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  • Samuel Deduno keeps throwing curves

    It is probably an indictment of the Minnesota Twins’ rotation when the biggest conversation of the month of March is focused on the performance of a pitcher who is currently not on the team’s 40 man roster.

    As Mike Pelfrey, Vance Worley and Kevin Correia continue to turn in clunkers in the Grapefruit League, Samuel Deduno’s sometimes sloppy, sometimes dominating but always energetic outings in the World Baseball Classic -- including last night’s five inning, two hit, three walk and five strikeout victory – has captured many fans’ attentions back in the Upper Midwest.

    Despite not maintaining the same free and easy motion as he showed during his start against Spain earlier in the tournament, Deduno forged his way past the United States (even while walking in a run and facing several 3-0 counts) and then kept Puerto Rico at bay to help the Dominican Republic capture the World Baseball Classic title.

    What helped the right-hander up to and in the championship game was having a filthy curveball.

    This is nothing new for Sammy. Last year, Pitch F/X-ly speaking, he held one of the best curves in baseball – allowing an average of just .160 on the hook, 14th lowest among those who threw it 200 or more times. He was also one of the most frequent users of the curveball, by percentage.

    Throughout the World Baseball Classic he showed great confidence in this pitch. In his start against Team USA, Deduno had the misfortunate of not only loading the bases, but walking USA’s Eric Hosmer to give the home team an early first inning lead. With the bases still loaded, Deduno went to a full count on Adam Jones and sent him packing with a 3-2 curve for a called strike. Ballsy pitch. In another instance, he would go on to throw a 3-2 bender to his potential battery mate, Joe Mauer, only to get the catcher to roll over to the first baseman. You know how often Mauer had seen a 3-2 curve in 2012? Six times.

    Last night, of the 14 batters Deduno retired, nine of those came on his curve.

    When facing Puerto Rico’s Angel Pegan and a runner on second, Deduno spun a 3-2 curveball to get Pegan to turnover and knock into the second out of the inning. Two innings later, Deduno fell behind Jesus Feliciano and ultimately lost him on a curve out of the zone, he proved that he was not going to lay a fastball in there (if, you know, he’s capable of that).

    As I’ve repeated numerous times, Deduno has got electric stuff which has helped him defy statistical convention for success at the major league level. If opponents are unable to square up pitches and are constantly off-balance with curveballs in fastball counts, it is hard to drive home those hitters he walked.

    It’s a tightrope act but, so far, Deduno has pulled it off.
    This article was originally published in blog: Samuel Deduno keeps throwing curves started by Parker Hageman
    Comments 48 Comments
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      Sample size, schmample size. Some just love to hang on to the catch phrases of the day. The change has to start somewhere. 3 kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by h2oface View Post
      Sample size, schmample size. Some just love to hang on to the catch phrases of the day. The change has to start somewhere. 3 kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics.
      I guess that means Drew Butera has finally turned the corner.
      He's hitting .333 this spring.
      We could surprise some people this year, having two good defensive catchers who can both hit well over .300.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Anyone but Duensing is my take. So he fits the bill insofar as that. He was entertaining to watch, though I could do without the endless chatter from Dick and Bert about how his fastball is something akin to a wild stallion yearning to be controlled.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      I guess that means Drew Butera has finally turned the corner.
      He's hitting .333 this spring.
      We could surprise some people this year, having two good defensive catchers who can both hit well over .300.
      He also hit a home run in the WBC, average that out to a full season and you are looking at 20+ HR easy!
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      Sample size...

      Deduno 0.69 ERA (13 innings, WBC)
      Devries 0.90
      Hendricks 6.00
      Worley 6.00
      Correia 6.46
      Pelfrey 7.45
      Gibson 9.00

      Pitch-to-Contact vs. Effectively Wild? Give me Wild Thing!!
    1. biscuit's Avatar
      biscuit -
      While the rotation suspects were flailing in Florida, Sam Deduno was pitching for real, in games that were meaningful for him and his teammates, against Major League ballplayers. Yes, he struggled with control, but we knew that about him. And yes, the fastball looked troublesome, but we knew that also. But how are the likes of Correia, Worley, Pelfry, etc. better than he at the moment? Holy crap! Give the team a chance. Throw him in there. I recall that he pitched a pretty good game at Texas last summer. Even if he can only go 5 innings, those five might be better than 5 of Correia.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      As I clicked on the article, I said to myself, "I wonder how long it will take to find a comment declaring that Sammy is doing well because he escaped the harmful effects of Andy and Gardy."

