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Chat: Doug Thorburn

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Tuesday April 07, 2015 2:00 PM ET chat session with Doug Thorburn.


Doug is here to get you through a long afternoon of no day games.

Doug Thorburn: Opening Day was a whirlwind, and though we are currently caught in the eye of the storm before Day 2, we are just 5 hours from more games that count. Spend some of that time talking baseball - the floor is yours.

Alex (Anaheim): Losing Opening Day is an even bigger bummer when there's no game the next day, right?

Doug Thorburn: Definitely! I get that MLB wants to give teams a slow roll at the start of the season, but I'm thinking that if you asked the players they would rather have that day off at some (any) point in the regular season rather than following the first day of work.

LucasDad (Monticello, MN): What should we expect from Michael Taylor this first month? Leading off in a decent lineup, and supposedly had decent pop and speed. Could he be a possible surprise star this year?

Doug Thorburn: I think that surprise start is going a bit far, but given that the only healthy member of the starting outfield is Bryce Harper, aka "plays with reckless abandon, I'd say that there's a non-zero chance that he sticks beyond a single month. The power spike that he enjoyed at AA last season is a long-shot to be replicated in the majors, but if he retains some of that improvement then he could be a surprise. But the double-jump in levels has me bracing expectation.

delatopia (the 415): Apologies if you have addressed this in past chats. To what do you attribute the preponderance of TJ surgeries the past couple of years? Muscle overdevelopment, too much pitching from a young age, too many sliders, something else? I realize we've only scratched the surface of physiology and mechanics, and what we "know" now may not be true at all, the same way that knowledge about nutrition and diet seems to change every few years. Just curious about your take on it all. Thanks!

Doug Thorburn: I think that there's multiple culprits, and the combination of factors has created an untenable situation. I'm in agreement with much of what came out from ASMI regarding elbow injuries, and I think that the current landscape is not conducive to developing healthy pitchers. We have guys who are pitching at higher intensity than ever before, and doing so year-round under multiple coaches that are not privy to the information necessary for safe development of young arms. I also think that pitch counts have done as much (or more harm than good), as they've been used as a blanket to cover all pitchers rather than recognize that there are several buckets of workload that a pitcher might possibly fall into, and not the typical option of starter (100 pitches) or reliever (15-30 pitches).

In this sense, pitching mechanics can be a double-edged sword - they can allow a pitcher to throw harder with better command, resulting in improved performance that invariably increases workload, but the additional velocity and workload contribute to an increased kinetic toll that can further push the limits of healthy performance.

William (New York): I can't help it: Pedroia's going to hit for power and Buchholz has figured it all right again, right?

Doug Thorburn: Nope, not buying either. I'm more likely to buy Pedroia's power returning to 2012 levels, but Buchholz has tricked me too many times. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on you. Fool me thrice? Shame on Clay Buchholz.

Randy W (Ohio): Doug- of all this springs pitcher injuries , which one surprised you the most?

Doug Thorburn: Well, Darvish, Lee, and Wheeler all had pre-existing elbow issues stemming back to last season, so those weren't big surprises. I would say that Aiken's was the most surprising, not so much that it happened but due to the timing. That UCL went from a non-issue to THE issue within a month last season, and to see the ligament barking in his prep for 2015 was an eye-opener. That said, I think that teams might even view it as a positive, in that his rehab is going on already before the organizational watch can start ticking.

Bill (New Mexico): I know hindsight is 20/20, but did you see anything in Jamie Garcia's mechanics that led you to expect the never-ending chain of injuries he's had? Or is it just one of those things that happens to pitchers?

Doug Thorburn: Trying to avoid some 20/20 confirmation bias here, but I've never been a fan of Garcia's delivery. He has egregious spine tilt that triggers as soon as he hits foot strike, and it's relatively common to see these types of pitchers either struggle to hold velocity over time or to experience shoulder issues. Spine-tilt was the biggest precursor to shoulder injury that we identified at the NPA, and he is one of the most blatant cases. So I can't say that I'm shocked at all, but by no means do I ever "expect" injury.

Frenchy (San Diego): To keep your poker analogy going, are there many "fish" in daily fantasy? I know a lot about baseball, but do you find that everybody on there is pretty high-level smart?

