My latest Hardball Times article examines the control of pitchers at various minor-league levels. It actually started out as a blog entry for Ducksnorts but then morphed into something bigger.
The inspiration for this piece was a pitcher in the Padres organization named Ivan Marcano. He’s a right-hander for the DSL Padres who has had an amazing pro debut:
IP H R ER HR BB K HBP WP 21.2 14 30 27 0 34 12 8 24
Marcano leads the DSL in wild pitches. (I haven’t checked, but given that more wild pitches occur in the DSL than in any other league, I’m guessing he leads all of organized baseball.) He uncorked seven of them in his last start.
To give some perspective, only four men in MLB history have thrown more wild pitches in a season than Marcano has this year, and they all needed at least 200 more innings to accomplish the feat:
Player Year IP WP Red Ames 1905 262.2 30 Larry Cheney 1914 311.1 26 Tony Cloninger 1966 257.2 27 Juan Guzman 1993 221.0 26
Mark Buehrle hasn’t unleashed as many in his entire big-league career:
IP WP Marcano 2010 21.2 24 Buehrle car. 2208.0 20
The closest thing MLB has to a guy this wild is Giants reliever Santiago Casilla (191.1 IP, 24 WP), and that’s not really close.
Anyway, I don’t mean to pick on Marcano (or his teammate, Rudi Andujar, who has 17 WP in 28 IP); he’s a kid trying to learn how to pitch, and there’s no shame in that. The larger point is that context is important and that one minor-league environment can be radically different from another. I’m hardly the first to make this observation, but I like to think that my latest effort adds something of value to the discussion. Enjoy…