David Bednar has been a discover for the Pirates. Picked up from the Padres over the offseason as a part of the seven-player Joe Musgrove deal, Bednar has emerged as one of many most-reliable arms within the Pittsburgh pen. In 17 outings comprising 15-and-a-third innings, the 26-year-old right-hander has 19 strikeouts to go together with a 2.35 ERA and a 2.91 FIP.
Expectations weren’t practically that top. San Diego’s Thirty fifth-round choose within the 2016 draft, the previous Lafayette School Leopard got here into the present marketing campaign with a gnarly 6.75 ERA in 17-and-a-third big-league innings. Furthermore, whereas his velocity has at all times been intriguing — ditto his splitter — Bednar’s identify had by no means been noticed close to the highest of a prospect listing. By and huge, the 6-foot-1, 245-pound hurler got here to his new membership unheralded, unpolished, and in want of a contemporary begin.
I requested Ben Cherington if the choice to amass the Pittsburgh-born-and-bred Bednar was pushed extra by the group’s analytics division, or by its scouting division.
“It was each,” mentioned the Pirates GM. “From the scouting finish, I imagine Andrew Lorraine was one of many professional scouts who had seen him. Joe Douglas from our skilled acquisitions group is somebody who dug into him from an information perspective. Plus, he’s from right here, so we had some private background as nicely.”
Justin Meccage has gotten to know Bednar nicely. Because the membership’s bullpen coach, he’s up shut and private with the righty’s continued improvement regularly. Requested about him a Zoom name, Meccage famous not solely the split-finger and plus velocity — Bednar’s heater averages 97.3 mph — but in addition an improved curveball. Based on Meccage, Bednar made “just a little little bit of a grip adjustment” throughout spring coaching, giving him “a fairly good pitch within the making.”
Bednar credit a cleaned-up supply, and never for simply his curveball. He feels higher mechanics have helped all of his pitches, and so too has a return to fundamentals. Coming into spring coaching, the rejuvenated righty wished to “come out weapons blazing, solely centered on competing and filling up the zone.” Whereas he doesn’t eschew analytics, simplicity has really been his M.O.. “Truthfully, once you overcomplicate it’s when issues begin going 1,000,000 miles an hour on on the mound,” Bednar advised me. ”Easy as potential permits you to simply maintain it pitch-to-pitch.”
His pitches have turn into sharper. Due to the tweaks, Bednar is doing a greater job of staying direct to the plate, permitting his north-south assault plan to play up. His off-speed pitches down within the zone have been particularly efficient. The opposition is batting .143 in opposition to his curveball, and .211 (with a .211 slug) in opposition to his splitter. Requested which he considers his greatest secondary, he cited the latter. To his thoughts, it’s the pitch largely accountable for him attending to the massive leagues.
Considerably surprisingly, Bednar has but to be credited with a win or a save. He claims to not be involved — “Truthfully, each time the cellphone rings, I simply wish to get outs and get us again to the dugout” — and there’s actually no purpose that he needs to be. It’s seemingly solely a matter of time. Bednar has nearer stuff, and a invaluable attribute to go together with it:
“Mentally, this cat is spectacular,” mentioned Meccage. “This dude’s obtained ice in his veins.”
RANDOM HITTER-PITCHER MATCHUPS
A Q&A with Cole Irvin was featured here at FanGraphs this previous Friday, with my dialog with the Oakland A’s southpaw centering round his cerebral method to pitching. Left on the cutting-room ground had been tales he advised me about his grandfather, and about how a basketball coach’s booting him from a fitness center helped cement his love of baseball.
Roy Irvin was an All-American heart who helped lead the College of Southern California to a Ultimate 4 look in 1954. Initially at Fullerton Junior School, he’d hooked on with the Trojans after turning down the most-legendary coach in NCAA basketball historical past.
“He was recruited by John Wood earlier than he was John Wood,” Cole Irvin defined. “That’s to not say [Wooden] wasn’t good in his early days of teaching. However my grandfather turned down UCLA to go to USC. He turned an All-American and was the factors chief, and rebounds chief, in USC historical past for a number of years. He was additionally on the varsity’s solely Ultimate 4 group.”
The grandson has grown to be 6-foot-4, and as evidenced by his ascent to MLB, he has no scarcity of athleticism. However whereas he competed on the hardwood rising up in Anaheim, hoops have by no means been his real love. Baseball is in his blood, and it has been from early age.
