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Zimmermann is one of the best pitchers in baseball. Can he keep it going?"WhiteFanpo
15-05-2019, 08:15 AM
Post: #1
Zimmermann is one of the best pitchers in baseball. Can he keep it going?"WhiteFanpo
Through two starts Carlton Fisk Jersey ,s Fanshots Sections Detroit Tigers AnalysisDetroit Tigers Prospect NotebookDetroit Tigers Game ThreadsDetroit Tigers NewsDetroit Tigers PodcastsDetroit Tigers PreviewsTigers vs. Indians Preview: How long will this Jordan Zimmermann stick around?New,1commentThrough two starts, Zimmermann is one of the best pitchers in baseball. Can he keep it going?EDTShareTweetShareShareTigers vs. Indians Preview: How long will this Jordan Zimmermann stick around?Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY SportsWe have seen this from Jordan Zimmermann before. The 32-year-old righthander didn’t allow a run in his first three starts in a Tigers uniform back in 2016, and took a 1.50 ERA into mid-May. He was 8-2 with a 2.58 ERA in early June that year. But, as we all know, things fell apart after that. Zimmermann only made nine appearances after that and finished the season with a 4.87 ERA.We saw it again in 2018, albeit in a smaller sample. Zimmermann struck out 11 in a dominant performance in early July, capping off a three-start stretch as impressive as any he has had since he arrived in Detroit. But even with strikeout and walk rates that rival anything else he has done in his career, he still allowed a 4.52 ERA in 25 starts.Zimmermann’s numbers through two starts in 2019 are unsustainable, but this season feels different. If nothing else, we are seeing a very different Zimmermann than in previous years.The easy answer here is that Zimmermann is utilizing a more unpredictable three-pitch mix than before. He is throwing his low-90s fastball at a career low rate (37.2 percent), with career-high slider (38.4 percent) and curveball (23.2 percent) rates. He has all but abandoned the changeup, by far his worst offering on a per-pitch basis according to FanGraphs’ pitch values.There don’t seem to be any major changes to Zimmermann’s repertoire beyond that. He hasn’t fundamentally changed any of his pitches, a la Matthew Boyd’s revamped slider, and his fastball velocity is still on the decline (as expected for his age). But assuming he stays healthy and continues to hit his spots, hitters could have a much tougher time squaring him up than they have in his three previous seasons in a Tigers uniform.Cleveland Indians (6-3) at Detroit Tigers (7-3)Time/Place: 1:10 p.m., Comerica ParkSB Nation site: Let’s Go TribeMedia: Fox Sports Detroit Jose Abreu Jersey , MLB.TV, Tigers Radio NetworkPitching Matchup: RHP Corey Kluber (0-2, 5.23 ERA) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (0-0, 0.66 ERA)Game 11 Pitching MatchupPitcherIPK%BB%FIPfWARPitcherIPK%BB%FIPfWARThroughout the offseason, the main question surrounding Corey Kluber was whether he would be wearing a Cleveland uniform at the start of the season. The Indians listened in on offers for their ace, but ultimately did not receive any to their liking. The thought was that by trading Kluber for talented prospects — you know, instead of just signing good free agents — the Indians could extend their competitive window for a few more years.That Cleveland didn’t strike a deal over the winter opens up a new box of questions — why wasn’t Kluber dealt? Were teams spooked by his slight regression from 2017, his declining fastball velocity, or relative lack of bite on his slider? Is Kluber, nearing age 33 (his birthday is on Wednesday), starting to decline? Some may look at his early struggles in 2019 and say yes, but, like, c’mon now. Kluber is projected for another 5.3 fWAR by ZiPS this year, and a 3.29 ERA in 2021, his age-35 season and the final one on his current contract.If we are to take anything from Kluber’s first two starts, it’s that he is reintroducing a fourth pitch. He has thrown his changeup 13.6 percent of the time so far this season Melky Cabrera Jersey , his highest rate since 2012. One of them got a lot of the blame for Kluber’s Opening Day loss, but that Marwin Gonzalez double is the only hit he has allowed on the change so far this year. The changeup seems to be a focus for Kluber in 2019, presumably as a counter to allowing 16 home runs to left-handed hitters last season (he hasn’t thrown one to a righty yet). It could also be a way to help him adapt to age-related velocity decline, giving him another weapon on days where the heater isn’t working.Key matchup: April Kluber vs. Klubot engagedRegardless of how Kluber’s ERA ended up at 5.23 following his two starts — he was very good on Opening Day before getting knocked around last time out, if we’re keeping score — this continues a longstanding trend of Kluber taking a little while to get going at the start of the year. He posted a 2.18 ERA last March and April, but gave up ERAs in the 4s in each of the previous four Aprils (including both of his Cy Young seasons).This is where the smart analysis ends, though. Does Kluber continue to struggle (and in turn, can the Tigers take advantage)? Or does he find his footing, return to the dominant force we are all too familiar with, and deliver his 12th career win against Detroit?PredictionThe Tigers take the lead in the middle innings against Kluber and hold on for the win. Chase Anderson has pitched like an ace in the past and has a sensible contract, but does he have a place in the Brewers’ future?"The Winter Meetings start this week, and if last year is