Jake Odorizzi in the Kansas City Royals organization made his first start in AAA on Friday night. He has a moving fastball (2-seamer looking type pitch) that tails down with good movement. His 4-seamer straight fastball is very straight with not much movement, and good not great velocity. He also had a soft curve that he broke out in the 2nd, and mixed with a change, it is a pretty impressive assortment of pitches.
On the curveball, he had back luck on a soft grounder hit up the middle, but he also wasn't getting the pitch down early on in the game. As the game went on, it is almost like it over-corrected and he couldn't get it out of the dirt. With the 4 seamer, he got a fly-out to the warning track to the 2nd hitter of the game (Luis Rodriquez). In the first inning, he did get 2 grounders. The changeup was hung in the middle of the plate to Carlos Peguero who turned it into an absolute bomb. He seemed to be really inconsistent with it, and it wasn't a great pitch. In the 4th, he gave up a double to Luis Jimenez on a decent looking low moving fastball. Overall, he wasn't hitting his spots, and had control problems. He went 6.2 innings and gave up 9 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk and 4 strikeouts. In the 3rd, he gave up back to back BABIP type hits, as one was hit hard, but it was on the ground. He got out of the inning with a fly-out, a strikeout on a breaking pitch, and a ground-out. The run he gave up in the 5th was pretty bad luck, with an infield single, a steal, and a bloop single. He then got a lucky double play on bad base running, so it evened out somewhat.
Trevor Bauer in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization also made his first AAA start Friday night against a pretty pedestrian Oklahoma City Redhawks (Astros) lineup. He struck out Brian Bixler on 3 pitches to start the game, and it took just 8 pitches to get through the first. He loves to throw a high fastball that has great velocity in the mid 90s. He threw a couple ones low, but most of them were high. He started the game with a lot of fastballs, but threw more off-speed stuff as the game went along. He has a big curve that he hung the first time he threw it, but he got the fly-out to end the first. There has been a lot of discussion around ground-balls to fly-balls when discussing Trevor Bauer, as he seems to want to go for strikeouts at the risk of getting fly-balls. I am as much of a ground-ball to fly-ball ratio guy as there is, but there are different types of fly-balls. Infield fly-balls are almost automatic outs, and there is a difference between weak fly-balls versus deep or "hard" fly-balls. Just looking at ground-ball to fly-ball ratio can be misleading sometimes if you ignore the quality of those fly-balls. So I decided to keep count of weak fly-outs versus deep fly-outs. According to my count, he got 4 weak fly-balls and just 1 deep fly-ball. The deep fly-ball was a homer to lead-off the 8th. I was a little surprised they let him pitch into the 8th, as it was a close game, and he had to bat in the bottom of the 7th. He fell behind the next hitter 3-0 before getting the batter out. Overall, he got a lot of grounders, more than he got fly-balls. I thought he did a good job of working both high and low overall, mixing his pitches. He didn't get many swing and misses on the fastball, it may be too predictable, meaning he may have to start working it in different locations. He gave up a line drive double to Bixler in the 3rd with 2 outs on a fastball down the middle. The curveball is just nasty, especially once you consider the speed differential he gets between it and the fastball. This and his hard splitter seems to be his out pitch. He got 11 strikeouts in the game, and even if 2 were to the opposing pitcher (Aneury Rodriquez), it was pretty impressive. He also has a change-up that he has a lot of confidence in, which he showed when he got behind 2-0 and threw one in the middle of a plate for a strike. He ended up striking out the batter (Jimmy Paredas) on a splitter way out of the zone, but the ball got away from the catcher and extended the 3rd inning. He responded by striking out the next guy on a splitter. The 4th was pretty easy with a ground-ball, another ground-ball, and a strikeout. He really can throw all his pitches for strikes (other than his splitter, which you really don't want for strikes anyway). The best example may have been in a 3-2 count where he threw a curve in the 5th. It ended up being a ball and a walk (his only walk) but it speaks to how advanced he is as a pitcher in my opinion (he would go on to strikeout the next hitter on the curve). He was really impressive, as his line showed: 8 innings, 4 hits, 1 run.