Sunday, March 10, 2013

Michael Hager Scouting Report

Michael Hager is a large Righty (6-5 230!) that pitches for Pacific College. As a sophomore, he is not eligible for the MLB Draft until 2014. Hager wasn't drafted out of high school, but was a real control specialist in 2012 as a freshman, not walking hardly anyone but not really striking anyone out either. He is already "filled out" so fastball velocity may not get much harder, which as you will see, is a little disappointing.
He has a pretty standard delivery, the leg gets pretty high, but I doubt he is really going to get deception. Here is some video of his delivery:

I saw him pitch against TCU, which certainly is not as good as the team they had last year, but is still a decent big time baseball program. Here is his pitch data:

It was really hard to differentiate fastballs and the harder off-speed based on velocity late in the game as his fastball regressed so badly. If you just sort the velocity by inning, and don't differentiate pitches, his velocity breaks down like this:

1: 86.8
2: 84.47
3: 84
4: 80.83
5: 81.71
6: 81.76
7: 82.54

As you can see, he dropped each inning for the first 4 innings and his best velocity inning was the first. He then pumped his velocity up a little bit in the 7th before he exited. Of course, this has the bias of penalizing him for throwing more breaking balls late in the game, so let's count the number of pitches under 80 MPH for each inning.

1: 3
2: 2
3: 2
4: 5
5: 5
6: 5
7: 3

This helps explain it somewhat, but let's look at max velocity for each inning:

1: 91
2: 87
3: 87
4: 87
5: 87
6: 87
7: 87

So in the first inning, he was throwing up to MLB average velocity, but didn't throw a pitch over 87 for the rest of the game. Some of the fastballs sank, so I bet if you asked him, he throws a sinker as well, but it is easier to just classify everything as just fastballs, and helps us limit some mistakes.

A lot of the slower ones in the mid 70s broke like a change, but that is a pretty slow change. He spiked a few of them, and they broke more vertically than horizontally (although at least one had good horizontal movement). The harder breaking ball in the low 80s was probably the change

His average pitch thrown was 83.53 MPH, which is closest to Shawn Chacon when looking at right-handed MLB starters in the Pitch F/X era. Chacon was below replacement level in 2007 and 2008 (his only two Pitch F/X seasons). This fits into the bottom third of MLBers.

At the risk of misclassifications, here is how I see his pitch breakdown and their comparisons:

69 fastballs (63.8 %, Phil Hughes) 85-91 MPH range, 86.9 MPH average (2007-2008 Mike Mussina)

12 changeups (11.1 %, Philip Humber) 82-84 MPH range, 83.5 MPH average (Jason Berken)
25 curves (23.1 %, Brett Myers, Philip Humber is actually close) 73-77 MPH range, 74.24 MPH average (Jeremy Guthrie)
Here were his results in 108 pitches:
43 Balls
3 Bunts
3 Fly-ball Outs, 4 Fly-ball hits
16 fouls (2 for outs)
10 GBs (7 for outs)
19 called strikes
8 whiffs
Obviously the whiff percentage is low (7.4 %), but isn't surprising considering what we saw last year. For a control guy, his strike percentage was pretty low (58.33 %). Both HBP came against lefties on soft breaking balls, suggesting he didn't have command of that pitch. This shows something Jason Parks pointed on in an interview, even guys that we consider to have good control in college, don't actually have good control when compared to MLB players.
Hager did get grounders with 10 of his 17 non-bunt batted balls staying on the ground (and 30% of them going through, about what you would expect).
How about results based on splits?:
22 Balls
2 Bunts
1 Fly-ball Out, 1 fly-ball hit
8 fouls
3 GB (all outs)
8 called strikes
4 whiffs
21 Balls
1 bunt
8 fouls (2 foul outs)
3 GB hits, 4 GB outs
3 fly-ball hits,2 fly-ball outs
11 called strikes
4 whiffs
He threw strikes to lefties 56.9 % of the time, and he threw strikes to righties 63.2 % of the time, a much more acceptable rate. He was a groundball pitcher to both, and had a slightly better whiff percentage against lefties (the same amount of whiffs in 6 less pitches). Amazingly, TCU bunted twice in play with lefties, more than they did with righties.
When you look at pitch selection, his average pitch was 83.36 MPH against lefties, and 83.68 MPH against righties, not much of a difference, but predictably a little softer against lefties. He threw 13 of the below 80 MPH pitches against righties, and 12 against lefties, suggesting platoon advantage or not doesn't dictate his usage of his slowest pitch. If you look at the 82-84 MPH pitch (which is what looked like his change), he threw 9 against lefties and 3 against righties. This pitch is what was dictated by platoon advantage (like a change normally is).
Here is how he pitched to lefties (as always, no strike/no strike bias, catcher point of view): 
9 5 4
5 2 1
8 12 5
Here is how he pitched to righties:
4 5 3
3 5 2
9 20 6

Surprisingly (to me anyway), he pitched low more to righties and high more to lefties. This could be because he was throwing more sinkers to righties and wasn't exactly executing his changeup location anyway. I think he did a solid job of keeping it out of the middle of the plate, deciding to work high or low. With his velocity/stuff, he needs to keep the ball low.

Overall when looking at Hager, before even looking at the advanced data, we see a guy who is big but doesn't offer much projection, doesn't miss bats, doesn't throw very hard, and is right-handed. Unfortunately, and he isn't eligible for the draft this year anyway, that isn't much of a prospect. If he throws some more strikes than what I saw him throw, and he keeps not walking many hitters like he did in 2012, than he is draftable, but not very high.

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