Tagged: Chicago White Sox

Injurious Prose, Redux

Unless your name is Kip Dynamite, no one takes pleasure in another man’s pain or laughs at the expense of their injury, comical as it might be.

Me, IRL. Kidding! My mother's basement isn't this nice

Me, IRL. Kidding! My mother’s basement isn’t this nice

However, writing and blogging about the misfortunes of those MLBers that are felled by their bodies is fair game, as long as it’s done in good taste. Which is why I have recently started writing submissions as a member of the team over at MLB Injury News. The fellas over there have been gracious enough to let me handle some of the writing duties, including some feature writing, as inspiration strikes. I am excited to join the team and write about baseball injuries and the anatomy and physiology involved – subject matter I have become intimate with over the last few years.

If you’re so inclined, check out the great work the guys have been doing over there; you can read my first feature article on Gavin Floyd‘s elbow injury (now looking to keep him out for the foreseeable future due to Tommy John surgery) right here.

Drew Storen’s Sleight of Hand

Everyone loves a good magic trick.

Quarter from behind your ears? Classic.

Bunny from the top hat? Bravo!

Getting a prom date, looking like me at the age of 17? OK, more miracle and dark wizardry than magic, perhaps benefited by an animal sacrifice, so let’s leave that one out.

Drew Storen‘s ‘here it is, now it isn’t’ whopper of a changeup to Chicago White Sox OF Dewayne Wise last night?

ENCORE!

Here’s a poorly made gif of the pitch in question – it’s hard to see, but goodness, it was a disgustingly good changeup:

11ynu

Yoink

Thanks to Nats Twitter greats @ambp77 and @NLBeastNats, here’s a still pic of the offending pitch, with a couple of circles to show where it started and where it ended, post Wise swing:

storen_still

The pitch was started at the hip, and not only did the speed difference fool Wise, even if he didn’t swing, it would’ve been a called strike three with the location. Unreal.

…and what’s more unreal is the pitch repertoire Storen would have if he is able to consistently throw his changeup, offsetting an already devastating high-90s fastball/slider repertoire. It’s rare to find a short inning reliever with 2 plus pitches, let alone 3, but with this new pitch, that’s exactly what the Nats would possibly have in Storen.

With the help of Fangraphs and PITCHf/x, let’s look at Storen’s repertoire:

Screen shot 2013-04-10 at 2.36.03 PM

This table shows how frequently and how hard he throws each of his pitches over his career; overall, we see a slight downtick in fastball velocity, with an increase in his using the changeup thus far in 2013.

Screen shot 2013-04-10 at 2.36.22 PM

This second table is data gathered from PITCHf/x information and provides us pitch linear weights, or the runs above average for a given pitch, per 100 pitches thrown. It’s a nice way to measure how successful a pitcher has been with a given pitch; the more positive the number, the more success and vice versa.

Look at the ‘wCH/C’ value this year – 11.90 already for his changeup; Storen’s fastball, even though slightly below his career average velocity-wise, is also looking like a great pitch for him thus far in 2013. As a reference, last year Yu Darvish had the highest changeup pitch value, at 5.71. Storen’s changeup is twice as good as the best one seen last year, per PITCHf/x.

Wow.

While there’s a lot of game left in this season and hopes must remain tempered, this new(ish) pitch for Drew bodes well for him enjoying a dominant comeback of sorts, after his Game 5 NLDS struggles.

The magic is there – as long as you believe.

Scott Radinsky: A Love Story

I feel that it is time to make myself vulnerable, and bare my baseball soul to all four of you kind, gentle, possibly lactose intolerant readers.

I come with a tale not only of adoration, but of respect, and emulation of a man who I have made one of my interwebs aliases, and whose visage you see anytime you wander through the ‘How Do I Baseball?’ parcel of URL land. That man will be unmasked in the following text, and I feel that this exposé is a long time coming for the current Cleveland Indians pitching coach, to not only celebrate his baseball career, and his accomplishments, but also to show him as the Renaissance Man that he truly is. Plus, everyone knows him as this guy’s brother in law so let’s try and get him into the limelight for once, yes?

Scott Radinsky, this is your life, my homage to you, and the final unveiling of my unrequited man crush.

Did you ever know that you’re my heeerooo

As previously mentioned, he is the pitching coach for the Indians, having started his coaching career with them soon after his playing career careened to a halt with Cleveland after 2 innings of work in 2001, after a MLB tour of duty spanning 11 years, primarily with the Chicago White Sox, and the Los Angeles Dodgers. During this time, he put up some very respectable numbers, especially with my occasionally beloved Dodgers. Being the all-purpose lefty out of the bullpen when I pitched, I went out of my way to mimic his style, down to his delivery, and how he wore his cap. He was what I wanted to be – the funky lefty coming out of the Dodgers bullpen, socks high, coming only out of the stretch (because windups are fo’ suckas), and whipping a fastball/slider combo to those who dare dig in the batter’s box on my watch. You can peruse the juicy bits of his career here, but briefly, a career 118 ERA+, with career years (as determined by WAR) in 1991, and 1998, and a 63% winning percentage to go with 52 saves made for quite a career showing for the lefty from the San Fernando Valley. Also a recipient of the Tony Conigliaro Award in 1995, Rad left the game as one of the more decorated Jewish pitchers the game has had, placing 2nd in career appearances, fourth in ERA, and 11th in career wins. LOOGY, setup man, closer – regardless of the title, Radinsky did the job asked of him, but did make his name as an 8th inning man, pitching about 40% of his innings in that game frame. Yet, he definitely rose to the occasion when in the closers role, saving 90% of games he came into the game with a save opportunity, holding hitters to a .102 BAA in the games he saved.

The Ballad of Rad goes beyond that for me. A cancer survivor, he spent the entire 1994 season undergoing treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. During this time away from the playing, he never left the game, spending his time away chemotherapy sessions as an assistant coach for his alma mater, Simi Valley High School. The holder of numerous pitching records for the Pioneers, Rad put the SVHS program on the map, being the first MLB’er to come out of the school, while also being a key component of the early development of Jeff Weaver into a sometimes MLB capable pitcher. On a personal level, he mentored two former college teammates of mine on that 1994 Simi Valley team, who both came away with nothing but positive things to say about Scott as both a player and a person, adding that it was his tutelage that allowed them make the final jump from good player to great, Division I ready players.

With his high school baseball career came another type of career, that of frontman for a number of punk groups over the span of a couple of decades. Getting his feet wet in the 1980’s Nardcore scene with Scared Straight, he then went on to front punk mainstays Ten Foot Pole, and Pulley.

‘I celebrate the man’s entire catalog’

It doesn’t stop there. Proprietor of one of the larger, and most well known skate parks in the country, Scott plunked down a significant amount of money to open Skatelab, and to see the creation of the Skateboard Hall of Fame, and Skateboard Museum within its walls.

It’s been quite a life thus far for Rad – baseball, skate parks, surviving cancer, and lead singer of three punk bands – it is one that I have personally striven to equal, or come close to it, in my own way. To be selfless, and at the same time indefatigable in your pursuits, and to conquer his personal battles, be it cancer, or Ubaldo Jimenez, shows the heart of a man who gets what life is about – fulfillment, and happiness through any storm weathered.

So the next time you see him saunter up to the mound during an Indians game to check on Chris Perez, and his propensity for projectile vomiting, give a round of applause to a man who is living the dream that we all never want to wake up from, closer vomit notwithstanding.

DavidWikipedia: David according to the Hebrew Bible, was the second king of the United Kingdom of Israel and, according to the New Testament Gospels of Matthew and Luke an ancestor of Jesus.