In today’s post, I’m catching up to a few random thoughts that I’ve had over the past week, but haven’t had the time to get to.
Brad Penny’s Velocity
Before the Giants signed Brad Penny, one of the positive indicators that he had going for him was that his velocity was still regularly in the mid-90′s. Penny ended up throwing 8 innings of shut out baseball in his Giants debut and the velocity was as advertised. Let’s take a quick look at his velocity plot.
Penny’s average FB velocity on the night was 94.4 mph, with his top offering clocked at 96.9 mph. Penny has thrown his fastball over 70% of the time this year, but in his Philly start he dialed it’s usage back to 67% — 68 of his 102 total pitches were fastballs. Depending on how Penny finishes out the year, I wouldn’t be opposed to offering him arbitration. He could rank as a Type B free agent in the NL and his raw stuff is still good enough to make him a league average pitcher.
Speaking of heat, Dan Ruznler made his major league debut on Friday night against the Brewers. With two runners on in the bottom of the 6th inning and Jody Gerut at the plate, Runzler showed why he made such a quick ascent to the majors this season. Runzler needed just 3 fastballs to retire Gerut. The velocity on those 3 fastballs? 95.4, 95.6, and 96.1 mph. Runzler own’s a career minor league K/9 of 12. There’s been no doubt about the quality of his stuff, but finding the zone will be key for him.
Brian Wilson Improving
I’ve maybe been more critical of Brian Wilson than any other Giant over the past couple of years. His 2008 season was good, but his 41 saves had some people overvaluing how good he really was in. Don’t get me wrong, his 3.91 FIP was solid last year, but nowhere near the top for elite closers. His WAR of .6 wins last season ranked him among relievers like Octavio Dotel and Kevin Gregg. Solid bullpen arms indeed, but not top flight talent.
In 2009 Wilson has been one of the best relievers in baseball. Wilson has added nearly 1 mph to his fastball this year, he cut his walks to under 4 per 9 innings, and he’s slightly boosted his K/9 by .3 strikeouts. The result is a 2.47 FIP and 2.3 wins added to the team. For relievers, +2 wins is the threshold for top talent in the game. You need a combination of dominance and high leveraged success to break +2 wins. Both are things that Wilson has done well this year. Only Jonathan Broxton and his 2.4 wins have been better.
Congrats to Brian Wilson on an excellent season. The Giants look to have their fist dominant closer since Robb Nen left.