try to hit the corner and it would move off the plate. Consequently, he was only throwing his fastball for strikes once every fourth or fifth time. Hence all the 3-0 counts. But late in the year, he was throwing strikes with his fastball and guys started swinging early in the count. When they did, they hit weak grounders. When they didn't he finished them off with the slider.

      Slowly, the walk rate lowered. By the end of the year, he was walking something like 3/9. Meanwhile, his BA against was under .200. He carried that over into winter ball and dominated. Now he's keeping it going in the WBC. The big test will be tomorrow, when he starts against a USA line-up that could beat most all-star teams. Because he's been away from camp, we've kind of forgotten about him. But with Hendriks and Gibson struggling, he could make this team with a strong showing tomorrow.
    1. Parker Hageman's Avatar
      Parker Hageman -
      Slowly, the walk rate lowered. By the end of the year, he was walking something like 3/9.
      This is the perfect example of why K/9 and BB/9 are not good indicators of a pitcher's workload -- always (ALWAYS) use K% and BB% over that.

      In his first 46 innings, he walked 36 batters in 46 innings -- a 5.8 BB/9 ratio. In his last 33 innings - presumably after these changes from Anderson - we walked 17, an improved 4.6 BB/9, right? HOWEVER, if you look at the overall pool of batters faced, Deduno actually walked more hitters in the latter sample (8.5% in last 33 innings versus 5.6% over first 46)
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Teflon View Post
      People need to look a pitchers like Deduno a little more closely and understand that the high walk rate which is such a flashing number in his pitching stats is not as negative an indicator as people would have you think given Deduno's low hit rate.

      Compare two pitchers with similar WHIPs and the pitcher with the higher walk rate will fare better because a walk only puts the batter on first base and only advances base runners in a force situations a single base while hits will result in more total bases for both batters and runners.
      Teflon's comment suggests a more general point... Statistical regression is difficult to predict with a pitcher whose success depends on a certain degree of natural unpredictability. Sam Deduno's style indeed hinges on peppering the area in and around the strike zone with sliding, ducking fastballs. The downside of such a style is a high walk rate; the upside is a lot of whiffs and really lame contact.

      One thing I've noticed about Deduno, and the reason I find him fascinating, is that he appears to have developed a style that fits his abilities. He's an excellent fielder, quick as a good shortstop. His whippy arm motion is unusual for an overhand delivery, but it appears not to damage his shoulder or elbow. Ever notice that his throws to first and second base are straight as an arrow and pinpoint accurate? Deduno knows very well how to throw a ball straight.

      Whether his new, more whirly deliver results in better accuracy is yet to be seen, but it's not impossible. The fact that he falls off so far to his left indicates that he is accelerating in that direction from the start. Does that delivery really look more repeatable to you than his supposedly more disciplined finish from last year? Throwing a baseball combines straight line and rotational movements. When you find a good recipe of such whippy movements, you can wind up with a Roger Federer forehand, or a Sam Deduno fastball for a strike.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Parker Hageman View Post
      This is the perfect example of why K/9 and BB/9 are not good indicators of a pitcher's workload -- always (ALWAYS) use K% and BB% over that.

      In his first 46 innings, he walked 36 batters in 46 innings -- a 5.8 BB/9 ratio. In his last 33 innings - presumably after these changes from Anderson - we walked 17, an improved 4.6 BB/9, right? HOWEVER, if you look at the overall pool of batters faced, Deduno actually walked more hitters in the latter sample (8.5% in last 33 innings versus 5.6% over first 46)
      Excellent point, Parker. I tend to fall back in K/9 and BB/9, even though I know it's wrong. I need to stop doing that.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      It would sure help if he could be a marginally decent starter for this team....
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Parker Hageman View Post
      This is the perfect example of why K/9 and BB/9 are not good indicators of a pitcher's workload -- always (ALWAYS) use K% and BB% over that.

      In his first 46 innings, he walked 36 batters in 46 innings -- a 5.8 BB/9 ratio. In his last 33 innings - presumably after these changes from Anderson - we walked 17, an improved 4.6 BB/9, right? HOWEVER, if you look at the overall pool of batters faced, Deduno actually walked more hitters in the latter sample (8.5% in last 33 innings versus 5.6% over first 46)
      I must confess I don't get this. You seem to be saying that his walk rate went up even though his walks-per-innings-pitched went down. As far as I can tell, the only way to make sense of that statement is to say his walk rate went down in a smaller sample of innings than his previously higher walk rate. I don't see how that's helpful. Our judgement of him should not be deprecated because the season ended before he had a chance to put up an even number of innings after the adjustment as before.

      Either way, we are dealing with small samples, and it's really hard to project such an unpredictable player with such small samples. All I know is, since the adjustment, and including his winter ball and WBC innings, his walk rate is in the area where he can be successful with such a low BA against. Relative to the current competition (Cole DeVries, who walks hardly anyone but gives up a lot of hits) his WHIP should be lower, giving him a better chance at success.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      I must confess I don't get this. You seem to be saying that his walk rate went up even though his walks-per-innings-pitched went down. As far as I can tell, the only way to make sense of that statement is to say his walk rate went down in a smaller sample of innings than his previously higher walk rate. I don't see how that's helpful. Our judgement of him should not be deprecated because the season ended before he had a chance to put up an even number of innings after the adjustment as before.
      It's pretty simple. A guy doesn't face the same amount of batters in every inning.

      If he K's 5 guys in a nine inning game, that's a 5 K/9 ratio.

      But let's say he pitched two nine inning games and struck out 5 guys in both.

      But in one game, he walked 8 batters, gave up 10 hits, and hit 3 batters. That means he struck out 5 of a possible 48 batters (27 outs, 8 walks, 10 hits, 3 HBP).

      In the other game, he walked 4 batters, gave up 5 hits, and hit no one. That means he struck out 5 of a possible 36 batters (27 outs, 4 walks, 5 hits).
    1. Parker Hageman's Avatar
      Parker Hageman -
      Here's a more detailed explanation as to why to stop using K/9 & BB/9:

      What happens when we use the 'per 9' metrics is that we lose accuracy, because our measurements have become subject to the tyrannical forces of BAbip. As a pitcher allows more Hits per Ball in Play, he becomes less efficient. He ends up facing more batters and getting fewer outs, which consequently means fewer innings. But if he's still striking out batters at the same rate (say 20%) all the while, his K/9 is going to look a lot shinier with those fewer Innings.
      Stop using K/9 and BB/9! - Beyond the Box Score
    1. Parker Hageman's Avatar
      Parker Hageman -
      Well, Brock laid it out in an easier to digest format...
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Parker Hageman View Post
      Well, Brock laid it out in an easier to digest format...
      i r understend teh simpel things
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