I wrote about Jason Motte at VEB on Sunday. I knew that there’s a history of me scouting him and watching him so I spent some time digging up old posts about Jason Motte when he was still in the minors. I wrote a lot about him in 2008 and it turns out, some things never change.
Let’s work backwards in time beginning with yesterday 04/17/11:
It’s a common refrain: he’s working on a second pitch. Sometimes that’s a slider, sometimes a cutter . . . heck, he may be working on a gyroball for all I know. And probably for all he knows too.
Motte’s fastball is, well, fast regularly clocking in at 95+mph. It doesn’t have a lot of movement on it and tends to be straight. What has made it effective in the past is the superb command he had of the pitch.
We’ll jump back now to just before he was graduating from the minors in 08/21/08:
Need a fastball in the high 90s? Motte’s your man. Need a breaking ball with sharp bite? Go look somewhere else. The slider is still sloppy with slow break. [...] I don’t think it’s getting any better and he’s probably ready to contribute at the major league level even with a below average slider. There’s not much left to find out in the minors — his fastball was sitting 97-98 mph. I don’t think he’ll ever be a closer but he can have a nice run as a setup guy out of the pen given the velocity.
A little before that on 07/21/08:
I will say that I wasn’t picking up on the [slider] as much before hand, which is an improvement. I’m just not sure it’s really a viable breaking pitch in the majors. It still looks well below average to me.
Motte’s fastball is blazing fast but relatively straight. When he locates it down in the zone, it’s a plus-plus pitch. He has enough pure velocity to blow it by most minor leaguers but that will be harder to do at the next level. When he does miss it’s typically shoulder high and gets fouled out of play. He may have left 2-3 of the 30 above fastballs over the plate.
The more I see Motte, the more I think he really needs to develop some kind of secondary pitch. His fastball doesn’t feature a lot of movement although he can locate it relatively well.
Three years ago, I was bemoaning the lack of a secondary pitch. Motte’s command with the fastball improved at the higher levels of the minors to the point that he was more effective than I would have predicted with just one pitch. The idea that Jason Motte is going to develop a second effective pitch should be laid to rest though. The complaints about him from 2008 still apply almost word for word in 2011.
Jason Motte is a good reliever and he was a good relief prospect. He’s just not a reliever with more than one average or better pitch.