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Alex Wells 2021

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Allowed 2 runs in 2.2 innings yesterday, and got the win.

On the one hand, I could say that the runs he allowed were a bit unlucky.   With one out in the 5th, Alvarez hit a grounder to the SS position but the infield was shifted so it went for a hit.  After a walk to Correa, Kyle Tucker hit a fly to deep CF just shy of the warning track, but not only did Alvarez tag up and go to 3B, but Correa tagged from 1B  and went to 2B, and taking advantage of Mullins’ weak arm.   The next batter singled and both runners scored.  Could’ve been a different outcome if the IF hadn’t shifted on Alvarez and/or if Mullins had a better arm.   

By the same token, i wouldn’t say Wells was all that sharp.   He walked two while allowing four hits, and he only threw 26 of 48 pitches for strikes (54%).    For a guy with a reputation for plus command, he hasn’t shown it yet in his two big league appearances.  His fastball was up out of the strike zone very frequency and his breaking stuff was belt high a lot of the time, which is a recipe for trouble. I’m hoping Wells will get acclimated and start showing better command, which he absolutely will need to have considering his below average velocity.
 

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Didnt throw enough strikes and didn’t miss bats.  Not very encouraging but could be nerves too.  If he doesn’t have excellent command, he has no shot of being a ML Pitcher.

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34 minutes ago, Sports Guy said:

Didnt throw enough strikes and didn’t miss bats.  Not very encouraging but could be nerves too.  If he doesn’t have excellent command, he has no shot of being a ML Pitcher.

Well, in AAA this year he’s thrown 69% strikes, compared to 56% in his two major league appearances.   That and everything else I know about Wells’ past performance tells me that his command hadn’t been up to his normal standards in his two appearances.   I certainly agree with you that he must have his usual level of command to have any hope of succeeding in the majors.   

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I was watching on the MLB app, and I saw a whole lot of 88 mile an hour fastballs And a whole lot of balls out of the strike zone.

However, I saw at least six or seven pitches that according to the pitch tracker should’ve been called strikes(all on the outside edge and a few in the outside corner) but weren’t. I asked in the game thread if that was a framing problem. I don’t know how well Wynns frames, but we all know that Severino is among the worst two or three in all of baseball.

Wells is going to need to get those borderline calls. I don’t disagree that he needs his C&C to be better, but the Umpire definitely made his job harder.

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He's going to be a guy who depends on the defense, so that's a mixed bag right now - which should bet better in the next couple of years. It hurt him in his 1st inning last night - but he settled down and did a good job after that.  Obviously got to keep your expectations limited, but he can help in a long relief/spot start role.   

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21 minutes ago, Philip said:

I was watching on the MLB app, and I saw a whole lot of 88 mile an hour fastballs And a whole lot of balls out of the strike zone.

However, I saw at least six or seven pitches that according to the pitch tracker should’ve been called strikes(all on the outside edge and a few in the outside corner) but weren’t. I asked in the game thread if that was a framing problem. I don’t know how well Wynns frames, but we all know that Severino is among the worst two or three in all of baseball.

Wells is going to need to get those borderline calls. I don’t disagree that he needs his C&C to be better, but the Umpire definitely made his job harder.

I saw a lot of complaints about the umpires having a small zone for Orioles pitchers the last few games. I don’t know how much was a framing issue vs. umpire issue.

3 factors to consider with Wells about his command being a bit spotty now: Nerves, framing/umpire issue, grip issue.

Unfortunately, it is something that might have to be accounted for for the rest of the season for everyone.

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1 hour ago, Philip said:

Although I don’t think Wynns is the Second Coming, he’s definitely superior to Severino, and I hope he is Wells’ better partner going forward.

Will be interesting to see how much of an impact Rutchman will have on pitching performance.  It's certainly been a struggle with the current lot, and it would be encouraging to know he can help the team significantly on the pitching/defense side.