      Bingo. Second comment.
    1. spideyo's Avatar
      spideyo -
      Does he have any minor league options left? That probably might make a big difference. If he is out of options, they might opt to have him start in AAA, since he won't have to be exposed to waivers until he gets put on the 40.

      If he does have options left, I think it'd be much more likely that they find a way to get him on the 40 so he can at least start the season with the Twins. We won't have diamond for a couple weeks of the season at least, let the other two D's have a couple starts, see how things go
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Deduno's biggest hurdle is: Ryan. Placing Deduno in the rotation is spitting in Ryan's face. The premise for starting pitchers in The Twins Way is 6 innings in 100 pitches with 3 earned runs or less, and taking the ball every 5th game--"manage by pitch count". Deduno is known to "use too many pitches" in order to keep runs off of the scoreboard, thus he would either get pulled before 6 complete or would force Gardenhire to ignore pitch count, leave him in there, and only remove him for obvious fatigue or yielding too many runs (like they used to do in yesteryears). If Deduno is permitted to "break the rules" then perhaps others should also be afforded that concession. Were that "change" to be applied to most of the rotation--then the premise of "manage by pitchcount" is demonstrated to be bogus. One could then reasonably conclude that the Twins were operating under a flawed philosophy for many years.


      I just don't see that happening by the present administration.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by birdwatcher View Post
      As I clicked on the article, I said to myself, "I wonder how long it will take to find a comment declaring that Sammy is doing well because he escaped the harmful effects of Andy and Gardy."

      Bingo. Second comment.
      Great detective work, Sherlock. Of course, the fact that I said nothing of the sort doesn't stop Your Stalking-ness get from getting the point of my post entirely wrong.

      Before you find the need to break out the magnifying glass again, let me re-clarify my statement for you. I said nothing whatsover about Deduno "escaping the effects of Gardy and Ryan", what I did say was that the offseason emergence of Deduno has created a quandry for the braintrust in how, and in what role, if any, to bring Deduno back onto the American League roster. I hope that helps...
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by spideyo View Post
      Does he have any minor league options left? That probably might make a big difference. If he is out of options, they might opt to have him start in AAA, since he won't have to be exposed to waivers until he gets put on the 40.

      If he does have options left, I think it'd be much more likely that they find a way to get him on the 40 so he can at least start the season with the Twins. We won't have diamond for a couple weeks of the season at least, let the other two D's have a couple starts, see how things go
      I believe he is out of options.
      It looks like he spent time at both the MLB and MiLB in '10, '11, and '12, which I would assume to mean his option years have all been used.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Great detective work, Sherlock. Of course, the fact that I said nothing of the sort doesn't stop Your Stalking-ness get from getting the point of my post entirely wrong.

      Before you find the need to break out the magnifying glass again, let me re-clarify my statement for you. I said nothing about Deduno "escaping the effects of Gardy and Ryan", what I did say was that the offseason emergence of Deduno has created a quandry for the braintrust in how, and in what role to, if any, to bring Deduno back onto the American League roster. I hope that helps...
      I dont think he was talking about you.
      I'm pretty sure he was referring to the 2nd comment in this thread following the article (yours was the first), which he states in his post.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      I dont think he was talking about you.
      I'm pretty sure he was referring to the 2nd comment in this thread following the article (yours was the first), which he states in his post.
      Mebbe, but since my post was labeled as "#2", and given the birdwatcher's recent proclivity for seeking bigger game, it leads me to believe that it was me who he had in his sights, but perhaps you are right... I'm sure BW will soon be back for further Twins-party-line enlightenment.
    1. LimestoneBaggy's Avatar
      LimestoneBaggy -
      Small sample size? WBC-like exhibition competition? Other detractions?