“Basketball has been our household factor,” mentioned Irvin, whose father performed on the junior-college degree. “However once I was just a little child — most likely not even a yr outdated — my mother would have cleaning soap operas on and I’d be crying. It wasn’t till a Dodgers recreation got here on the TV that I ended crying. I fell asleep to Vin Scully’s voice. My mother figured that out and began recording baseball video games. Each time she wanted to do one thing round the home, there was baseball on.”
Irvin went on to play each sports activities, and it was throughout his sophomore yr of highschool that one in the end gained out over the opposite. The choice wasn’t totally his personal.
“Our head basketball coach, Tim Kelly, came visiting to me,” recalled Irvin. “He goes,‘The place do you see your self in 10 years?’ I mentioned, ‘Pitching within the large leagues.’ He goes, ‘The place do you see your self in 5 years?’ I mentioned, ‘Pitching within the School World Sequence.’ He goes, ‘All proper, your targets aren’t anyplace shut to creating you a greater basketball participant, so get out of my fitness center and go play baseball.’ So I did.
“He didn’t do it in a nasty approach,” added Irvin. “And it’s one thing I’ll always remember. Coach Kelly advised me that if I don’t see myself taking part in basketball, and if I’ve the expertise to do nicely in baseball, I ought to play baseball. That sort of set the course of my dedication to the sport. The truth that another person noticed how a lot I beloved baseball jogged my memory, ‘OK, I don’t must do basketball simply because my complete household’s carried out basketball. I can do baseball.’”
Irvin allowed one run over six-and-two-thirds innings yesterday in Oakland’s 5-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins. On the yr, he has a 3.02 ERA in eight begins.
Miguel Cabrera ranks third in Detroit Tigers franchise historical past with 351 house runs. Who ranks first?
The reply could be discovered beneath.
Corbin Carroll , the highest prospect within the Arizona Diamondbacks system, will reportedly miss the rest of the season with a shoulder harm. The 20-year-old outfielder had been 10 for 23 with a double, two triples, and two house runs for the high-A Hillsboro Hops.
Arnie Beyeler obtained his 1,000th managerial win — all within the minors — when the Double-A Erie SeaWolves beat the Akron Rubber Geese on Wednesday.
Hal Breeden, a primary baseman for the Chicago Cubs in 1971, and for the Montreal Expos from 1972-1975, died earlier this month at age 76. His most notable day within the majors was July 13, 1973 when he hit pinch-hit house runs in each ends of a doubleheader. Breeden later performed three seasons with NPB’s Hanshin Tigers.
SABR’s Larry Dierker Chapter in Houston will maintain a Zoom assembly on Monday, Could 17 at 7pm CDT with former big-league participant and supervisor Bill Virdon because the particular visitor. To RSVP for the digital occasion, contact Joseph Thompson.
Hiroya Miyagi is 4-0 with a 1.45 ERA for NPB’s Orix Buffaloes. The 19-year-old left-hander has allowed 23 hits and fanned 43 batters in 43-and-a-third innings.
Nick Martinez is 2-1 with a 2.00 ERA in three begins for the SoftBank Hawks. The 30-year-old former Texas Rangers right-hander spent the 2018, 2019, and 2020 seasons with the Nippon Ham Fighters.
Justin Smoak is 15 for 42 with three house runs since becoming a member of the Yomiuri Giants final month.
José Miguel Fernández is slashing .336/.396/.504 in 154 plate appearances with the KBO’s Doosan Bears. The 33-year-old former Los Angeles Angels infielder has batted .341 with an .897 OPS since taking his abilities to Korea in 2019.
Shin-Soo Choo is slashing .207/.365/.397 in 148 plate appearances with SSG Landers. Seven of his 24 hits have left the yard.
Tony Watson has been across the block. Two weeks shy of his thirty sixth birthday, the veteran reliever has made 639 appearances since breaking into the massive leagues in 2011. Initially with the Pirates, Watson has gone on to pitch for the Dodgers, the Giants, and now the Los Angeles Angels.
Previous to yesterday’s recreation, I requested the left-hander in regards to the position analytics have performed in his evolution as a pitcher.
“When you don’t adapt, you’re going to die,” replied Watson, who has allowed three runs in 12 innings to this point this season. “My [changeup] utilization over time has gone up; final yr in San Francisco I used to be by means of the roof with changeups [48.2%]. I’ve at all times tipped my hat on being a pitcher, on pitch-ability, with the ability to throw to each side of the plate. When you look again, early in my profession I used to be predominantly fastballs to each side of the plate. As you age, there’s just a little little bit of a curve the place issues occur and you may’t depend on the fastballs anymore. After which the swing planes began to vary as nicely.
