This is part II of Steve’s look at our AFL pitchers.
Some time ago I promised a pitch f/x write-up on Scott Gorgen. The bonus here is that he should still be in the organization at the end of the week (for those that missed it, shortly after my Parisi write-up, he was snagged by the Cubs in the Rule V draft).
We’ll start again with the summary table. See this post for points of comparison.
A couple things stand out from that table
• The fastball, like Parisi before him, is a few notches below average, and unlike Parisi he never really gets it above 91-92. Also unlike Parisi it didn’t appear to be a ground ball generator (more on this later)
• The breaking ball looks like a “show me” pitch, both in utilization (not frequent) and in results (low whiff)
• And the most glaring number in the table, the whiff rate on the changeup is outstanding. We’ll dig deeper into that shortly
First we’ll take a look at the fastball. As the bullet point says, it’s a bit below average from a velocity perspective. Also of note is how infrequently he is using the pitch (~54% of the time when you combine the FF and FT). For comparison, PJ Walters (not noted for his vaunted fastball) used his fastball 60% of the time in his cup of coffee this past season.
As mentioned in the bullet points, his fastball (all of his pitches actually) doesn’t appear to generate ground balls. The following table summarizes his batted ball profile from the AFL season
These results are in line with his career minor league numbers.
Moving on to the most noteworthy thing about Gorgen, his change-up. Az made note of it after seeing him pitch, and the numbers seem to back up his assertion that it could be a plus pitch. While clearly a 64% whiff rate is unsustainable, the idea that it can be a swing and miss pitch probably has merit. So what makes his change-up successful? Or more exactly, what distinguishes his whiffs from the ones where the hitters make contact? For those questions I have a two-part answer (both parts are fairly obvious), movement and location.
Given Gorgen’s repertoire and usage data I’d lean towards pegging him as a future middle reliever. There aren’t many MLB starters that can rely solely on a below average fastball and a plus change-up. That isn’t to say the he can’t improve his breaking ball some to the point where it could serve as a decent complimentary 3rd pitch, at which point I’d be more inclined to see him as a starter. And finally, even if he doesn’t improve his breaking ball, he could still have value as a middle reliever that could get out both LHB and RHB.
Next up on the agenda are the reliever’s the Cards sent to the AFL. Stay tuned.