You could say last night went as well as could be expected.
Not only did Wade Miley do his best impression of himself, but Chris Sale recorded strikeout number 300 in the concluding inning of an eight inning, 13 strikeout shellacking.
Would a post-op Tim Beckham and an under the weather Manny Machado have helped? Surely. But with the way things have dominoed over the past two weeks, it probably wouldn’t have mattered.
Captain Hindsight would tell you this thing was over a while ago.
Lost in the commotion of the Orioles getting carved up like a ‘76 throwback and Orioles Twitter fruitlessly bickering about who needs to be fired for a lot of players sucking, Tanner Scott made his big league debut. Compared to everything we’ve heard about him, it was as weird as we hoped it would be.
If you’re familiar with the reporting and scouting on Scott, you know he’s always been comprised of “great stuff” and “bad control”. In a 28-pitch, one inning debut where Scott surrendered two earned runs on two hits, two walks and a strikeout, we pretty much saw what we were told. You could make the argument there was more bad than good in Scott’s first Oriole appearance, and there’s enough evidence to sway the jury in your favor.
Still, you could see why the Orioles have been so willing to accommodate his development.
To me, Scott looks like Royals pitcher Danny Duffy, but with more velo and a lot less polish. Like Duffy, the ball just flies out of his Scott’s hand, and that’s a rather seductive trait when it comes to pitchers. This is the first time I’ve seen Scott actually pitch, and it’s amazing how mildly he shifts from his delivery to triple digits.
This fastball to Sandy Leon could easily be labeled the best he threw last night. When a team has a player under years of contractual control who can dot a 100 MPH heater down-and-in for a strike, it’s OK to get excited. But in Scott’s case, pump the brakes.
With so few fastballs threatening the strike zone, even a pitcher with plus-velocity like Scott can be abused when working up around the belt. Though Sam Travis’ leadoff single was a lucky check swing, a veteran hitter like Pedroia did exactly what a good veteran hitter does, taking a 99 MPH fastball up and smoking it to right field.
Compound timely hitting with walk-allowed baserunners, and you pretty much get what you deserve.
Even so, it’s hard not to focus on the product itself.
Scott just looks like a pitcher, driving toward home plate with a simplicity that appears to be tweakable. For example, he is a little wide open with his front side, which can explain him pulling the baseball to his glove side. I’m not a really big fan of the way he cocks the baseball, either.
Like Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, the Orioles have a history of teaching pitchers to extend their pitching arm down, not outward like Scott, at the conclusion of one’s load. So perhaps there’s more work to be done in that regard.
Let’s say the extended outings at Bowie and more gradual repetitions eventually settle Scott into his delivery. A more repeatable delivery creates more consistent fastball command, and more fastball command means more outs when you throw as hard Scott does. Even in the future hypothetical that Scott manages to become a guy with mere average command, he’ll have the chance to show off the kind of power slider he did last night.
Deven Marrero gets so discombobulated by this heavy slider because he’s trying to cover an upper 90’s fastball. He swings and misses three times at the slider because Marrero has to cheat to get out in front of 99 MPH. That’s what velocity does. That’s why it’s in the Scott’s best interest to work out these kinks in his control.
Command makes both pitches that much more effective, inside and outside the strike zone. Velocity is more prevalent than it’s ever been, but lefties like Scott are still the more prized fish in the sea.
It’s one outing, better yet his first outing, so it doesn’t really prove much, but it’s super obvious as to why the Orioles wanted to get a look at him. As the O’s are abundant in generics, Scott is a talent that may be rushed to fill a void he may not be ready to fill just yet.
Though, one can hope someday he will be.