“You may’t simply be feeding fastballs in there; that’s what everyone’s on the lookout for,” continued Watson, who advised the story behind his changeup in a July 2019 installment of the Studying and Growing a Pitch collection. “I take a look at analytics stuff, and lean on the fellows right here which might be serving to us out… However on the finish of the day, it’s about going on the market and trusting your stuff. I’m not attempting to reinvent the wheel; I’m simply attempting to concentrate on what I’m doing and never fall into any patterns.”
Requested when he began to delve into analytics, Watson mentioned it was most likely in 2017 when he obtained traded to the Dodgers. After becoming a member of the Giants the next yr, it was “a matter of evolving much more.”
Hunter Greene has fanned 15 batters whereas permitting 5 hits and one stroll over 10 innings for the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts. The 21-year-old right-hander is No. 3 on our Cincinnati Reds Top Prospects list.
Taylor Dollard has 18 strikeouts and no walks in 9 innings pitched for the low-A Modesto Nuts. A fifth-round choose by the Seattle Mariners final yr out of Cal Poly, the 22-year-old right-hander has surrendered seven hits and allowed one run.
A.J. Block has 16 strikeouts and two walks in eight scoreless innings for the low-A Columbia Fireflies. A non-drafted senior signal by the Kansas Metropolis Royals final yr out of Washington State, the 23-year-old left-hander has allowed only one hit.
The Los Angeles Angels acquired veteran reliever Hunter Strickland from the Tampa Bay Rays yesterday in trade for money concerns or a PTBNL. Requested if he was shocked that his membership was in a position to get that good off an arm at this level of the season, Joe Maddon answered in typical Joe Maddon vogue.
“No,” replied the ever-quotable Angels supervisor. “He got here from the Rays, who maintain printing them like counterfeit payments.”
LINKS YOU’LL LIKE
Writing at The Washington Publish, Micheline Maynard shared why she will’t wrap her head round baseball’s embrace of sports activities betting.
Longtime Twins coach Gene Glynn has circled again to his hoop roots and might be teaching highschool basketball in a small southern Minnesota city. Patrick Reusse wrote about it at The Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
RANDOM FACTS AND STATS
Ray Caldwell was within the New York Yankees beginning lineup 37 instances in 1918. He took the mound in 21 of them, whereas the opposite 16 video games had been cut up between CF (10), RF (5), and LF (1). On the season, Caldwell went 9-8 with a 3.06 ERA, and slashed .291/.352/.377.
Tim Jones threw 10 scoreless innings for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1977. It was the right-hander’s solely big-league motion, giving him a profession ERA of 0.00. Jones appeared in three video games and was credited with one win.
There have been three single-pitcher 10-inning no-hitters in MLB historical past: Hooks Wiltse for the New York Giants in 1908, Fred Toney for the Cincinnati Reds in 1917, and Jim Maloney for the Cincinnati Reds in 1965.
Johnny Mize led the Nationwide League with 16 triples in 1938. The St. Louis Cardinals first baseman didn’t try a stolen base that season.
Ralph Worrell went 25-10 for the Worldwide League’s Baltimore Orioles in 1918. A sufferer of the flu pandemic that killed hundreds of thousands worldwide, Worrell died in November of that very same yr at age 20.
On right now’s date in 1953, Tommy Byrne hit a pinch-hit grand slam within the eighth inning to offer the Chicago White Sox a 5-3 win over the New York Yankees. Byrne was batting for Vern Stephens, who hit 247 house runs and 3 times led the American League in RBIs. Byrne was a pitcher.
On right now’s date in 1983, the Minnesota Twins homered 4 instances whereas scoring six runs within the backside of the ninth inning in opposition to the Oakland A’s. It wasn’t sufficient, because the guests held on to win 7-6.
On right now’s date in 2009, Nick Hundley homered within the backside of the sixteenth inning to offer the San Diego Padres a 6-5 win over the Cincinnati Reds. The additional-inning victory was the second of 10 consecutive wins for the Padres, who completed the season 75-87.
Gamers born on right now’s date embrace Steven Register, who pitched in 10 video games for the Colorado Rockies in 2008, and in two video games for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009. The fitting-hander out of Auburn College had 67 saves within the minors, together with 37 for Double-A Tulsa in 2007, however didn’t register a call in MLB.