Visionary Approach..that seems to really work


#1

Well it’s produced a solid starter and a closer with the very best slide-piece in the game…Look for a whole bunch more of this…and why not?
Thoughts??

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20101105&content_id=16008284&vkey=news_chc&c_id=chc


#2

[quote=“jdfromfla”]Well it’s produced a solid starter and a closer with the very best slide-piece in the game…Look for a whole bunch more of this…and why not?
Thoughts?? [/quote]

If you’re talking about converting a position player to a pitcher, to the best of my knowledge its not something new. My friend has told me about players in the 40’s thru the 70’s when he was in the game going both P to Pos and Pos to P.

Is there something special about this guy that makes him different?


#3

No just the trend the Cubs seem to be displaying here, sure, as I mentioned on Danramos’ thread…I don’t believe anything is “new” in baseball ( I just see the business side of the game saying…“Hey you schmucks just might be on to something here”), but instead of just letting a canny intelligent non-hitting catcher fall to the way side they are now showing that they have enough “common sense” to attempt to develop that skill and some (3) so far are getting big league shots and it’s proving out (In those bygone eras they were never as specialized as today)…these guys (Wells and Marmol) are proving to be excellent hi quality major league players…and they are getting them for a song…contrast that with some of the ballyhooed new commers think S Strasberg (I’m sorry I can never seem to spell him right)…you get a smart, inexpensive quality guy. Wells had close to 200 innings and had won in the double digits of the past couple of years and Marmol is just flat sick…like I said the very best slide-piece in the game and I believe you have a certain receipe for a trend change…I mean why dump all that salary on a phenom when you can develop 20 like these and come up with a higher percentage of gems for the $$…and then who cares if they get injured…heck throw em 300 and get 10 more…
Marmol gets his giddy-up goin but Wells and the guy mentioned in the piece are right at 90…my son throws faster…hope I say for the determined average kid…I really love it.


#4

[quote=“jdfromfla”]No just the trend the Cubs seem to be displaying here, sure, as I mentioned on Danramos’ thread…I don’t believe anything is “new” in baseball ( I just see the business side of the game saying…“Hey you schmucks just might be on to something here”), but instead of just letting a canny intelligent non-hitting catcher fall to the way side they are now showing that they have enough “common sense” to attempt to develop that skill and some (3) so far are getting big league shots and it’s proving out (In those bygone eras they were never as specialized as today)…these guys (Wells and Marmol) are proving to be excellent hi quality major league players…and they are getting them for a song…contrast that with some of the ballyhooed new commers think S Strasberg (I’m sorry I can never seem to spell him right)…you get a smart, inexpensive quality guy. Wells had close to 200 innings and had won in the double digits of the past couple of years and Marmol is just flat sick…like I said the very best slide-piece in the game and I believe you have a certain receipe for a trend change…I mean why dump all that salary on a phenom when you can develop 20 like these and come up with a higher percentage of gems for the $$…and then who cares if they get injured…heck throw em 300 and get 10 more…
Marmol gets his giddy-up goin but Wells and the guy mentioned in the piece are right at 90…my son throws faster…hope I say for the determined average kid…I really love it.[/quote]

Just goes ta show ya, that different people with different perspectives see things differently.

Look at how much money that guy’s dad wasted on hitting and catching lessons, saved on pitching lessons, and still managed to get into the show! :wink: Think about it. How many dad’s out there, including me, have dropped thousands on pitching lessons from when Jr turned 8 or 9YO? (At least I didn’t drop one dime until mine was going on 14.) But all that money and angst is for what?

The way it looks is, once a guy is fully physically and mentally mature, he can be made into just about anything, given the proper set of circumstances. :wink:


#5

[quote=“scorekeeper”]

The way it looks is, once a guy is fully physically and mentally mature, he can be made into just about anything, given the proper set of circumstances. ;)[/quote]

:o ?


#6

Wow the Cubs would do anything now a days.


#7

[quote=“shoshonte”][quote=“scorekeeper”]

The way it looks is, once a guy is fully physically and mentally mature, he can be made into just about anything, given the proper set of circumstances. ;)[/quote]

:o ?[/quote]

Sorry I wasn’t clear.

If its so easy to take position players and turn them into ML pitchers, why bother spending all the time and money trying to develop them from 8 to 18? Just let them play and get good at a position, and maybe toss a few innings here or there, while all the time having them develop a strong throwing arm. Then once they get to the higher levels, the ones with the most promise can be cherry picked and turned into pitchers.

Look at all the advantages. Rather than getting questionable advice from loads of people on the way up, putting lots of stress and strain on the arm, they can wait until they get to where the coaches are top notch, then start the process with a totally fresh arm, free or all the worry about growth plates and such.


#8

This is indeed part of my point SK, perhaps it is an indication of the pendulum starting to swing the other way…makes me wonder at the greats who were left behind because of this “specialization” of kids. My boy became a pitcher only early, we let his hitting fall away (Though he was still an outstanding fielder SS/2b).
This is actually consistant with my college coach friends…they always wanted less specialization/more athleticism and diversity particularly at the pre-pubescent years.