      All probably valid comments, but people are excited because they want to hold on to something good this offseason for pitching. And as to Jim C's comments, I hope Joe would know to call the old number 2, he rolled over one .
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      Quote Originally Posted by Physics Guy View Post
      Have you seen Roenicke pitch or are you just going by his spring training stats? He threw 88 innings in Colorado last year with a 3.25 ERA. Statistically speaking, Roenicke is not Jeff Gray. I haven't actually seen him pitch yet, so maybe last year was a fluke. His K rate was down last year, but at least he had a history of higher numbers.
      Reliever ERA isn't terribly useful. By that measure, Alex Burnett really turned a corner last year -- but his K rate dropped dangerously low, and his walk rate only dropped slightly.

      I admit Roenicke does not look as useless as Jeff Gray, that was a slight exaggeration on my part, but he's 30 years old (like Gray was last year) and his K rate has been dropping steadily the past few seasons: from 9 K/9 when he hit the majors in 2009, dropping by about one each year, to 5.5 K/9 last year. All the while his walk rate has remained fairly high. As such, he's been waived by his teams each of the past two years. I haven't seen him pitch, but his spring training stats this year seem in line with these trends.

      His upside now is almost certainly something like Burnett last year (decent ERA with middling peripherals out of the pen), rather than Burton or Fien. Not only is that of little value to the Twins in 2013, it isn't likely to provide even marginal value beyond that (either in 2014+ performance or trade).

      If Deduno continues his hot hand in spring training, I'd much rather see him open with the big club, if just for entertainment value. I doubt the Twins would miss Roenicke.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      One thing I've been wondering about: How does Pitch F/X determine whether it's the curve or the change? I know Jim Kaat was confused, because they both have good downward movement and come in the low 80s. He was only able to say for sure after they did a freeze frame on the grip, showing the change-up grip. The change moves slightly into righties and the curve moves slightly away from righties. Otherwise, movement and speed are comparable. I'm thinking if he's fooling Jim Kaat, he's probably fooling Pitch FX as well.
    1. Parker Hageman's Avatar
      Parker Hageman -
      How does Pitch F/X determine whether it's the curve or the change? I know Jim Kaat was confused, because they both have good downward movement and come in the low 80s.
      Pitch FX has the ability to catalogue pitches based on spin and movement. While thrown at similar speeds, curves have more horizontal run than a change (which typically run the opposite direction).

      If you look at Deduno's game charts, you can see the distinct difference in the break of the curve (purple triangles) versus his change (red):

      Attachment 3559
      Now, there's definitely going to be some miscategorization, as you can see, there is some blending of his "cutter" (which is likely just his fastball since he has only one grip) and some blending of his change with his fastball.

      In terms of Kaat not recognizing his pitches, even the most advanced baseball people will have troubles deciphering pitches from time to time, especially with guys they are not following constantly.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by birdwatcher View Post
      As I clicked on the article, I said to myself, "I wonder how long it will take to find a comment declaring that Sammy is doing well because he escaped the harmful effects of Andy and Gardy."

      Bingo. Second comment.
      Funny, cause once I saw that post I wondered how long it would take for you to complain about it....
    1. Halsey Hall's Avatar
      Halsey Hall -
      With TK hitting groundballs to about a dozen pitchers this morning in the usual drills, Deduno created the biggest stir. He fielded, threw to 2nd, on to 1st, double play. He let out a yell and jumped with his arms out, just like the photo in the WBC. The players and all the fans got a huge laugh out of that! TK hit 2 more grounders and stopped. He said something like; Ok, still laughing, good one Sammy. You disrupted my rythum. It was funny!
    1. bl4ckduck's Avatar
      bl4ckduck -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Great article, possibly one of your best, Parker. But then, some of the best writing in the world happens after Midnight.

      Good analogy in your closing sentence. The highwire is always the best event at the circus, and since the present Twins pitching rotation qualifies for the side show, if not the freak parade, Deduno is bound to give the ringmasters, Ryan and Gardy, fits, if they are forced to fete him as their #1 Attraction.
      I made an account just to say this was a great read and really helpful to put the Deduno hype in perspective.
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