Doug Thorburn: I noticed a change throughout last season, definitely, and I expect to see a similar trend this year as the DFS game becomes increasingly popular. Kinda like with online poker, I've found more "fish" in the first half of the year (ie those that don't check weather or who go off of April value for months). In the second half of last season, it has appeared that the fish had been mostly cleared out of the water and there were more sharks left, but don't underestimate the general difference of opinion (even among the "experts") for baseball. I think the game is new enough that even those who think they've figured it out are still figuring it out.

John (Atlanta): How'd the Braves do as sellers this offseason? Missed opportunity or credible returns?

Doug Thorburn: I think they did really well in the Kimbrel deal - he was not part of their immediate plans and getting out from under the albatross contract of Bossman Junior was a major coux. I'm rather shocked that they got a former 1st rounder and a future comp pick in addition. I think that they are setup well for the future, and I think it's smart that they got young pieces without watching their assets depreciate naturally throughout the season.

Chris (California): This is a bit random but I was thinking about it and wanted to ask someone who might be able to answer- What keeps MLB teams from 'buying' players instead of trading for them? (i.e. Blue Jays send $40M to the A's for Josh Donaldson instead of players)

Doug Thorburn: Cool question, Chris.

I think that players are too valuable a commodity. We see this to some extent (e.g. the Dodgers ability to take on the bad contracts of Crawford and Beckett in order to get Adrian in blue-and-white). The game is awash in cash these days, and though it is frustrating to see a player lose all trade value the second that he starts making $$ commensurate with his skills, I think that teams recognize the scarcity of talent at the top of the scale and are willing to take the 15% chance that an 18-year old pans out. Straight purchases of players were very common in the pre-war days, but in today's game owners would rather increase the brand of their product than take a financial windfall.

childgrambino (Richmond, VA): what do you see coming from Martin Prado this season?

Doug Thorburn: Prado feels like a player whose performance has been all over the place, but his triple-slash line for the past two seasons has been very similar once the smoke cleared. I don't expect a return to the days of a .460 SLG, but I think that another .280/.330/.425 line is within reason.

Pooshka (O. ): What does your no-Tommy John draftboard say about Archie Bradley this year?

Doug Thorburn: In the no TJS draft on Effectively Wild last week, I tried to avoid pitchers who were overly young or who threw especially hard. Bradley falls short on both counts, and has not established himself yet to ease the concern over the first two issues. He has been very inconsistent with his mechanics over the past couple seasons, and I see that inconsistency as a potential complicating factor for injury.

Chipshot212 (ma): Thoughts on Trevor Cahill's mechanics so far this spring, and going forward?

Doug Thorburn: I admit that I have not seen Cahill pitch yet this spring, so I don't have any updates. But his previous delivery leaves a lot to be desired, with below average power and stability which are dogged by his inconsistency. I am definitely interested to see if he's made any alterations, though.

childgrambino (Richmond, VA): what are the best stats to use to evaluate pitchers and hitters?

Doug Thorburn: Statistically, I think the key is to combine the information to see where it's consistent. For example, if www.BrooksBaseball.net tells me that a guy throws hard with steep breaking stuff and good arm-side run on his two-seam or off-speed, then I am going to be more apt to buy into his K rate. Strikeouts and walks are the first things that I look at, though I admit to not being a big fan of the DIPS/FIP stuff - I don't think that we learn more about a pitcher by eliminating two-thirds of the data set, and the insistence in doing so not ignores most of the data but fails to recognize the limitations of our own inputs.

(*gets down from soapbox*)

Festivus313 (Phoenix): Is Tabaka just going to struggle this year until they give in and do TJS?

Doug Thorburn: You know, I had initially thought that he would be ok so long as he was on the mound, but that his IP contribution for 2015 would likely be minimal. But after watching how he is adjusting, I am concerned that he will be a shell of his former self until he does go under the knife. Consistency was his calling card last season, but he has been very inconsistent with his timing (eso with his trigger of trunk rotation) all spring and into Opening Day. His arm looked both late and slow - it's relatively common to see one or the other on any given pitch, but when a pitcher exhibits both traits consistently it raises the level of concern. I'll be staying away until I see some major changes.

John (Boston): What are the early reviews on Moncada? Is this guy the next Mookie Betts, or just your run-of-the-mill future hall of famer?

Doug Thorburn: I know very little about Moncada, and I think that we have to be very careful about expectations with Cuban players until they've had some time to adjust to pro ball. The talent variation is huge, and yet the general range of opinions seems to be too tightly wound - let's see how he does against age-appropriate competition in a more familiar setting (to us), and I'll feel better about making an assessment.

