Good evening everyone! With the regular season complete and us all having a lot more stress free time on our hands this postseason, we’re proud to bring you the 2017 Stuffy awards! I’ll be your co-host, Mike Sonne. I’m proud to have alongside me, Canada’s second favourite bass playing baseball fan, Nick Dika! (Sorry, Geddy Lee was busy… and he won’t return my calls and sent a restraining order…weird).
Like last year, we’re going to break this down in two parts – part 1 – we have our rookies of the year, along with the “not so Stuffies”. In part 2, the team awards for the best Stuff, and the pitchers with the best Stuff in the MLB.
Without further ado, Nick, let’s start the show with the Stuff Rookies of the Year.
Rookies of the Year
Nick Dika – Ugh. Really Dodgers? You have the best rookie pitcher too? The Dodgers are proving how truly horrifying it can be when a team with deep pockets simultaneously focuses on building a deep and talented farm system. Seeing Buehler gas 98 out of the Dodgers’ pen makes me want to contract the Rays immediately.
Mike Sonne – Beuhler is a monster. That velocity on the fastball, but also the velocity on the slider, is ELITE. Then he pairs it with 19″ of separation between the arsenal of pitches. That’s nearly 5″ more than the league average. PLUS, he was named after a very famous Texas Ranger (the good kind, not the pant peeing kind).
MS – Lithuania’s first MLB player is a beast of a man, probably harnessing his velocity from his rage at watching Jonas Valanciunas’ Itty Bitty Baller commercials. A lot like Walker Buehler, this is a pitcher with insane slider velocity and well above average fastball velocity. For those of you counting at home, that’s two legitimate monsters the Pirates now have for Stuff – Felipe Rivero, and Neverauskas. Oh… and that Gerrit Cole guy isn’t too bad either.
Honorable Starter Mention
MS - In science, whenever we develop a tool, we need to establish its validity. That means, is this tool measuring what it’s really supposed to be measuring? In my baseball science work, my main source of validation comes from Eno Sarris agreeing with me.
Nick Pivetta and Jesse Hahn: I do not understand why you haven’t seen better results. https://t.co/IWgByoIb6K
— Eno Sarris (@enosarris) October 2, 2017
So yeah, there it is. Poor Nick – hopefully brighter days are coming for you my man! I wrote an article on Rotographs last week, looking at how pitchers with good stuff can have bad results. Nothing jumps out with Pivetta, but it looks like he’s not getting many calls on the black and he’s keeping his pitches in the zone more frequently than other starting pitchers. Keep an eye on this guy for your upcoming fantasy seasons.
The Not So Stuffies
Here at the Stuffies, we prefer style over substance. Sure, you can get guys out with an 89 mph, but we prefer our pitchers to get their 98 mph fastball put into the upper deck (then claim they have a live arm, tons of potential and over draft them in fantasy next year). Who didn’t have the right stuff this year?
MS – You know, back at the start of June, when Kyle Hendricks’ sky was falling and he was getting shelled, it looked a lot like hitters finally found the professor’s kryptonite. 86 mph fastballs don’t normally play up (unless paired with a knuckle ball). Yet, here we are – the Cubs are in the NLCS, and Hendricks is throwing filth like this:
Kyle Hendricks, Crazy Fastball Movement (4 Pitch K/4 FBs/Isolated). pic.twitter.com/wnyAE9Xk3o
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 7, 2017
So, you do you, wild man. Sometimes it’s the metrics who are wrong.
ND - LeBlanc is actually a French word for “zero stuff”. But let’s not be too hard on the guy. We’d all swing through his cement mixer curveballs and his 87 mph fastballs. It’s just that no one in the major leagues (or triple-A) would.
ND - While the “Vanimal” may have done something nasty to earn himself the nickname, his stuff in 2017 wasn’t nasty in the least. This season, Vance Worley was a walking bullpen game waiting to happen. In the twelve starts he made for the Marlins, he was only able to make it through five innings three times. With an average fastball velocity under 90 mph and not much in the way of breaking stuff, his signature sports goggles might actually be for his own protection rather than enhancing his vision.
***Orchestra music starts up, giant hook appears at the side of the stage***
Looks like we’re cutting into Joshua Howsam’s 19th watch of The Wire – we’ll be back soon with the best team stuff in the MLB!