I'm in a position where I'll get to see major league pitchers pretty regularly from behind home plate in San Francisco. Now it isn't behind home plate as in a few rows back with a radar gun, but I get to see the live action and watch every pitch on delay if I want to, too. So I get pretty good looks.
Today, I decided to jot down scouting notes on each of the starting pitchers in the Rockies at Giants game, Jorge De La Rosa and Ryan Vogelsong. It's an exercise that's great for staying sharp in terms of what to compare prospects to. And I've been asked by a number of readers for regular scouting info on big leaguers. Here it goes...
Jorge De La Rosa
On pace for his fifth consecutive 20+ start season De La Rosa has swing-and-miss stuff. Nothing he throws is straight, but he can get a little wild. Slow and delibertate in his delivery, he's able to create some deception by letting his glove arm fly up and out as he comes toward the hitter.
De La Rosa works slowly and isn't sharp with his fastball command. He's the type of pitcher who hitters will take a lot of pitches from in hopes that he'll dig himself in a hole. Then there's also the fact that he doesn't have any one pitch that hitter's can sit back and wait for.
His 92-94 MPH fastball has decent tail and some sink. He mixes in his swing-and-miss changeup regularly, commanding it better than his fastball often times. De La Rosa also throws a big, slow curveball and a harder sharper breaking ball (slider). His breaking balls both keep hitters guessing but neither is a big strikeout pitch.
De La Rosa's best attribute is that he can make mistakes in the zone because his stuff is really good. On the flip side, he'll waste a lot of pitches when he doesn't have his fastball command, and he'll have plenty of innings where he gets completely derailed. But he can get right back on track just as quickly as he got off it.
If you're a De La Rosa fantasy owner -- or thinking about becoming one -- know that he isn't going to be a consistent No. 1-2 pitcher who goes deep into ball games. He's going to tease and torment you. But hey, how many pitchers out there are a near lock to get 5+ strikeouts an outing and give up fewer hits than innings pitched?
I went to the ballpark today a little bummed that I was catching Vogelsong instead of one of the Giants' big arms. Then he goes out and throws 5.0 perfect innings and looks friggin awesome. Who knew?
No really, who knew?
Vogelsong was out of affiliated baseball from 2007 to 2009, when he spent three seasons pitching in Japan. Since 2010, he's had contracts with three MLB teams (the Phillies, Angels and Giants, in that order). I'm writing about the 33-year-old now because he's going to be around again for a little while longer.
Vogelsong attacks hitters with a fastball/breaking ball combo. He'll throw a changeup, but rarely. He throws both a two-seam fastball and a four-seamer, both of which sit in the low-90s and touch 92 MPH. He threw his four-seamer in counts where he was trying to sneak one by a hitter with speed and location today. His two-seamer is more a pitch he can challenge hitters with anywhere in the zone. His curveball looked very good to me today, big and arcing. He has had more success getting hitters to chase and swing through his hard slider than curveball.
Though he's not exactly a sharp, strike-thrower, Vogelsong has good stuff. A former top prospect and 26-game starter for the Pirates, he has learned to sacrifice velocity for movement, and it's working.
He can get a little wild at times and he isn't a guy who I see going deep into ball games regularly, but Vogelsong is worth a serious look in most fantasy formats. I think there's a very good chance that he sticks in the Giants' rotation and Barry Zito becomes the team's long man upon return. Vogelsong is a quality big league starter right now who will strike batters out. He isn't some spot-start Triple-A veteran. He's a former legit prospect who just took a decade to figure things out. He could be fantasy gold this season.