Shawn (Office): Hi Doug, thanks for the chat! What are your thoughts on Perry Husband's idea of Effective Velocity? I've read a few articles back from the summer and fall of 2014 and it seems to make a lot of sense to me. Seems that one of your mentors (I believe), Tom House is a believer too. It makes Trevor Bauer all the more intriguing to me as well. Do you know of any other pitchers who openly advocate it?

Doug Thorburn: I'm a huge fan of EV, and Perry has done some fantastic research on the subject. I remember when he brought the info to us at the NPA 10+ years ago, and though he originally discovered the phenomenon for hitting applications, we immediately saw the value for pitchers. There are some pitchers that have had an intuitive sense for EV (Maddux was famous for this, had sequences based on batter reaction time and pitch location), andI think that the infomation can be even more "effectiuve" when the catcher and coach are on board.

edwardarthur (Illinois): Doug -- Love, love, love the new Baseballholics podcast! Kluber, deGrom, McHugh, Shoemaker, and Warren are five righties, roughly the same age, with little prospect pedigree, who are suddenly solid to excellent starters. Arrieta has some similarities, though he had a bit more pedigree. Is this just a coincidence, or should we expect to see more stories like this as teams get better at tweaking guys who seem like org players to help them find a new level?

Doug Thorburn: Thanks Edward! Really cool question, too.

To me each pitcher is a unique snowflake, and the conditions of each player's improvement is very different. Kluber improved every aspect of his game, and now has one of the best - if not the best - deliveries in baseball (and that slydra is just unfair). I think that Arrieta is similar in that his improvements are mechanically based, as he greatly smoothed out his transition through lift and stride (used to be very inconsistent) which allowed him to command already-filthy stuff. In this sense, I think that Arrieta and Carlos Carrasco are actually pretty similar. I'm not as big of a believer yet in deGrom and Shoemaker, but both players made in-season improvements that inspire optimism. I'm not sure if this is merely anecdotal, if teams are actually getting better, or if the current injury environment is such that teams are forced to try a wider swath of players and techniques. Very interesting topic to continue to monitor, though.

Jared (LA): What are the most common mechanical flaws in amateur pitchers' deliveries?

Doug Thorburn: Pitchers emphasizing angles (ie over-the-top or closed strides) over stability. Young players should be throwing more and pitching less in my opinion (that means more catch, flatground work, etc), and the emphasis on conditioning is all over the place - I would much rather that a pitcher simply be athletic and balanced than trying to manipulate angles at a young age, and yet I see young players all the time who lack the functional strength and flexibility to pitch properly (and yet continue to be thrown out there in the name of winning a travel ball tournament).

Dennis (LA): Thanks for your great work, Doug. How do you think Mat Latos will fare this year, given his diminishing velocity and injury history?

Doug Thorburn: Latos is one of the most fascinating cases this season. He not only sacrificed velocity last year in the name of pitch command, but his mechanics echoed those changes - his torque was greatly diminished and yet the balance was the best that I have seen from Latos as a pro. The fact that he was able to make those adjustments without losing much effectiveness is pretty incredible (particularly the seamless transition), and I am very curious to see if the high-stability low-power mechanics are back in 2015 or if he reverts back to old form (which would indicate that he was compensating for the injury last year).

Ryan (Wherever Tapia Can Be Found): Two questions: why haven't we done a podcast yet? Is the most frustrating part of being knowledgeable about pitching when guys get hurt and mechanics "experts" jump out of the woods to point to reasons why? Also #yardaces

Doug Thorburn: Question 1) Soon, my friend. Soon.

Question 2) Yeah that probably is the most frustrating, both because the general view fails to appreciate the sheer multitude of variables that have a role in the injury equation, and because of the false conclusions drawn as humans attempt to find a simple explanation for why their favorite pitcher will be out for 12+ months. The "experts" that claim to have all the answers are exposing the vulnerabilities in their evaluations, IMO, because tunnel vision will keep them from recognizing or appreciating the other factors.

Sam ((San Diego)): Doug, I feel like the "Shout" montage in Wedding Crashers is Top 5 all time. Am I overrating it because of recency bias?

Doug Thorburn: Oh wow, that is tough. Top 5 montages? I'm gonna need some time to really tackle this question head-on, maybe with a 20-80 grading system to help communicate the good and bad of each montage. Do we have a general basis for what makes a good montage? Why is Team America now stuck in my head?

I hear a topic for a future episode of Baseballholics Anonymous.

bumphillips (rain puddle): What NL pitchers do you feel are being underrated or have some untapped potential? Excluding the well-known elite arms.