Wells was 35-17 (He makes less than $400k) in the minors and even with the Cubs crap for year last year hes 20-24 in the majors, with 365 innings…that is attention getting…
Marmol (He makes $400k) has 61 saves in two years with a stunning 11.68 k’s per 9, less than .67 bb per 9, keeping in mind he was a set-up guy for the first 2 of his 4 years he will likey be one of the top 5 paid closers in the game when he gets to his 1st non-minimum contract.

This and obviously having a guy in the pipeline with the same circumstances means that there really isn’t any way that the Pittsburgs and any other dollar poor team won’t be starting down this road.
I really hope this is the case…maybe Marshalls dream of injury free pitching just needed a paradym shift…though as anyone who has read him at all knows, he advocates against young kids pitching really before post-puberty (I think his most extreme comment was not until late in HS)…in the context of the previous “conventional wisdom”, a seemingly impossible thought but considering this development, a profile resembling what sk mentioned might bring it closer to the realm of reality.


#9

In his youth in Panama, Mariano Rivera was a soccer player, shortstop, and commercial fisherman on his father’s fishing boat. He wanted to be a professional soccer player but had several ankle injuries that held him back.

Check out how he ended up a pitcher with the Yankees:

“As a SHORTSTOP in 1988, Rivera began to play baseball for an amateur team, Panamá Oeste, representing his local district. Herb Raybourn, the New York Yankees’ director of Latin American operations, saw athleticism in Rivera but DID NOT PROJECT HIM TO BE A MAJOR LEAGUE SHORTSTOP. A year later, Panamá Oeste’s pitcher performed so poorly that Rivera volunteered to pitch. He excelled at the position, prompting his teammates to contact Yankees scout Chico Heron. Two weeks later, Rivera was invited to a Yankees tryout camp in Panama City where Raybourn was visiting. Raybourn was surprised to find Rivera pitching at the camp, since SCOUTS PASSED ON HIM AS A SHORTSTOP A YEAR PRIOR. Although Rivera HAD NO FORMAL PITCHING TRAINING and threw only 85–87 miles per hour, Raybourn was impressed by Rivera’s athleticism and smooth pitching motion, along with the ease with which he threw. Viewing Rivera as a raw talent, Raybourn signed the amateur free agent to a contract with a US $3,000 signing bonus on February 17, 1990.”

Makes you wonder about parental obsession with year round baseball, pitching coaches, etc.

Perhaps we should all fish more with our sons?


#10

The Cardinals have Jason Motte who was a catcher for a few years in the minors before being converted into a relief pitcher. He has done pretty well as a setup guy.


#11

I have heard of several position players who have been converted into starters. Rick Ankiel was a pitcher who was converted into a position player (center field) and he excelled in his new position.


#12

The position player to pitcher move is actually a fairly common one with many teams. You take guys with good arms who can’t hit and throw them on the mound instead of releasing them. Nyman’s theory on pitching instruction “screwing guys up” applies here. A 22 year old catcher has no “bad” pitching instruction to fall back on. Just get up there and chuck it. That can be a huge advantage in the transition.


#13

Ankiel suddenly lost his control, and had to be moved to the outfield.
He had excellent defense in center field.
He did strike out alot, as do alot of power hitters.


#14

Wells and Marmol were catchers when I played with them. (I pitched to both in the minors.)

Remember, too, Ankiel was one HECK of an all-around baseball player as an amateur. He focused on pitching in pro ball, but for Team USA he hit clean up and played other positions.

I think the lesson is that kids shouldn’t specialize too early cause you never know WHAT position you’ll play and all skills learned a every position are transferable, in my opinion.

BTW, the Cards’ minor league team Ankiel pitched for early on in his career shared the same stadium as my college team in Peoria, IL. I got to watch him practice, throw bullpens and pitch in the Midwest League that spring/summer and he literally had the best curveball I’ve ever seen. Period. It was plain nasty and you could hear the seams through the air…


#15

Exactly right!

P - what else does Nyman say about screwing guys up … Can you provide a little more about his ideas…


#16

Its on tcmac’s sig;


#17

Can you elaborate?


#18

Not to step in on Palo, as I just noted, Paul has been very vocal about internet “experts” and folks who haven’t the skillset or experience to “teach pitching” getting credability, his quote really surmises the entirety of the thought…better to not receive instruction than to recieve “bad” instruction.
He keeps it simple and direct…


#19

JD summed it up.


#20

I may be getting off topic, so forgive me … but It’s tough to quantify who’s good and who’s not honestly. The thing is, in pro ball we’re seeing TONS of Dominican pitchers who throw very hard/well. But what you don’t see is that these kids have actually been coached at MLB academies set up in the DR since they were 13 and 14 years old. So a lot of these kids weren’t actually “left alone” to develop. And they aren’t throwing rocks and stones in the streets with no shoes like folklore would have you believe, etc, etc. Rather, they’ve been getting instruction/guidance for many years, just like US kids. They just don’t have as many distractions … so their best athletes all play baseball. Our best athletes are spread out over DOZENS of different sports.