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  • Scott Diamond and More Morning Madness

    Welp. The Minnesota Twins weren't really supposed to be good or even decent this season, so a 2-7 homestand isn't crazy. It's more disappointing after what seemed like a such a positive start. Regardless, this franchise is clearly trending upward, even if this past week doesn't reflect that.

    The thing that struck me the most from the weekend was another shaky Scott Diamond start. I looked at Diamond's stats from the first half of 2012 (when Diamond was a borderline Ace), the second half of 2012 (when Diamond was good, but not great), and the start of this season (when Diamond looks like he might be regressing). What is different?

    (Back in February, I did a detailed breakdown of Diamond's 2012 and concluded that 2012 Scott Diamond was a good pitcher and if he can replicate what he did in 2012, he could have long-term success. You can read it here)

    Originally posted at Kevin Slowey was Framed!
    Here's a chart with Diamond's peripherals:

    2012 1st Half 13.9 3.7 79.3 59 20.3 20.7 14.8 0.91 0.285 3.57 2.61
    2012 2nd Half 11.6 4.9 68.6 48.9 21.5 29.6 9.5 0.86 0.298 4.23 4.31
    2013 9.8 5.5 70.6 47.4 19.7 32.8 13.3 1.36 0.318 4.62 4.99
    League Avg (2012) 19.8 8 72.5 45.1 20.9 34 11.3 1.02 0.293 4.01 4.01

    2013 Scott Diamond has looked a lot more like the 2012 second half Scott Diamond. He's getting fewer ground balls, and more of his fly balls are going over the fence. His walk rate is ticking upward and his strikeout rate is ticking downward. These numbers need to start reversing or Diamond will have a very difficult time replicating his 2012 success.

    I looked at some PitchF/x data as well. The samples are small, so there isn't much significance. However, some trends are evident. Looking at this chart, it appears that his curveball is as good as ever:

    CB O-Swing% O-Contact% SwStr%
    2012 48.2 52.4 15.2
    2013 46.7 48.6 15
    Average (2012) 29 63.8 9.1

    Batters still swing at a very high percentage of his curves outside the zone and they still make little contact. In addition, they swing through many of these pitches for strikes. That's good! However, this chart shows there are other concerns with the curve:

    CB LD% FB% HR/FB%
    2012 24.8 27.4 11.6
    2013 19.4 35.5 36.4

    Mainly, batters are hitting more curves in the air and many more over the fence. That's bad! It's still early, but not a great sign so far. Let's look at his change:

    CH Contact% Zone% SwStr%
    2012 79.6 38.2 9.9
    2013 90.6 46.4 4.4
    Average (2012) 79.7 44.9 9.1

    His change was a pretty average pitch last year, but as his third pitch, it worked. This season, players are making better contact and rarely missing that pitch. He's throwing it in the zone more, and it's getting hit more. Not a great combo. Finally, here's a very small chart regarding his fastball:

    FB GB%
    2012 56.5
    2013 48.3

    Basically, the decline of Diamond's ground ball rate can be almost fully correlated to the decreasing percentage of ground balls Diamond has coaxed with his fastball. If you add it all up, Diamond has basically been this pitcher in 2013: A league-average ground ball pitcher, with low strikeout totals and a good walk rate. In 2012, Diamond was a ground ball pitcher with low strikeout totals and an elite walk rate. These aren't major differences, but enough to turn a good pitcher into a shaky pitcher.

    All that being said, it is still very early and I won't be convinced that Diamond is a different pitcher until at least a full season passes.

    Analysis! Now on to the Madness:

    Random Paint Image

    I choose to remember this Scott Diamond, being ceremoniously carried off the field by his teammates after a series of spectacular starts.

    Random Plug/Former Twin Update - Randy Ruiz

    Ben Noble of Puckett's Pond posted a feature on a former Twin. I fondly remember Randy Ruiz and I hope you do too. Plus, Ben's a really good dude and a great writer. If you remember Randy Ruiz as fondly as I do, you should check it out.

    Random Photoshop

    Byron Buxton hit a walk-off grand slam on Wednesday night. It was a bomb. Buxton has basically become the "next big thing" and fans are starting to clamor for Buxton's debut sooner rather than later. I don't know anything about his realistic ETA, but I do know that Nikola Pekovic of the Minnesota Timberwolves was clearly impressed, as he updated his crazy tattoo after he heard about Buxton's feat:

    Good gravy, that tattoo is crazy.

    Answering a random question from the Twins' Facebook page:

    Q: Best movie ever...where is The Beast?

    For context, this question was posted in reference to a picture of "Squints" and "Ham" from The Sandlot.

    A: The Beast probably died 10-15 years ago. A dog of that size likely had a lifespan of about 8-10 years. The dog was likely at least 2 or 3 when the movie was filmed and the movie is now 20 years old. Thanks for asking though, it's a super uplifting topic to discuss.

    While on the topic of The Sandlot, how come only two of the actors were present for this weekend? What are any of those guys doing right now? Shouldn't the Twins have been able to get 5 or 6 of those guys, at minimum. I bet if you give them free airfare, 20 bucks and the chance to talk to people who think they're cool, they'd all be there. Typical cheap Twins, slashing payroll and stiffing Sandlot actors. Embarrassing.

    Random Top 12 List

    Here are the Twins' leaders in wRC+ for the month of May (as of 5/19/2013):

    1. Joe Mauer - 228
    2. Oswaldo Arcia - 132
    3. Trevor Plouffe - 123
    4. Justin Morneau - 123
    5. Jamey Carroll - 115
    6. Pedro Florimon - 112
    7. Ryan Doumit - 108
    8. Aaron Hicks - 89
    9. Chris Parmelee - 74
    10. Eduardo Escobar - 55
    11. Josh Willingham - 55
    12. Brian Dozier - 19

    Something I wrote

    I'm not going to link to them, but I have been recapping the past 25 Twins' drafts over the last week or so, and I'll have 1997 posted on Twins Daily tomorrow. I have been posting a new draft recap each day, on my blog - Kevin Slowey was Framed!

    This seems like a good time to thank Twins Daily for putting my 1993 recap on the front page. A lot of people read my recaps as a result; far more than I could generate on my own. I think it is downright amazing that John, Seth, Nick and Parker are so willing to share their hard-earned following with all of us aspiring writers. Thanks to everyone who operates this site, it is hands down my favorite site on the internet.

    Something stupid I wrote

    I'll link to this though. I'm not sure this even qualifies as writing, but it is stupid. What is Oswaldo Arcia doing with his arms? I have 13 theories, and a bonus Paint image to boot. Also, I did start a Facebook group for some reason. There are six likes, which is five more than I expected. If you are interested, you can find and like it here.


    The Twins may be down
    I refuse to frown or drown
    Haiku should not rhyme

    Have a nice week everyone!
    This article was originally published in blog: Monday Morning Madness started by Brad Swanson
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