Doug Thorburn: I'm real big on Andrew Cashner over the next few years. He has made some significant mechanical improvements to shore up the most glaring weaknesses in his game (B+ delivery now), and he has the stuff to scale the next level. I really like how Michael Wacha addressed his repertoire-related needs last season, adding not one but two breakers to his fastball-change arsenal, and he has quickly gone from over-rated (this time last year) to under-rated. I think that Gerrit Cole is also ready to make the leap, and though some folks have soured on him a bit for not making the elite jump last season, he also improved his delivery to reach the A- club at a very young age, and I am very optimistic about his future.

Dr Nick (Springfield): Theoretical question here: let`s say Stroman was 100.0000% sure to be out all year with his ACL. Is there even a whisper of opinion that he (or someone in a similar position) should undergo pre-emptive TJS? Obviously you never want to go under the knife but if you're off the field for a year or so anyway...

Doug Thorburn: Definitely not. First of all, there are no issues with Stroman's UCL that we know of, so it would be an invasive surgery for someone who may never need it. Not every pitcher comes back from TJS, and the myth that pitchers come back stronger than before is just that - a myth. Pitchers who do add some functionality were more likely pitching while compromised before going under the knife. I think that a pre-emptive TJS is a logical fallacy that fails to appreciate the risks and realities of rehabilitation.

frug (Chicagoland): Should the Blue Jays be concerned that Edwin Encarnacion is on pace to strike out 324 times this season? I mean it won't be a problem if he continues to slug 1.000, but expecting him to do that over the course of a full year is just silly.

Doug Thorburn: Haha. This question was both silly and entertaining. Thanks for that, frug!

posborne (Philly): Back to that first question. MLB gives teams the day off after Opening Day in markets where the weather may be bad enough that Opening Day gets postponed so they have a second chance the next day and so that the people who bought Opening Day tickets don't miss the game.

Doug Thorburn: That makes sense, and April weather can be a massive issue. The schedule does seem to put a little too much emphasis on the supposed predictability of weather patterns, though.

Matt T. (Cambridge): Hey Doug, the large amount of Tommy John surgeries has gotten me thinking: Would pitchers be better off throwing all year round? It seems to me the whole process of throwing 95 after not pitching for a while could be bad for the arm. I know they "ramp up", but this seems to be a common cause of injury regarding other athletic feats as well. We also know injury rates for pitchers fall rapidly as soon as the regular season starts. Would pitcher be better of maintaining their throw day in the winter?

Doug Thorburn: The big issue, from my perspective, is the lack of consistency and lack of knowledge of what these pitchers are actually doing year-round (particularly with amateurs). I do not think that these guys should be pitching competitively year-round, something that has been a focal point for Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Glenn Fleisig. The problem is multi-fold, and there is no one single answer that will fix these guys, but the modern emphasis on velocity and high-intensity pitching creates an even more unstable situation for developing arms.

Dan (Vienna, Va): After the Michael Taylor question, should we Nats fans worry about hitting again this year? Also, just game 1 but should we also worry with Zim learning 1st base, is the D going to revert back to the year LaRoche was hurt and Dunn was at 1st? These are the 2 biggest items I have worried about in spring training and game 1 had both.

Doug Thorburn: The good news is that the Nats are stacked enough to survive a couple of non-ideal situations on the roster. I don't think that the defense is in that much trouble, and I would be patient with Zim as he adjusts to the realities of his new position. He could play 1B blindfolded and have better defensive results than Adam Dunn.

Jesse (Los Angeles): So, the elephant in the room: Tanaka. What did you think? How were his mechanics?

Doug Thorburn: I addressed this in an earlier q, but I was not encouraged. Here's me, here's a 40-foot pole, and way over there is Tanaka.

DanDaMan (Sea Cliff): Doug, looking forward to the Rounders column as I'm thinking of trying out DFS this season. 2 questions though: 1)can you share with us how much you "invested" in the past and how much you may have won or lost? 2)Draft Kings or Fan Duel and why? Thanks Doug

Doug Thorburn: I will be running a reflection column every Thursday that covers some of these exact issues. I have played DFS the past two seasons and essentially broken even (tough to say for sure due to playing multiple sports on multiple sites), so I've played well enough to keep playing and survive the rake. I invested $200 last year and am bumping up to $500 this year. I prefer DK over FD because of the point system, as I prefer the variation afforded by the greater volume of points and I like little aspects of the scoring system on DK (such as a walk = 2 pts but a single = 3 pts).

delatopia (the 415): Scanning the Opening Day rosters, I don't see a lot of rookie pitchers breaking in anywhere, let alone the SP prospects who break in as RPs, as Earl Weaver liked to do. The only ones I can find on a casual glance are Castro and Osuna. Does the pen feel like their final destination, or are they still SPs in waiting? And are you a fan of that method of breaking in pitchers?