any indication, we’ll likely see the Brewers’ name come up in multiple rumors as David Stearns does his due diligence on any potential upgrades.If we’re expecting the Brewers to end up with a payroll in the $110-120 million range, they’ll have $15 to $20 million to work with. That likely rules them out from any of the big name free agents, and would seem to limit them to just a couple mid-level upgrades. That’s why if anything, trades may be more likely this winter -- especially if it involves moving some of the team’s guaranteed contracts on the books that may not have a clear role heading into the 2019 season.That brings us to Chase Anderson.One of the Brewers’ breakout stars in the rotation in 2017, Anderson signed a multi-year contract last winter guaranteeing him $11.75 million between 2018 and 2019 (with him being due $6 million in 2019) Jeff Keppinger Jersey , and team options for $8.5 million in 2020 and $9.5 million in 2021.It’s a deal that’d be a steal if he pitched like the front-of-the-rotation guy he was in 2017. While things didn’t work out that way for Anderson and the Brewers in 2018, he was still a league-average pitcher despite the home run problems that pushed his ERA to 3.93 this past year. Going forward, it still looks like a reasonable contract.That could make Anderson an interesting trade chip this winter, especially with his spot in the rotation no longer looking like a sure thing after he was bumped from his last couple starts in September and didn’t make the cut on the team’s highly-specialized postseason roster. While he may no longer be a favorite for a starting role in Milwaukee, he could be an option for a team looking for a solid starter on a reasonable contract.Anderson’s phenomenal 2017 season was powered by a spike in his velocity, with his fastball averaging 93.1 mph — a full 2 mph higher than his first season with the Brewers. That helped him pitch up in the zone more effectively and led to career-high strikeout numbers, with a 23.4% K% and averaging 8.47 strikeouts per 9 innings.For whatever reason, he was never quite able to replicate that extra zip on his fastball in 2018. His season got off to a tough start, suffering from a stomach bug that almost cost him his start on Opening Day and the infamous faceplant that caused him to momentarily black out (although he passed a concussion test between innings). Those factors would help explain away the early-season dip in velocity, but it never returned to 2017 levels, even as Anderson tried to pitch the same way he did the year before.He was eventually able to get his average fastball up to 92.4 mph in 2018, but without that extra mile-per-hour, the fastballs up in the zone that were drawing swings and misses in 2017 were instead getting hit, and hit hard. Anderson ended up giving up 30 home runs in 30 starts, but his ERA still remained respectable for much of the year because those often ended up being solo home runs -- and the sometimes the only extra-base hits and runs he was allowing.With the way the game is changing with more hitters swinging for the fences, giving up 30 home runs in a season may no longer be quite the mark of shame it used to be — similar to a batter striking out 200 times in a season. Anderson is still by and large a solid starting pitcher on a decent contract that plenty of teams could find useful in the middle of their rotation. Pitchers of his caliber would still likely command $8-10 million on the open market, and he’s still only 31 in 2019.Even the Brewers likely wouldn’t mind having him around , but if they need to get creative with their payroll to improve the team in other areas this winter, trying to move his $6 million might make sense if he no longer fits into the team’s long-term plans.With all of that in mind, it wouldn’t be too surprising if Anderson was actually included as part of a trade for one of the aces the Brewers are rumored to have checked in on. The Mets may be trying to trade Noah Syndergaard, but their trade for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz seems to indicate they’re also trying to compete. Cleveland may be trying to trade Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer, but is still likely to be the favorites in the AL Central even if they do. Either team could still use a pitcher like Anderson to help fill the hole they’d be creating in the rotation while still trying to contend.If he isn’t used as part of a larger package for an ace, Anderson could still provide some trade value in a different type of deal, possibly helping rebuild the depleted Brewers farm system by bringing back a solid prospect or two. While it’s unlikely he’d bring back an impact prospect, the Milwaukee system is in desperate need of rebuilding some of its depth after trading much of it away at the deadline for Jonathan Schoop, Mike Moustakas and Joakim Soria.The Brewers front office reportedly met with Anderson shortly after the season ended and smoothed over any hard feelings there may have been over him being dropped from the rotation in the season’s final weeks and not being put on the postseason roster after the injury to Gio Gonzalez, but with arms like Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff looking ready to hold down spots in the rotation, it’s debatable as to whether Anderson still is one of the 5 or 6 best options the Brewers have for the starting rotation. If that’s the case, moving on might be the best for everyone involved.Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs
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