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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. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Quote Originally Posted by birdwatcher View Post
      Great post, Teflon. Thanks!
      One part that Teflon missed in his analysis was that Deduno's low hit rate was due to a low BAPIP (.266). Hendriks OTOH posted a .313 BAPIP. If Deduno's BAPIP is normal for pitchers then his hit rate will be a lot higher (WHIP also) and those walks are going to hurt even more than they did last year.

      If he's going to walk a lot of batters then he's going to need to K a lot to be successful.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      I keep getting sucked into my hatred for the Correia signing on a weekly basis around here. Part of that is that I read MLB's Twins offseason analysis and it was just so damn blunt about how terrible the signing was. It isn't just that money is wasted, it is that Deduno and/or DeVries might actually have *better* seasons than Correia if given the chance. And at 1/9 the cost this year and 1/10 of it next year.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Point is, these sample sizes make the distinction tenuous at best. I get it over the course of a whole season or something. You're just controlling more variables. But over 80 innings, it's probably not all that helpful. If he's getting more groundouts and fewer Ks over 33 innings than he did over the previous 46 innings, what does that mean? It could mean a lot of things. Here I think Pitch F/X data might be more helpful.
    1. Parker Hageman's Avatar
      Parker Hageman -
      If he's getting more groundouts and fewer Ks over 33 innings than he did over the previous 46 innings, what does that mean?
      Well, simply put, it means that Deduno was walking MORE batters in his second-half of the season after Anderson made some mechanical changes not less. Big picture, using innings as the denominator for measurement of strikeouts and walks paints an inaccurate picture of a pitcher's success versus what their true workload is: batters faced.

      One part that Teflon missed in his analysis was that Deduno's low hit rate was due to a low BAPIP (.266). Hendriks OTOH posted a .313 BAPIP. If Deduno's BAPIP is normal for pitchers then his hit rate will be a lot higher (WHIP also) and those walks are going to hurt even more than they did last year.
      There is a significant difference between how opponents were putting the ball in play against Deduno compared to Hendriks which led to that vast chasm in BABIP marks. Hitters were not squaring up on Deduno. For example, Deduno had a 58% groundball rate versus Hendriks' 41%. Meanwhile, 17% of the fly balls hit off of Deduno did not leave the infield. More weak contact. Both are likely to equalize closer to league average over the course of a regular season but I would wager Deduno would be able to keep his beneath the average while Hendriks would stay over that figure.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Teflon made a great point in his earlier post, and it's something I spoke to last season. Deduno is what you'd call "effectively wild"; a high walk-rate is part of his game. He doesn't know where his pitches are going to end up and neither do opposing batters, contributing to consitently weak contact evidenced by low hit rates and homer rates over the course of his career. It's true that you'd rather have a guy walk to first than run to second or third, or jog around the diamond.

      That being said, a BB/9 of 6.0 is unpalatable, so Parker's writeup here is encouraging.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      I really like the gifs in this. The movement on the pitch (despite the uglier leg kick) was really awesome. Also, that was an amazing squeeze in the 2nd.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Parker Hageman View Post
      There is a significant difference between how opponents were putting the ball in play against Deduno compared to Hendriks which led to that vast chasm in BABIP marks. Hitters were not squaring up on Deduno. For example, Deduno had a 58% groundball rate versus Hendriks' 41%. Meanwhile, 17% of the fly balls hit off of Deduno did not leave the infield. More weak contact. Both are likely to equalize closer to league average over the course of a regular season but I would wager Deduno would be able to keep his beneath the average while Hendriks would stay over that figure.
      It should be worth noting that GB's have a higher BAPIP than FB's. They are of course way better than FB's since they only go for singles. it's the line drives that kill pitchers and neither Deduno nor hendriks did well there.

      Bottom line though is that Deduno needs to approach a 2:1 k:bb ratio to be halfway successful imo. I don't care how he does it (more K's or less BB's) but a 1:1 k:BB ratio belongs in AAA.
    1. Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
      Oldgoat_MN -
      I have long felt that a little wildness is not always a bad thing.
      Deduno is a wildcard, but I hope he gets a shot as a SP.
      It would be wonderful if he could surprise us. (and all of MLB)
    1. bear333's Avatar
      bear333 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      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.
      I'm concerned about Correia, as well. By the way, there were only two Twins starters with a winning record last year and Deduno was one of them. Even with his walks he may end up being more effective then a couple of the guys we are going to start the season with. I would like to see him as a 5th or 6th starter, to be honest. I love his wicked fast ball.
    1. darin617's Avatar
      darin617 -
      Can't any team claim him if they want since he is not on the 40 man roster? How messed up would that be if he got straightened out and was picked up by another team.
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Quote Originally Posted by darin617 View Post
      Can't any team claim him if they want since he is not on the 40 man roster? How messed up would that be if he got straightened out and was picked up by another team.
      They could have (past tense). The Rule 5 draft doesn't go on constantly; it was over in December.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      If Samuel Deuno doesnt make the starting 5 , I hope we use him as a long reliever or spot starter , till the suspects fail.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by 70charger View Post
      They could have (past tense). The Rule 5 draft doesn't go on constantly; it was over in December.
      If sent down he could be claimed ....
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      Looking forward to watching him tonight v R. A. Dickey (and the batters from Team USA).
    1. SweetOne69's Avatar
      SweetOne69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      If sent down he could be claimed ....
      Only if he is added to the 40-man roster and then DFA'd.

      He is currently not on the 40-man roster and was re-signed by the Twins to minor league contract.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      What's the over/under on how many swings Mauer takes against Deduno tonight? Assuming 2 or 3 at bats, I'm putting the over/under at 2.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      What's the over/under on how many swings Mauer takes against Deduno tonight? Assuming 2 or 3 at bats, I'm putting the over/under at 2.
      Yes, I expect somebody expects to school the other one. I'd put my money on Mauer, but it would be great news if it came out something like a draw in this clash of titans.
    1. darin617's Avatar
      darin617 -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      If sent down he could be claimed ....
      Thank you, that was exactly what I was trying to say. I am not saying who is going to turn into another RA Dickey but I would rather have him on the club than Kevin Correia for $5M a year.
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      If Deduno didn't win a spot on the starting rotation after what he did to the American team line up tonight......... the decision people aren't paying attention.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by h2oface View Post
      If Deduno didn't win a spot on the starting rotation after what he did to the American team line up tonight......... the decision people aren't paying attention.
      But, but, what about the 40-man roster connundrum...? They might have to expose Swarzak or something..../s
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