Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Our first business order on Monday morning was to find out if Jacob deGrom are tipping places. In each of its last two starts, opposite hitters have looked incredibly comfortable – and since deGrom is the best pot in baseball, this activates our natural curiosity.
On the national telecast during Sunday night's loss in Atlanta, analyst Alex Rodriguez saw that deGrom tipped when he said after Josh Donaldson s fifth recovery help, that it was "almost as he knew what was coming ̵
Checks with several veteran evaluators Monday saw no signs of tipping – even though it was noted that A-Rod along with Carlos Beltran, Adrian Beltre , Alex Cora and Shawn Green, were among the best in their generation to spit it. It is possible that he noticed something that fled to other scouts, and even Braves.
But it's not that tipping is the problem.
"I didn't see or hear anything," said a veteran evaluator who was on Sunday's game. "I sat with the scouts. He went pretty well."
No one in the Mirror section seemed to notice anything as telegraphed places. And this commentary was in line with the opinions of three other evaluators watching TV.
So what was the problem, besides deGrom, was it just human?
Further digging revealed the following problems, which three separate sources agreed: Speed variation. DeGrom, armed with a shooter / cutter now moving in the mid 90s, actually throws his offspeed at too much speed.
Here's how a prolonged evaluator explains it: "If you play in 5-6 mph range [between fastball and offspeed] all the time, hitters will throw away good places and handle mistakes hard. It must be a variation of a pitch and possibly two that gives you 9-12 mph of variance. Now you can slap the hitter's bat. "
Now get this: deGrom's first pitch on Sunday night under 90 mph was a 86 mph curveball to Ronald Acuna Jr. in the fifth inning.
To put it another way: The power regulator that deGrom presented earlier this month, and that we all beat over? It doesn't make him any favorites, because it's too close in speed to his fastball. Hitters are more comfortable and know that everything comes in low to high 90s, and they can do it.
Hey, at least he doesn't tip. This should be a relatively simple solution.