Well, people. I originally meant this to be a full length post and then I meant it to be an open thread but I settled on it being somewhere in the middle. This may be a shorter post than what you’re used to me writing but it will be longer than the opening thread because I have a few observations from the first few Spring Training games.
So, with that being said, let’s dive into two things that I noticed from St. Louis’ first 3 Spring Training games. Louis Cardinals. As an aside, feel free to tell me I’m dumb for looking at things this early. But, in my defense, what is Spring Training for if not to exaggerate things that may not be true?
If you follow me on Twitter you can know what my observations will be before I write about them below, but, regardless, let’s continue with the first interesting information.
Dakota Hudson’s volume is up today.
Sinker – 2162 ➡️ 2299
Four-Seam – 2058 ➡️ 2232
Slider – 2369 ➡️ 2604
It’s his first release of the summer but it’s good to see.
— Blake Newberry (@bt_newberry) February 26, 2023
This summer, Dakota Hudson was one of the pitchers they sing the praises of new football coach Dusty Blake. For the past few seasons, I haven’t really been interested in Dakota Hudson because his physicality is poor and he can struggle with the ball, but my interest has been piqued after his spring training outing.
When a new player sings the praises of a new football coach and then goes out and improves his endurance by 100-200 rpm in every field, it’s hard not to be impressed.
Now, in an attempt to downplay this, let’s say he only threw 22 pitches and the only pitch that actually had different movement data was his righty, which had a 6-inch drop over the 2022 average. That was the pitch that got the most more torque (+235 rpms from 2022) but also throws it about 3 mph slower than it did on average in 2022. In addition, if it will have movement with the pitch, I would prefer it to come. stay horizontal instead of vertical to give it tunneling power while its other fields are reduced but none of them really move laterally.
Regardless, Hudson is a pitcher on the fringes of the roster and a better pitch (if he can maintain it) gives him the best chance to be the best pitcher, and, thus, make the Opening Day roster.
It may not be everything but it’s definitely something to watch and it’s a good sign if he manages to improve his rating.
Andre Pallante’s fastball hit 95.2 mph last year.
Today, he did not throw a single hit under 96.
— Blake Newberry (@bt_newberry) February 27, 2023
Hudson wasn’t the only player to make a splash in his first appearance as Andre Pallante came out to save all 9 fastballs and hit over 96 mph in his first appearance.
Again, this may be nothing, and we still need to see Pallante continue to prove that his new heat is real, but the improved speed can give a big boost to his football because it only creates value 12.2% in 2022.
Also, I’ve written several times in the last few months that I still believe in Andre Pallante as a starter and the jump can really help him in his quest for a 2024 rotation spot.
The last thing I want to add is that we often focus on the football when we see the speed of someone taking a jump but often it is the fake pitches that can be very beneficial when the strong and sharp pitches are trying causing more whiffs.
So, not only will I be watching Pallante’s football, but I’ll also be interested to see if he can generate more spin and misses with his ball and swing.
Anthony Misewicz is a man on the moon
Okay, so that’s the layout. And really, this whole story is a stretch considering the small sample size, so that’s really saying something. Regardless, I want to show it in a different way – Anthony Misiewicz cutter got more clearance than usual in the first spring release.
He only threw 5 cutters, but each one broke between 2 and 7 inches, giving him an average of just 4 inches of clearance a year after sitting at even 0. That may have only been one game (and 5 pitches) but he feel like it can really be a change in the shape of the pitch.
And I really hope it is, because, if you’ve read my article on the Cardinals’ left-handed bullpen options, you’ll know that I think Misiewicz’s cutter could be a real weapon if he gets more strikeouts. Eno Sarris’s updated Stuff + product gave the cutter Misiewicz a grade of 115.4 + last year and that could be even higher this year if he proves that he can maintain his speed while increasing clearance.
Starting Cabrera threw 7 pitches in 2022, his first time throwing a pitch.
In one inning of work today, he threw 6 sliders.
It could be something he’s working on or it could be a sign of an arsenal adjustment, but either way it’s something to watch.
— Blake Newberry (@bt_newberry) February 25, 2023
Has the cinema been used more on the way to Start Cabrera? It’s hard to say but he threw a lot of pitches in his first outing. Last year was Cabrera’s first time using a slider in a game at the major league level and it sat at 87.4 mph while being below average in both directions.
Who’s to say what Cabrera’s future holds after a difficult 2022 and who’s to say what the future holds for the seller but perhaps this is a potential arsenal adjustment to keep in mind as Cabrera looks to return in 2023 .
If you read the name above and say that you are not alone. Leahy is coming off a 2022 season in which he posted a 5.29 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A and posted a 10.67 ERA in the Arizona Fall League. And after posting an 8.20 ERA in Double-A in 2021.
And, now, you may be wondering why Leahy was sent to the AFL after such a difficult year and I’ll admit I have that question too. But then I saw him jump and all my questions were answered.
He produced 4 whiffs on 5 swings and struck out the side in his one inning of work. And while that’s impressive, his Statcast reading is even more impressive.
It is important to note how much Leahy developed on these grounds. I’m not sure what he ext. It was last season, but he adds about 2 MPH in predicted velo on top of his 1.6 increase in raw velo from last season on FF. pic.twitter.com/BQkUv8s4Qr
— Jacob (@CardinalsReek) February 27, 2023
You should open the full tweet to see all the details but I will summarize it for you here. Leahy’s fastball averaged 96.1 mph but the velocity is considered 98 because he had 7.1 feet of extension which would put him in the top 5% of all MLB pitchers.
Leahy definitely has the potential to miss bats, and he can put everything together in a complete bullpen which is what I think he will get in the minors this year.
It’s definitely on my search radar after watching it pop up, and, if you’re the kind of person who pays attention to what’s needed, it should be on your radar too.
Brendan Donovan only had 3 balls hit over 105 mph last year.
His first hit of Spring Training?
— Blake Newberry (@bt_newberry) February 25, 2023
Swelling? See Grown up during the holidays? See Strength? Maybe. Last year, Donovan only hit 5 home runs and so far this spring he has already hit 2. It’s still early but he already has more power and if he can increase to a near 13% walk rate, he will can be even. more dangerous hitter than he already was.
It’s hard to decide this early, but this is definitely one development worth watching, and it might be and Stay tuned for this summer.
I’ll keep this short but Nolan Gorman was great defensively at second base and turned in a couple of good plays, including this one:
He was one of the worst outfielders on the team last year but he’s also playing a new position, so we really hope he can improve at second base this season.
That’s all I have for today but I’m sure I’ll have more discussion once the Cardinals play more than 3 games and I can follow up on those previews. Feel free to discuss these observations or anything else I may have missed from the Cardinals first game of Spring Training.
As always, thanks for reading, VEB. Enjoy your Tuesday.
#Summer #Training #Notes