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Kyle Stowers 2021

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Stowers' progress this year gives me a Mountcastlian AAA MVP kind of hope for his 2022.   I think with his contact issues more high minors reps will be in order than for say Cowser or Norby eventually.

I like the Bellinger comp stylistically, a bet on loud power tools a team thinks they can curate the hit tool enough to make it really play. 

He was a prep like Mayo/Willems though, with ~100 MLB HR by the time he was as old as Stowers is today.

Could definitely imagine a Stowers that makes it becoming a too many RBI non-tender somewhere in Arb if that is still the same when his time comes.

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Excellent article on Stowers here, with quotes from him, Buck Britton and hitting coach Ryan Fuller.   I thought this part was interesting concerning the entire team’s approach:

“In a game where there is not many things you can control, the pitches you swing at is something you can,” Stowers said during a recent interview at Prince George’s Stadium. “We get graded on not what the umpire is calling, but what we are swinging at based on what the strike zone actually is. Some umpires may have a little tighter zone or bigger zone, but it doesn’t change the objective measure we go by. From there, it is trying to produce hard contact and trust that the more times you put good balls in play, all the stats will go as you like to see them.”

Added Britton: “We are taking the approach (of) we’re going to focus on swinging at pitches over the middle of the plate. Everybody chases. But instead of having the thought of, ‘I’m not going to strikeout,’ if a guy has that mindset, now you might not get the aggressive swing that he takes and you might be losing exit velocity and what his strengths are offensively. So we really want to hone in on hammering pitches over the middle and not put him in a mindset of ‘Hey, let’s not strikeout.’ “

That also means most O’s hitters on the farm are not necessarily looking to shorten up on their swing with two strikes and just be happy to put the ball in play.

“We have been preaching this entire season that we are going to be on time and get our A swing off, no matter what,” said Britton. “That 0-2 pitch might be the best pitch you see in the at-bat. The 2-2 pitch might be better than the two strikes you had seen before. We want to make sure that, when we get a pitch over the middle of the plate, we’re on time and getting our A swing off. Especially with a guy that has his ability and if he shrinks that zone and starts swinging at pitches over the middle of the plate more frequently and not chase, I mean, look out.”

https://www.masnsports.com/steve-melewski/2021/09/stowers-power-stanford-draftee-leads-os-farm-in-home-runs.html

 

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2 minutes ago, Frobby said:

Excellent article on Stowers here, with quotes from him, Buck Britton and hitting coach Ryan Fuller.   I thought this part was interesting concerning the entire team’s approach:

In a game where there is not many things you can control, the pitches you swing at is something you can,” Stowers said during a recent interview at Prince George’s Stadium. “We get graded on not what the umpire is calling, but what we are swinging at based on what the strike zone actually is. Some umpires may have a little tighter zone or bigger zone, but it doesn’t change the objective measure we go by. From there, it is trying to produce hard contact and trust that the more times you put good balls in play, all the stats will go as you like to see them.”

Added Britton: “We are taking the approach (of) we’re going to focus on swinging at pitches over the middle of the plate. Everybody chases. But instead of having the thought of, ‘I’m not going to strikeout,’ if a guy has that mindset, now you might not get the aggressive swing that he takes and you might be losing exit velocity and what his strengths are offensively. So we really want to hone in on hammering pitches over the middle and not put him in a mindset of ‘Hey, let’s not strikeout.’ “

That also means most O’s hitters on the farm are not necessarily looking to shorten up on their swing with two strikes and just be happy to put the ball in play.

“We have been preaching this entire season that we are going to be on time and get our A swing off, no matter what,” said Britton. “That 0-2 pitch might be the best pitch you see in the at-bat. The 2-2 pitch might be better than the two strikes you had seen before. We want to make sure that, when we get a pitch over the middle of the plate, we’re on time and getting our A swing off. Especially with a guy that has his ability and if he shrinks that zone and starts swinging at pitches over the middle of the plate more frequently and not chase, I mean, look out.”

https://www.masnsports.com/steve-melewski/2021/09/stowers-power-stanford-draftee-leads-os-farm-in-home-runs.html

 

This is very interesting.  The old school approach to hitting that I was taught and coached is completely out the window.  It's all exit velocity and power now.  It used to be "choke up on the bat, shorten the swing, and protect the plate" with two strikes.  This idea of having a smaller strike zone and timing a swing and swinging as hard as you can, regardless of count or situation is so different to me.  Yes, it leads to way more strikeouts, but it also leads to more extra base hits.  I imagine "hit and run" situations are nearly non-existent with this approach, too.  From the fan's standpoint, this makes for a more boring game.  Longer at bats, fewer balls put into play, more walks and strikeouts - I think it makes the game boring.  

Having said that, I'm excited to see what Stowers can do as he progresses through the system.

