Asking for info and opinions from baseball fans I respect. I saw Graveman Friday but was at the Express game yesterday from about 4pm on so did not see any of the game. Tell me your thoughts on Maton and Garcia. I do not mean results; I know Maton was a bit wild, and Garcia gave up a homer. First time out, new team, no big deal. Please evaluate their stuff and their arms. Thanks.
BTW, the Express honored the Austin Black Senators last night, and the experience was so fun for me. Not only because Mike asked me to do the game but also because I am quite interested in Negro Leagues history and have been to the Museum in KC a couple of times. Mike (a former Emmy-nominated journalist) did a fabulous telephone interview with Bob Kendrick, who is the Director and Curator of the Museum, the Express players were decked out in Black Senators uniforms and caps (maybe authentic, maybe not, research on Black Senators baseball is difficult because White newspapers in Austin ignored it), the team played the game as “Austin Black Senators,” not the Express (which Mike successfully fought to remember in his pbp), there was a ton of Black Senators merchandise in the store, and the Black Senators won the game 6-3 on a 7th inning 3-run homer.
I saved the best thing for last: the Round Rock Express will create an endowed Willie Wells Memorial Scholarship at Huston-Tillotson University, which began its existence as a segregated black college. Back in the day, I played a game or two on the H-T baseball field on which Willie Wells and other Negro Leagues players also played before baseball integrated. For me, a history buff, that is very cool.
Last night was a great evening for JimR in Round Rock, Texas.
Maton’s breaking stuff shows promise. I was going to mention his slider, but Statcast says the only breaking ball he used was the curveball… though, I’m pretty sure he threw a few sliders. He threw the curve/slider about 77-78 mph. In the past, it looks like he has thrown his slider around 82-83. Perhaps Strom suggested he take a bit off the slider to disguise it better with his curveball… which may have fooled the statcast computers.
The slider (or the pitch that I’m calling a slider) had a bit tighter, horizontal break, and he was attempting to bust it low and inside on lefties. It looked like he was overthrowing that pitch a bit, missing off the plate, and caught one lefty on the back foot.
His curveball had very little horizontal break, but dropped considerably more. He had a 92-94 mph fastball with a bit of hop.
The velo delta is pretty wide between his FB and breaking stuff, so it looks like he is relying on either (1) movement of his breaking stuff to miss bats, or (2) sneaking a FB past hitters after a bunch of slower breaking stuff… as opposed to disguising pitches to fool hitters. But, as mentioned above, that may be something they are working on.
In all, he looks to be a pretty good 5-6th inning guy. If he can refine his command of the breaking stuff, I could see him as a higher leverage guy. I’d say he’s probably in competition with Stanek as the 3rd/4th best option out of the pen right now.
Wasn’t able to watch Maton other than the first batter he faced.
Garcia has a pretty lively arm. Seems like he’s gonna be a guy who actually does throw 4 pitches. He threw mostly sliders to Yaz including for the HR which wasn’t a terrible pitch, caught a bit too much of the plate but not like a hanging slider or cement mixer. Made really quick work of Ruf with 2 well placed mid 90s fastballs and then a nasty curve for the strikeout. He also threw two changeups to Crawford.
First thing I notice about Maton is the movement. Easily as much as Javier and Abreu. Also, he came in with a runner on first but his facial expressions and body language were calm throughout the outing even after loading the bases. Outside of the chintz little weak liner to CF nobody was able to square up any of the pitches. Even early in the count, pitches in the zone were fouled off. His final pitch ended up being a breaking ball that was several inches inside, but hitter was unable to lay off it and 3rd base umpire saw it that way too. Just the fact that 1) he had confidence to throw that full count, bases loaded and 2) that hitters looked silly swinging at stuff outside the zone really impressed me.
With Garcia, Maldy set up away on every pitch. The first 3 missed very much on inner half. After that he was closer to the target. Yaz hit a slider at very bottom of zone for HR. He came back with same pitch, but sharper down out of the zone to K Ruf. But the 3 ball vs 1 ball counts could have influenced location. Bigger FB than Maton and still got swing and miss on it and change-up ( from Crawford).
I would like to see Maton and Graveman being the “need this fucking out right here” guys and Garcia and Stanek being the clean inning 7th/8th guys if Graveman has already been used to get out of a tight spot. I would hate to see Graveman only used in the 8th with a lead. He should be first option for the biggest out of the game whether that be in the 6th, 7th or 8th inning depending on the game. The Will Harris role from 19
I was really impressed by the movement on Maton’s pitches. His fastball is “only” at 93 or so, but seems to have a little movement at the end that keeps people from nailing it. And as others have mentioned, the breaking pitches (I also think that at least some of them were sliders) moved a LOT.