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Astros Minor Talk: Highlighting the 'Cats Corner

We've mentioned this briefly before, but over at the Tri-City MLBlog today, the two writers for the site had a little prospect smackdown about which pitcher is most likely to reach the major leauges.

The candidates?

Carlos Quevedo and Tom Shirley.

Lots of stuff to like here, but let's touch on the big things before we throw it to general discussion. First, I found this part of Quevedo's section extremely fascinating.

According to pitching coach Ron Wolforth of Pitching Central and the Texas Baseball Ranch these are the guidelines to pitch counts per inning:

  • 12-15 pitches = pitcher stays in the game unless shows signs of fatigue
  • 18-22 pitches = pitcher is more closely monitored for signs of fatigue, but usually stays in.
  • 23-30 pitches = pitcher should be removed after 30 pitches unless it is a veteran or has second inning in a row of 23-29.
  • 30+ pitches = replaced immediately.

But how do you tell if a pitcher is tired? According to Wolforth, these are the tell tale signs of a fatigued pitcher:

  • Average velocity drops 3-5%
  • Consistently elevated fastball
  • Missing locations high or low

Remember when we've tried to discuss exactly what "high-stress" innings are and how to go beyond pitch counts and innings pitched? This looks like some great work to help with that very thing. Better yet, it all makes sense. Velocity drops. Control issues. Lots of extra work in an inning. Stuff like this helps confirm what we talk about all the time.

As for the two pitchers, I mentioned in the comments that I think Quevedo may have a better shot right now. That's mainly because he's more of a control pitcher. Honestly? Two walks all season? That's ridiculous. I like Shirley a lot, but Quevedo seems to fit a specific mold of pitcher that the Astros like, similar to Fernando Abad and Arcenio Leon.

Shirley's dad also makes a good point in the comments on that post. Shirley doesn't throw hard, but batters don't make solid contact off him either. I imagine that'd show up in a very low line drive rate. Give him another few weeks and I just may have to do a profile on Shirley.

Other than that, what did you think? There is some serious, in-depth scouting and thought put into this piece. First-hand experience, statistical analysis, it's all there. Orem, Subber, you've just been served.