"I'm not throwing a slider, I'm throwing a cutter. I'm working on it hard. I'm hoping it's a pitch to get guys out."I find it interesting that Flanagan describes the pitch as though it is a new addition to Ventura's collection, when according to Fangraphs, the Dominican threw a cutter 9.9% of the time in his 15.1 big league innings. While it is an incredibly small sample, Fangraphs rated the pitch 2.4 runs below average.
I find it hard to believe that Fangraphs would have miscalculated every slider that Ventura threw as a cutter, but perhaps the reason that Ventura has shelved a slider in favor of a cutter is that his slider wasn't getting the bite that he wanted. My guess is that there is a bit of translation issue here and that Ventura didn't mean that this offseason he has decided to add a cutter.
Regardless of the pitches Ventura throws in 2014, he will be a key to the team's success. Prior to the Bruce Chen signing, J.J. Picollo stated that a spot in the rotation was Ventura's to lose. At this point I would guess he heads to Kansas City at the first opening, assuming that doesn't occur until mid-May. Ventura has the upside to totally change the complexion of Kansas City's rotation.
Here's a few of projections for Baseball Prospectus's Jason Parks' pick for the 2014 AL Rookie of the Year:
- Steamer: 77 innings, 8.14 K/9, 4.24 BB/9, 0.84 HR/9, with a 4.18 ERA, worth 1 WAR
- Oliver: 117 innings, 7.55 K/9, 3.78 BB/9, 1.16 HR/9, with a 4.55 ERA, worth 0.9 WAR
- Fans: 143 innings, 9.19 K/9, 3.59 BB/9, 1.01 HR/9, with a 3.83 ERA, worth 2 WAR
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