Doug Thorburn: I think that the method is dated, in the sense that managers don't really use the Earl Weaver method anymore - pitchers tend to enter the 'pen as one-inning specialists rather than swingmen, which I think is a poor method for preparing them for the rigors of a SP's workload. That's not to say that Weaver's method SHOULDN'T be used, as I think that there are a lot of merits to that system when used effectively. But modern pitchers are put into fewer buckets of expected workload in the modern game, and I think this is a mistake.

mattyjames1 (Canada): Reports are coming out for an early September return for Stroman. Is that crazy? Part deux: is it even crazier to think Hoffman might be OK around the same timeline too?

Doug Thorburn: I think that's crazy in a vacuum, and frankly it's way too early to even weight the realism of such a possibility. But if the Jays are in contention down the stretch and Stroman has had an incredible recovery, I suppose I could see them pushing the envelope a bit, But I would put the odds of that happening as very low.

I'm not a big Hoffman guy, admittedly, as his mechanical foundation has multiple red flags and the elbow will continue to be a concern unless he makes major adjustments.

Ned (Durham): Over under 7 starts before the Orioles banish Ubaldo to the 'pen?

Doug Thorburn: That's a really good number. I'm gonna hope for the Under, but have a bad feeling that they'll give him til Memorial Day before pulling the plug (unless he's just atrocious), so that would put him around 9-10 starts. So I guess gimme the Over.

Brian (MA): Wondering if you have an opinion on whether the O's handling of Gausman could have a negative impact on his development, and potentially the health of his arm? Seems as if there could be consequences to shuttling him back and forth between limited-pitch, high effort relief appearances and 5-6 inning starts.

Doug Thorburn: This is exactly my concern, and worst-case scenario could occur if he is successful in the bullpen, encouraging the team to keep him there long-term. He has the stuff to succeed in the 'pen right now, but such a role would rob him of the developmental need to develop stamina and a deeper repertoire (esp breaking pitches). I don't think that a bullpen role is good for his long-term development, and the repercussions of lesser innings from Gaus in exchange for a greater volume from Ubaldo could have a disastrous impact on a contending team's win count this season.

Dennis (LA): How do you feel about Julio Urias's future? A potential ace?

Doug Thorburn: I am big on Urias, but honestly the range of possible outcomes is all over the place. He made major adjustments last season, both physically and mechanically, and his addition of power both raised the roof of his upside and simultaneously lengthened his development track. I don't expect to see him in the bigs until late 2016, and he could undergo major changes before that happens.

mattyjames1 (Canada): I know I know, spring training blah blah blah... but Tai Walker is looking good eh? Do you prefer him over Rodon or Syndergaard?

Doug Thorburn: I do for this year, definitely, and I like Taijuan over Synder long-term as well. I think that Rodon could be a monster, but the expectation that he will jump to the majors after 24 innings as a pro is a bit over-zealous, in my opinion. So long-term give me Rodon-Taijuan-Synder, but for this year I'll go Taijuan-Rodon-Synder. All three are fantastic, though.

Shawn (CT): What is your personal opinion on the timeframe for TJS recovery? I've seen a range of opinions from 12-18 mos. Seems like the longer the better, but is there a point where if the arm feels good, waiting longer has no effect?

Doug Thorburn: IT completely depends on the player and how he is progressing through his rehab. I am not a fan of any hard-and-fast rules, whether talking about rehab schedules, pitch counts, or long-toss distances. I think the key is to adjust the plan to cater to each player's unique situation, and some recover more quickly or more efficiently (for myriad reasons).

bumphillips (rain puddle): I love the talk about mechanics. What do you feel are the most important part of mechanics for youth players to understand before taking the mound?

