One of the stories, that has gotten a little lost in the return of Yadi and Wacha is the re-invention of Shelby Miller.
If you were a GM, and you could trade a surplus prospect solely for knowledge, specifically the knowledge to improve of your own high ceiling players, would you do it? If you could’ve traded for, say, Adam Dunn, not just for his performance, but also for him to tutor Matt Adams, teach him the value of patience and other things and thus turning him into a better hitter, would you do it?
That seems to be what happened here. We acquired Justin Masterson from Cleveland for James Ramsey. Masterson was a tire fire as a starter and has been demoted to the bullpen. He’s done one very good thing though. He taught Shelby Miller a grip for a sinker that he liked and now Miller, who was primarily a four seam fastball pitcher before, is emphasizing his newfound sinker (and using his cuvr more as well) and using his four seamer less. As a result, he’s been doing better, partly because he’s not just a one pitch guy anymore. The question in my mind is whether he’s a more effective pitcher, or is it merely the new look that’s confusing batters that were expecting a ton of 4 seamers, meaning they’ll adjust given time. I think (and hope) it’s the former, but you never know.
He threw 23 Sinkers, 20 Curves and 26 four seam fastballs, accounting for 70 of his 100 pitches. He used his Change and Cutter less, focusing more on the sinker and curve instead.
This raises an interesting question in my mind: How many pitchers have basically re-invented themselves in season? I’m not talking about a tweak in the delivery or easing up on the fastball more often to fool batters. Miller has added a new pitch and emphasized an old one alot more. I’m not a pitching coach, so I don’t know. Probably more than I think.
Anyways, it’ll be interesting to keep an eye on the young Mr. Miller (He’s just 23, meaning he has probably has a bit more developing to do, something we often forget about with our young players) and see how he does from here on out. Hopefully last nights gem was a sign of things to come.
As always, thanks for reading.