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Dan Duquette on O's pitching philosophy: "We don't like the cutter"


Orsino

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Really good stuff. And for those worried, it's a pretty moderate take which largely reflects our conversation on here.

No matter what, Badler found that most agree that there isn’t a team that teaches the cutter on an organization-wide basis. Sure, you have pitching coaches — like Don Cooper and Dave Duncan, perhaps — that teach the pitch in the big leagues, and help revive careers for veterans that have had trouble learning a better changeup or curveball. But it doesn’t seem like there are many, if any, teams that teach the cutter in the minors. So maybe this is all a brouhaha about nothing.

Except that the Orioles have a prospect named Dylan Bundy who throws his fastball in the upper nineties and thrives with a cut fastball as part of his arsenal. If the Orioles forbid him from throwing the pitch, they may be taking this philosophy too far. After all, each pitcher is different, and if Bundy isn’t having trouble with arm strength and uses a fine-looking cutter, telling him to stop using it seems to be folly.

In the end, Duquette’s is a defensible stance, and one that is in the majority when it comes to minor league development. But maybe the Orioles’ GM said a few strange things and used some interesting evidence to back up his beliefs.

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DD may very well be wrong, but I think we should be careful to understand what his point was; how that practically applies, both to prospects and established pitchers; and the limitations of statistics, particularly the ones we have readily available, in judging something like this.

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Also, we are not privy to how DD assembled his data set. For instance, did he just limit to starters?

The list of qualified starting pitchers with positive value derived from the cutter in 2012 is quite small. And, in fact, several of the well-regarded users of the pitch have seen negative values this year, including Grienke, Lester, Romero, CJ Wilson, Hellickson, Haren, Cliff Lee, Shields.

Most of the positive value from the pitch comes from relievers. See fangraphs qualified starters vs. all pitchers

Maybe DD is onto something...

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DD may very well be wrong, but I think we should be careful to understand what his point was; how that practically applies, both to prospects and established pitchers; and the limitations of statistics, particularly the ones we have readily available, in judging something like this.

I can't believe I'm agreeing with Pickles, but yeah, this is on point. There's a lot missing here. As someone else said, DD doing an interview with Steve Malewksi is quite a bit different than a powerpoint presentation in a Sabermetrics forum.

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I can't believe I'm agreeing with Pickles, but yeah, this is on point. There's a lot missing here. As someone else said, DD doing an interview with Steve Malewksi is quite a bit different than a powerpoint presentation in a Sabermetrics forum.

Right. The issue here looks like a communication problem, and it's simply tough to suss out the practical implications.

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I can't believe I'm agreeing with Pickles, but yeah, this is on point. There's a lot missing here. As someone else said, DD doing an interview with Steve Malewksi is quite a bit different than a powerpoint presentation in a Sabermetrics forum.

Blind squirrel I guess. :)

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1. I'd like to know if this something Duquette decided, or does it come from Peterson?

2. I read some posts reading DD as stating an absolute rule (either overall, or for pitchers below a certain age), and others reading him as stating a general preference that could have major exceptions. I think you could read his comments either way, but I doubt there is an absolute ban on cutters, except maybe in the early stages of development.

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http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/benchmarks-for-pitch-types/

They came up with a rvERA stat to try and guess how effective each pitch was. Pavlidis must not have LOVED the metric that was introduced, since it was scrapped in the other link I posted.

In this chart, it shows the Cutter as being more effective than the Curveball.

On the other hand, the data is way different from one to the other, (Curve goes from .261 WHIFF to .280 WHIFF). I'm guessing if they used the rvERA metric with more data, it would have worked out that the Curve has been a more effective pitch.

Also, the part of the argument that I can't even begin to argue is whether or not developing the cutter takes away from the development of the Curve.

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1. I'd like to know if this something Duquette decided, or does it come from Peterson?

2. I read some posts reading DD as stating an absolute rule (either overall, or for pitchers below a certain age), and others reading him as stating a general preference that could have major exceptions. I think you could read his comments either way, but I doubt there is an absolute ban on cutters, except maybe in the early stages of development.

1. I'm pretty confident it wasn't decided unilaterally.

2. Tillman and Hunter continue to throw cutters, so I don't see any absoloutes here. It appears Hunter has been throttled back some.

With Bundy, the primary issue appears to be developmental concerns associated with longer term value projections.

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