Doug Thorburn: Be an athlete, and focus on hitting targets like the kid was playing shortstop. It is very common to see a young athlete who has a killer arm from short but then starts using a bunch of fancy leg kicks and arm movements when on the hill, and the net result is a less-efficient thrower. When I see egregious spine-tilt on a young player (which is overwhelmingly common), I immediately want to pull him or her from the mound. Downhill plane might be over-rated at the MLB level, but it's downright pointless for developing arms that are still learning to adjust to an ever-changing body.

mattyjames1 (Canada): Thanks for doing this, Doug! You're the best. if Sanchez struggles with his command early on with Toronto, do they send him back to the pen or let him develop in AAA as a starter more? I'm not Raising Aces or anything so I'm definitely no expert, but the 2 starts I saw him in Dunedin his landing foot had about a 3-4' foot radius of where it might randomly land on the bump. Seemed to carry over into his last exhibition start as well. Is this a big problem? It only bugs me because the grounds crew has so much more work to do in between innings.

Doug Thorburn: I completely agree Matty, and his inconsistency will only be further exposed in the rotation. The team really slowed him down about 18 months ago in the name of finding consistency, but it didn't really have the desired effect until he started getting a bit of momentum into his motion. I would to see him work out as an SP, but his developmental To Do list is potentially long and arduous (as opposed to Gasuman who is just refining), and in the case of Sanchez I think that he is a better fit for the bullpen.

thresh50 (Boston): Who do you think ends the year as closer for the Jays: Cecil, Castro, Paplebon, Soriano, someone else? Thanks.

Doug Thorburn: Let's go with "the field," since none of the available options is all that inspiring and projecting trades is a fool's errand (not that this fool hasn't tried).

Allan (The Q): Trade question for a 20 team dynasty league. I was offered Dan Norris, Miguel Castro, Rusney Castillo, and a 1st round milb pick for Jose Bautista. Disregarding context is this fair value for Jose?

Doug Thorburn: My general feel is that folks drastically over-rate prospects in dynasty formats. I don't know your league, so maybe you feel really confident that it will still be around in 5 years to see the fruits of a stacked farm system, but the fail-rate of prospects is too high and Bautista is a true difference-maker for the next few seasons. If I were you I would hold onto Joey Bats, unless there was a Strasburg/Harper level talent (when they were drafted) to snag at the top of the draft. I assume that's a "no," so I would hold Bautista and see if you can get more midseason if feeling the need to deal him.

Matt (NJ): Shane Greene, Jesse Hahn, TJ House, Rubby DeLaRosa, Anthony DeScalafani, Jimmy Nelson, Zach McAllister, Trevor Bauer. If one of these is a top 20 pitcher this year, who is it?

Doug Thorburn: Gimme Bauer in that scenario. It assumes a huge leap in development, but he has the tools to make that dream a possibility. I also like the upsides of Rubby, Hahn, and Desclafani.

Shawn (CT): Thoughts on the Rick Porcello extension? Seems to be a lot of negative opinions out there, but I think it was a fine deal for Boston to make. If he doesn't improve, it's a slight overpay which they can afford. If he does (and he's only 26 and playing in front of a better defense), could be a nice deal.

Doug Thorburn: I like the decision to extend him, but I think that $20M per year is a drastic overpay. Even acknowledging that the team is buying out free agent years, I don't see Porcello as being worth anything close to $20M per year from 2016-19.

Jack (Chicago): Do you think Eovaldi will take the big step forward now with the Yankees?

Doug Thorburn: The assumption has always been that he was a third pitch (off-speed) away from dominance, and though last spring's experiment with the CH was scrapped, it appears that he is taking a shine to his new SPLIT. The big velocity is already there and I really like his mechanical baselines, plus the split should make a big difference if it's reliable. I've been saying it for a couple years now, but I'll ride the Cap'n Eo bandwagon one more season.

Chipshot212 (ma): Also, why do you always refer to the change as el cambio? :p

Doug Thorburn: I wouldn't say always, but I'm always looking for different ways to say the things that come up over and over, so "changeup," "change," and "cambio" have all been used exhaustively in my work.

(Cambio is Spanish for "change," in case you were wondering where the root word came from)

Rick (Chicago): Although Verlander's elite days are gone, he should still be a solid better than average pitcher going forward. Right or wrong?

Doug Thorburn: I agree with this, and yes he SHOULD be a solid or better-than-average pitcher going forward. Problem is that I also think that he should have been a solid or better-than-average pitcher for the last two years, and he hasn't.

Doug Thorburn: Thanks for all of the awesome questions today, everyone! Sorry I couldn't get to everything, but we will be sure to do this again very soon (it's the best part of the gig). Until then, catch me every day here at BP with Fantasy Rounders, and every Friday with Raising Aces. Cheers!

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