• 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 -
      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 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...
      Pretty sure he was doggin' me this time. I don't take things personally, even if someone tries to make it that way. A comment is a comment, and it stands on its own, regardless whether it gets picked apart and tried to be made something it wasn't. When accessing articles through the forum....... the likes and share button appear, and the actual poster is #1 it seems. In that way, your first comment actually has a #2 attached to it. When accessing the article from the front page, none of that is there. It is inconsistent that way.
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      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.
      Yeah........ well, if you think that is even remotely in the same discussion as this one, more power to you. Your new snark should fit right in here....... with some.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      If you think the WBC games are mere exhibitions, you're not paying attention. Teams are full of all-star major leaguers. It was much higher and more intense competition than any spring training game.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by h2oface View Post
      Yeah........ well, if you think that is even remotely in the same discussion as this one, more power to you. Your new snark should fit right in here....... with some.
      Is sample size meaningless or not? You can't just apply it to players you like or don't like. It either matters or it doesnt.
      Deduno is a 29 year old with a track record, Butera is a 29 year old with a track record. Why does your statement, "improvement starts somewhere" apply to one but not the other?
      Could it just be that you like one player and dont like the other one?
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      I am issuing a moderator caution on this thread. Let's try to be a bit more respectful here.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      Is sample size meaningless or not? You can't just apply it to players you like or don't like. It either matters or it doesnt.
      Deduno is a 29 year old with a track record, Butera is a 29 year old with a track record. Why does your statement, "improvement starts somewhere" apply to one but not the other?
      Could it just be that you like one player and dont like the other one?
      Sample size and reliability of statistics relates to the data. The sample is the data without the context of watching the performance.

      Hopefully the Twins employ coaches and scouts that can learn and assess a great deal from watching players practice and perform in a handful of games.

      It can not be the data that informs the Twins whether a player has improved. Whether or not Deduno or Butera have improved rests in the assessment if the Twins management observing the approach and looking for specific areas of growth. Improvement can not be measured by data. Spring data should never be cited in the support of an improvement shown by a player. The sample is to small.
    1. gil4's Avatar
      gil4 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      Is sample size meaningless or not? You can't just apply it to players you like or don't like. It either matters or it doesnt.
      Deduno is a 29 year old with a track record, Butera is a 29 year old with a track record. Why does your statement, "improvement starts somewhere" apply to one but not the other?
      Could it just be that you like one player and dont like the other one?
      Pitchers are more likely to take a big leap forward that isn't predicted by the numbers. A new grip on a pitch, learning to avoid throwing a certain pitch, controlling the stuff that's there, or finally feeling healthy after dealing with injuries can all show up as unexpected leaps forward.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Batters can change grips too--AJ attributed his HR increase to a change in his grip and in his swing. Deduno may "improve" by a relaxation of the rigidity of Twins philosophy of "manage by pitchcount" and its concommittant bashing of pitchers who "walk too many" or "throw too many pitches", and simply focus on runs allowed.
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