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1 minute ago, Yossarian said:

This is very interesting.  The old school approach to hitting that I was taught and coached is completely out the window.  It's all exit velocity and power now.  It used to be "choke up on the bat, shorten the swing, and protect the plate" with two strikes.  This idea of having a smaller strike zone and timing a swing and swinging as hard as you can, regardless of count or situation is so different to me.  Yes, it leads to way more strikeouts, but it also leads to more extra base hits.  I imagine "hit and run" situations are nearly non-existent with this approach, too.  From the fan's standpoint, this makes for a more boring game.  Longer at bats, fewer balls put into play, more walks and strikeouts - I think it makes the game boring.  

I agree with you.   It may be the best strategy for success, but it’s not as fun to watch.   That said, when I follow our MiL games this year, I’m really impressed with how our hitters generate long at bats and wear pitchers down.  

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It concerns me that this strategy might not work so well with good pitching.   However, maybe training the eye this way could encourage better plate discipline which could then be used for a better two strike approach against better pitching. 

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2 hours ago, baltfan said:

It concerns me that this strategy might not work so well with good pitching.   However, maybe training the eye this way could encourage better plate discipline which could then be used for a better two strike approach against better pitching. 

No strategy works against good pitching.  That's why they say "good pitching gets out good hitting".  If the pitcher makes his pitches and no mistakes, you're in trouble either way.

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3 hours ago, RZNJ said:

No strategy works against good pitching.  That's why they say "good pitching gets out good hitting".  If the pitcher makes his pitches and no mistakes, you're in trouble either way.

While this is true, it seems that the two strike approach is back to some degreee in the majors.  You see more choking up and widening out. The concept of using your A swing with two strikes seems to be fading at the major league level. I hope our guys are being prepared to similarly adjust at the big league level since control is too good to just wait for.one down the middle or swing from the heels with two strikes. 

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Not really sure what to make of Stowers.  I feel definitive that we need to see more of him before buying into his game.

The strikeouts are alarming, even in this day and age. But he is also walking a lot and his BA isn’t that bad, although not high enough to believe that it will translate well into the majors.
 

He is doing great in Bowie but Bowie is very much a hitters park this year.  Aberdeen is very much of a pitchers park and he did well there but he was also 23 years old in A ball, which is always old for that league and I think it’s still old this year even if the league itself is older than normal.  
 

Next year, he will be 24 and playing in AAA.  That should give us the best gauge on where he is as a player.  Im not a believer in him and if someone wants to value him highly in a trade, he would be one of the first players I would move.  
 

That being said, if he is here next year, he will begin the season very high on the list of guys to watch early in the season.  If he can go to Harbor Park and continue to mash, hit for a decent average and walk a lot, I think he starts to become a real prospect.  Maybe he is there now but personally I’m skeptical.  
 

We also have to wonder, for any hitter, if they have the advantage this year because of how pitchers didn’t get to throw in 2020, at least in games.  Is that even a thing?  If it is, does that balance out next year?  I think this is something we may need to keep in mind for a lot of hitters, across MLB.

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39 minutes ago, Sports Guy said:

We also have to wonder, for any hitter, if they have the advantage this year because of how pitchers didn’t get to throw in 2020, at least in games.  Is that even a thing?  If it is, does that balance out next year?  I think this is something we may need to keep in mind for a lot of hitters, across MLB.

There’s something to this.   Here’s a comparison of the league OPS in the various leagues our farm teams play in, 2019 to 2021.    Note that the leagues themselves have realigned so it’s not a perfect comparison. 

Low A .677/.719

Hi A .682/.739

AA .677/.735

AAA .787/.746

With the exception of AAA, which had an outlier year in 2019 after switching to the major league ball, hitting at the other three levels is up substantially.   I’d theorize there are two causes: (1) pitchers were rusty after not pitching last year, and (2) pitchers’ innings have been limited, so you have to allocate more innings to pitchers further down the quality spectrum.   
 

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12 minutes ago, Frobby said:

There’s something to this.   Here’s a comparison of the league OPS in the various leagues our farm teams play in, 2019 to 2021.    Note that the leagues themselves have realigned so it’s not a perfect comparison. 

Low A .677/.719

Hi A .682/.739

AA .677/.735

AAA .787/.746

With the exception of AAA, which had an outlier year in 2019 after switching to the major league ball, hitting at the other three levels is up substantially.   I’d theorize there are two causes: (1) pitchers were rusty after not pitching last year, and (2) pitchers’ innings have been limited, so you have to allocate more innings to pitchers further down the quality spectrum.   
 

Yea I think it’s a combo of a lot of things.  Either way, hitting being ahead of pitching this year isn’t surprising.  
 

The other side to that, of course, is that we have to give pitchers a break if they have an off year.  Just so many variables about 2021 that can skew things in a big way.  2022 tells us a lot more I think.

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2 minutes ago, owknows said:

From his performance on the field, I'd say he probably doesn't believe in you either.

This is such a well thought out and incredibly informative response.  This thread is better now that you have done this.

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