Mark Sappington is the 8th best prospect in the weak (usually considered the worst minor league system in baseball) Angels organization according to Mark Anderson.
gets that ranking with his big time fastball, that would be (by using
his average fastball velocity in his Pitch F/X outing) in the top 8 % of
relief fastballs in the Majors, closest to Wily Peralta and Josh
Johnson pitching in relief. Adam Russell is the closest real reliever to
Sappington. Comparatively, the horizontally fastball movement that he
showed in the Pitch F/X outing was actually better than his velocity.
The vertical movement was less elite, but still well above average.
slider velocity is similarly, though not quite as, elite, in the top
17.6 % of sliders. However, he didn't show much movement with it, and it
got a really weird amount of spin at times:
sliders don't have that much spin, in fact, it is hard to have more
spin than that. When you look at some really good MLB sliders, such as Mark Rogers and Yu Darvish, you see that they do not get much spin on their sliders. Slider movement is not dictated by spin, as we see with Sappington,
and more spin can actually make it a worse pitch. You see that one of
his sliders had a normal amount of spin, but it was the others that had
high spin. Maybe he just messed up 4 out of 5 times (though the weird
release point differences were on his fastball). He is, after all, a
young pitcher, a 2012 draftee in the 5th round. We didn't see Sappington's change that Anderson talks about in the article linked to above.
has a high release point (over 6 feet 6 inches on average) that
probably helps his fastball sink (that is what Anderson believes,though
again, it was the horizontal movement that was actually better than the
vertical movement comparatively). It does come out quite a bit, over two
feet most of the time. It was also inconsistent, which isn't
surprising. The horizontal release point probably is one of the reasons
that he gets so much horizontal movement on his fastball, and as you can
see in his outing, he was working mostly middle to glove side.
R.J. Alvarez is
the 7th best Angels' prospect (a 3rd round pick in 2012, though that was
the Angels first pick) according to Anderson, and has reportedly "touched triple digits". He
didn't really get close to this in the outing, but he averaged 96.61
MPH, an even better fastball (hence the better ranking) than Sappington.
Alvarez' fastball also gets very good vertical movement.
is no list of a curveball for Alvarez from Anderson, but the breaking
pitch he threw had (a lot) of top spin, so it is probably truly a
curveball and not the slider Anderson calls it. The curve is about
average in velocity compared to other relief pitchers in the Majors. He also has a changeup that we didn't see, but evidently it isn't good anyway. He releases the ball slightly under 6 feet, but at around 1.5 feet horizontally on average, it isn't sidearm by any means.
his fastball is better than Sappington's, he doesn't get on top of the
ball as well, and Alvarez' breaking pitches aren't as good as
Sappington's. It is really hard to argue with that fastball though.
Also, for what it is worth, he did keep his fastball low in his short outing,
though that kind of fastball is probably best thrown high in order to
get whiffs. His curveball was the pitch he threw high, but it is clear
that he just lost the release point on it.
Oye doesn't really fit in with the other two pitchers, as he isn't a
ranked prospect in the system or much of a prospect at all in the
traditional sense of the term. He is already 27, but he has good size at 6-5 230. He strangely got more starts than he ever
had before in 2012.
His fastball velocity was closest to
Dylan Axelrod and Brian Sanches, which fits into the bottom 15 percent
of relief pitchers since 2007. He is clearly not a hard thrower like Alvarez or Sappington.
Oye does get good
vertical movement on his fastball (the horizontal movement is a little
weird, and sometimes in Arizona it turns out that way for some reason,
so we will ignore it for now), similar to Pedro Strop, Kiko Calero, and
Stephen Pryor, all whom have/had good whiff fastballs (even with some
pretty extreme variance in velocity).
The only breaking
pitch he has shown in Pitch F/X is a slider at 81.25 MPH. This is in the
slowest 21 % of sliders. He also gets very little horizontal movement,
and gets unconventional topspin on his slider. The traditional MLB AM
tags does something much different in classification, perhaps because of
this topspin, saying he threw one change and one curve. I doubt he
throws an 80 MPH curve, just because pitchers that throw 80 MPH
curveballs usually have harder fastballs than Oye has. However, it is
hard to call them both changes, as they both moved so differently, both
vertically and horizontally.
He doesn't release the
ball high (just at 6 foot), but is not hardly out at all either, closer
to his body than either Sappington or Alvarez.
consistency seems to show that he is much closer to pitching in the
Majors than Alvarez or Sappington, which obviously isn't surprising.
With some consistency and command, it isn't hard to believe that Oye
would be able to get some hitters out in the big leagues in low leverage
roles. He certainly doesn't have the ceiling of the previous two, but
may be able to help the weak looking bullpen in 2013.