The other day the ever-informative Keith Law was on the Darren Smith Show, and regarding Dinelson Lamet, he said this:
I think he’s going to be a very good reliever, in time. He has no third pitch to speak of to be able to get lefties out. He didn’t get lefties out in the minors, this year or last year. It’s fastball, breaking ball. They’re both pretty good.
Beyond just Law, I’ve heard a couple of other references to Lamet either not having a changeup at all or not having a good one.
First off, Law’s mostly right about Lamet’s struggles against lefties in the minors. This year, in Triple-A El Paso, Lamet surrendered an .808 OPS to lefties, with 27 strikeouts to 14 walks. Last year, spread between three levels, he allowed a much better .688 OPS against lefties, but recorded just 43 strikeouts and 31 walks in 233 plate appearances against the species (compared to 115 strikeouts and 30 walks in 396 PAs vs. righties).
There’s an argument there, considering pitching environments and small samples, that Lamet actually improved against lefties this year in El Paso. Despite the jump in OPS, his strikeout rate vs. lefties skyrocketed from 18.5 percent in 2016 to 26.7 percent in 2017; his walk rate stayed the same, bumping up from 13.3 percent in ’16 to 13.9 percent in ’17.
Anyway, the other (more important) thing: Lamet definitely has a changeup. According to Brooks Baseball, he’s thrown it 14.1 percent of the time over his first two starts in the majors. FanGraphs has it at either 15.1 or 16.9 percent, based on their two pitch classification methods. Let’s call it 15 percent, but it’s there.
But is it any good?
It’s Prospect Week here at Padres Public, so I’ve decided to pop my head out of my apocalypse bunker, at great risk to my own personal safety, to discuss a matter of great import: whether or not Hunter Renfroe is actually going to be good. This message may self-destruct at any moment, so please read quickly but carefully.
Last week, ESPN Baseball Senior Writer, prospect analyst, and Top Chef enthusiast Keith Law released his top 100 prospects for 2017 ($). There was a bit of controversy surrounding Law’s list, as he ranked newly acquired White Sox uber-prospect Yoan Moncada, seen by many/most as a top 5 prospect, #17 on his list, noting Moncada’s ridiculous upside but worrying about his low contact rate. Responding to a reader question about Moncada’s strikeout rate, Law noted that “it’s not just the number, but how a player ends up there,” a suggestion that Moncada’s strikeouts are rooted in a deeper, more troubling problem, such as pitch recognition and/or plate discipline, or problems with his swing mechanics.
Over the weekend, MLB.com released their own top 100 prospect ranking for 2017, and on that list Moncada was 2nd only to his former organization’s top prospect, Andrew Benintendi, with no mention of any problems with his contact rate, and actually noting his increased patience in the 2nd half of the season as one of his many positives.
What makes this relevant to you, Padres fans, is that a very similar difference of opinion seems to have been a major reason in the range of rankings in Padres OF prospect Hunter Renfroe this off-season. Renfroe ranked 42nd on MLB.com’s list while, for the 2nd year in a row, he did not rank on Law’s top 100 list.
Padres agree to 6-player trade with Rays*
The news broke late Tuesday night that the Padres and Tampa Bay Rays had agreed to a trade involving Logan Forsythe going to Tampa Bay for Alex Torres.
Padres fans awoke Wednesday to find more details had come to light.