Wednesday, September 12, 2007

They also get paid to write this

UPDATED - with less snark and a key fact I missed at first.

Here's an example of the actual work of the BaseLine Report:

In an attept to scout a major league player (NY Yankees rhp/Philip Hughes), submitted 9/6/07 by Keith Law:

Why is Hughes’ stuff down? One possibility is that his left leg is still causing him trouble, since both the hamstring injury that landed him on the DL and the ankle injury that kept him there were to his left leg. His landing is now very soft, and it looked like he was babying that leg rather than landing firmly and pushing off that leg as he drives through his delivery. If the leg is indeed still bothering him, it would explain both the loss of velocity and the lack of sharpness on his curveball.

It seems like a perfectly reasonable observation, based on seeing the pitcher and knowing his history. In this case, it also carries the weight of some authority, since Mr. Law is a senior baseball analyst with Scouts Inc. If you thought that there was another possibility - say, for example, that Hughes was physically sound but struggling with his mechanics from nerves - how would you say this? HINT - they called Mr. Law's message "an attempt to scout."

Baseline Correction -

NOT "Baseline Observation" or "Mike Replies" or "Adam Says". No, this is a CORRECTION. You, Mr. Law, are wrong-o.

Hughes’s leg if fine just ask the trainers, the problem with his mechanics is the fact that he is young and undeveloped, Keith.

Keith never said that Hughes' leg is, in fact, still injured. He said specifically that Hughes seems to land more softly on the leg, is "babying" it, implying that it may be sore or worrying him without actually being hurt.

He is a tremendous talent and has a bright future, but his problem is simply rushing off of his back side. In terms of understanding from a fans perspective; the big right-hander is anxious and a bit jumpy during this crucial part of the season.

This does not help me understand anything from any perspective, except that the author is talking down to us. As usually happens in such a situation, we struggle to understand - not because it is so far advanced, but because it makes much less sense than the expert thinks.

He is being forced to learn at a very young age prior to the time of his complete development.

Will Strunk wept. Personally, I think that learning at a young age is HOW to complete one's development, rather than dithering around until we're 26 and never learning anything, in which case you can look forward to a career sniping at your professional competitors about their observations of major-league players.

During the game and his time on the mound, he tends to over-throw rushing his head forward, the correct mechanics would allow him to keep his head back, letting his arm work out in front. This action of rushing forward produces an inconsistent arm slot, as a result, he leaves his breaking ball up in the zone. His fastball is capable of getting hitters out up in the strike zone and at this time he is pitching in that area but not by design.

This, at least, does make sense. Hughes' problem (according to the BLR) isn't the leg, it's that he's rushing and not keeping his arm slot consistent, so he can't locate his pitches as well. He doesn't get the same spin on the ball each time and his breaking stuff suffers. This is good stuff. Now I have a question to ask - if this is true, does that automatically make Keith Law wrong? It's possible that Hughes is doing that AND landing differently on his leg, because he is tentative. It would be interesting to run film and see if there's a noticeable difference in Hughes' arm position on release vs. how he's striding and landing.

Wouldn't it have been possible just to have typed that one paragraph instead?

Capiche Keith?

Well, no, I guess not.

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