Pitch tracking his start on 4/19, below you’ll find the breakdown of Clayton Mortensen. It was a cold night, which likely led to more fastballs than usual. You’ll also note that I didn’t break out the sinkers against the four-seam fastball. It’s laziness on my part but I’d peg it around 80% sinkers and 20% pure fastballs.
Notation: FB – fastball, SL – slider, CH – changeup, B – ball, CS – called strike, SS – swinging strike
- Raynor: 1-FB(B), 2-FB(B), 3-FB(B), 4-FB(B)
- De Aza: 1-FB(drag bunt for hit)
- Coghlan: 1-CH(CS), 2-FB(foul), 3-FB(B), 4-FB(double play)
- Sanchez: 1-CH(foul), 2-FB(B), 3-SL(CS), 4-FB(B), 5-FB(flyout)
- Ryan: 1-CH(B), 2-FB(CS), 3-FB(B), 4-FB(foul), 5-FB(foul), 6-CH(CS)
- Gonzalez: 1-FB(B), 2-FB(CS), 3-CH(CS), 4-SL(B), 5-FB(B), 6-SL(foul), 7-FB(foul), 8-FB(lineout)
- Purdom: 1-FB(CS), 2-FB(reaches on a ball that should have been caught)
- Matranga: 1-CH(B), 2-FB(B), 3-FB(B), 4-FB(CS), 5-FB(flyout)
- Collazo: 1-not pictured, 2-CH(B), 3-FB(flyout)
- Raynor: 1-FB(B), 2-FB(foul), 3-FB(B), 4-FB(foul), 5-SL(CS)
- De Aza: 1-FB(B), 2-FB(SS), 3-CH(SS), 4-FB(B), 5-FB(B), 6-FB(flyout)
- Coghlan: 1-FB(B), 2-CH(SS), 3-FB(groundout)
- Sanchez: 1-FB(foul), 2-FB(foul), 3-SL(hit)
- Ryan: 1-FB(B), 2-FB(hit)
- Gonzalez: 1-FB(CS), 2-FB(B), 3-FB(B), 4-FB(B), 5-FB(B)
- Purdom: 1-FB(B), 2-FB(B), 3-FB(B), 4-FB(B)
- Matranga: 1-SL(CS), 2-FB(CS), 3-FB(B), 4-SL(foul), 5-FB(B), 6-CH(SS)
- Collazo: 1-FB(B), 2-FB(CS), 3-FB(foul), 4-FB(flyout)
- Raynor: 1-not pictured, 2-SL(B), 3-CH(foul), 4-FB(foul), 5-SL(foul), 6-FB(SS)
- De Aza: 1-FB(CS), 2-FB(B), 3-FB(foul), 4-FB(B), 5-FB(foul), 6-SL(flyout)
- Coghlan: 1-FB(groundout)
Fastball – 50/50
Sinker – 60/65
Slider – 45/50
Changeup – 55/55
Command – 45/55
Clayton Mortensen is tall and thin. Very thin for his height and it probably doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in his ability to handle 200 innings a year. I don’t have concerns about his frame necessarily but he’s more in the lanky Adam Wainwright build than the David Wells build.
He throws two distinct fastballs: a straight fastball up or outside the zone and a sinking fastball down in the zone. The four seam fastball is fine. It’s not a blazing pitch but it will sit 89-91 in the majors and be a usable pitch if he doesn’t groove it. The sinker is a very good pitch. He generates a nice downward plane on the pitch and absolutely hammers the bottom of the zone. It’s not a surprise why he generated so many groundballs at previous stops; batters just roll over the pitch as it drops out of the zone.
The slider looked pretty weak throughout the game. It was cold and Mortensen was constantly blowing on his hand so I’m guessing that I probably saw the pitch at it’s worse. It didn’t have good break and there was a tendency to hang it in the middle of the zone.
I was really surprised by the quality of his changeup. It’s a very good pitch. It’s a straight change that tumbles down and slightly away from lefties (in on righties). Mortensen threw it to a surprising number of right handers too but it was quite effective. The 3rd pitch to De Aza in the 3rd just fell underneath his bat and the 6th pitch to Matranga in the 4th was absolutely sick. It’s an above average pitch that should be his first secondary offering of choice.
The weather obviously played a role in Mortensen’s command. He was struggling to get a feel for his slider the whole game. If the umpire had a larger zone (not that he was actually squeezing Mortensen), there would have been A LOT of punch outs. A sizable number of the FB(B) offerings were just below the knees for borderline pitches. While he definitely was better than what I saw, I’m not sure this is a pitcher who is going to have more than average command. He missed badly with pitches on occasion too with Anderson stabbing a foot outside the zone to catch the ball.
Good changeup to go with an impressive sinker. Will generate groundouts but likely won’t be a high strikeout pitcher. Profiles as a solid mid-rotation pitcher that could flash impressive moments when everything is clicking.
I went into this thinking I was going to see a back of the rotation pitcher and I saw someone who looks like more than that. He doesn’t have the secondary pitches of Wainwright but it’s a very similar frame. He’ll need a better slider than what I saw to keep right-handers off him. The changeup should make him effective against lefites while still being somewhat useful agaisnt righthanders. This looks like a solid recent draftee who has been slightly refined by his time in the system. There’s still some room for improvement but it won’t be long before he’ll be ready to join the big leagues. His stuff may not be the best in the system but he might be the best bet (outside of Jaime Garcia) to reach his ceiling and be more than a backend starter.