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1 hour ago, Philip said:

Although I don’t think Wynns is the Second Coming, he’s definitely superior to Severino, and I hope he is Wells’ better partner going forward.

Small sample size, but Wynns has been the worse framer so far among the Orioles catchers, getting just a 42.5% strike rate in the shadow zone so far compared to 42.6% for Severino and 43.2% for Sisco. His strike rate is 76th of 85 catchers who have called for 100 pitches or more. In 2019 he was at 47.1% and 45.2% in 2018. 47% is about MLB average this year.

You can see the percentages by zones and the overall numbers here: https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/catcher_framing?year=2021&team=BAL&min=100&sort=4,1 

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5 minutes ago, Tony-OH said:

Small sample size, but Wynns has been the worse framer so far among the Orioles catchers, getting just a 42.5% strike rate so far compared to 42.6% for Severino and 43.2% for Sisco. His strike rate is 76th of 85 catchers who have called for 100 pitches or more.

you can see the percentages by zones and the overall numbers here: https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/catcher_framing?year=2021&team=BAL&min=100&sort=4,1 

Yikes.

 

call me foolish, but I’d still rather have Wynns.

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His stuff has looked like I expected it to. The walks are probably just SSS noise but he's still probably going to get knocked around with the lack of velocity. I did notice that when he was missing it was around the plate with very little waste pitches.

Now that they've all made their debuts, it will be interesting to see who out of the DD "calvary" (Lowther, Akin, Kremer, Wells) has the best career with the O's. I'll go with Akin. 

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19 minutes ago, LTO's said:

His stuff has looked like I expected it to. The walks are probably just SSS noise but he's still probably going to get knocked around with the lack of velocity. I did notice that when he was missing it was around the plate with very little waste pitches.

Now that they've all made their debuts, it will be interesting to see who out of the DD "calvary" (Lowther, Akin, Kremer, Wells) has the best career with the O's. I'll go with Akin. 

Cavalry refers to troops. Calvary is where Jesus was crucified.

With the crackdown on the use of substances used for gripping the balls, velocities should come down. Maybe that means some of the O's lefties could become crafty left-handers!

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1 hour ago, Tony-OH said:

It's only been two appearances so you have to take his statscast information with a grain of salt, but the early indications are not very good. 

Let's mainly look at the stuff vs the results (which has shown him to be incredibly lucky so far).

Fastball is a low spin rate 89 MPH pitch with below average vertical (-6% below MLB average) but above average horizontal movement (25% below MLB average). It's gotten just 5.3% whiff rate.

Curveball is a slow (73.8MPH) pitch that gets about average vertical drop (2% better than MLB avg) and a little above avg horizontal movement (10% better). He's gotten a 22.2% whiff rate with the pitch.

Slider is so bad on typical movement that it may actually fool hitters expecting more break. It gets a little below average drop (-11% below) but has almost no horizontal break (1.4 inches of break, -80% below MLB avg). Batter have struggled against the pitch so far and it's the only pitch he's gotten a strikeout on (33.3 whiff rate). He averages 82 MPH on the pitch.

The change is an offering that comes in hard (82.3) and has about average drop (-2% vs MLB avg) and a little below average horizontal (-8%).

Wells is a guy that doesn't look like a lot of pitchers major league hitters face so that may be helpful for him. It's hard to find a comp for him though the Cardinals Kwang Hyun Kim is the closest I could find. When you look at movement of pitches, Wells is actually better than Kim.

The more I research pitch movement and velocity, it seems the more different, whether good or bad away from major league average, the better the pitch works against hitters. I only have anecdotal information to go off of right now, but if true, the fact that Wells looks so different from other major league pitchers the more effective he could be, at least one time through an order.

He clearly will need to live on the edge of the strike zone and his minor league numbers suggest he has that kind of command. Whether it works long term is up for debate, but he will be an interesting guy to follow in how his stuff plays at the major league level.

 

Could be a Cesar Valdez type who succeeds for a while until batters have seen him a few times.   I’ve always liked him so I’ll hope for better than that.  

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