Archive for January, 2016

Cincuenta y uno

Posted in Jose de Jesus on January 6, 2016 by wechslerh66


Jose DeJesus has the lowest cap brim and one of the liveliest fastballs in the National League. That’s a frightening combination for opposing hitters, who are probably unsure if the wild young righthander even sees them. And with 73 walks allowed in 130 innings last year, maybe he doesn’t.

After being obtained from Kansas City for Steve Jeltz before the ’90 season, DeJesus began the year at AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre. It was there that Phils’ minor league instructor Jim Fregosi helped lighten the towering righthander’s load. Fregosi told him to forget about the hitter, and DeJesus took the advice literally. He pulled his cap brim down so far that it hid his eyes, creating a tunnel between him and the catcher’s wide glove. “Tunnel vision” is the right term: usually, DeJesus couldn’t even remember what a given batter last did against him or even how he pitched him. With his new style, DeJesus was still wild, but he was also very tough to hit, holding opponents to a .211 batting average after his June recall to Philadelphia.

DeJesus has one great pitch: a high, hard fastball with a little sideways slide on the end. He can throw it to either corner. Unlike many dominant fastballs, it produces more fouls than swings and misses, and induces more ground balls than strikeouts. It was also more effective against lefties than it was against righties last year. DeJesus throws a slider, but as with the fastball, control is a problem. To help him cut down his walks and set up his fastball, DeJesus is scheduled to learn a change-up from Phils pitching coach Johnny Podres.

DeJesus is easy to steal on as he is slow delivering to the plate out of the stretch. His ungainly follow-through hampers him in fielding the ball. He has a good batting eye and should become a passable hitter, although his bunting is awful.

DeJesus’ record last year was deceiving; he won nearly every game he had a chance to win. The Phils gave him four or more runs of support seven times, and he was 6-0 in those starts. In his other 15 starts, he received two or fewer runs to work with, and was 1-8. With his brim down, his fastball riding up and in, and better control, DeJesus should break double figures in wins in ’91.

–from THE SCOUTING REPORT: 1991, STATS, INC./John Dewan, editor, Don Zminda, associate editor


Kyle Palmieri is not a cornerstone

Posted in Flyers-related on January 2, 2016 by wechslerh66


Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman doesn’t understand the concept of small sample size.  Six weeks ago it was Mike Condon.  This week it’s Devils winger and “15-goal man Kyle Palmieri, a restricted free agent who looks like a cornerstone.”  Palmieri may be having a breakout season, but it’s not without major qualifiers.

1. His shooting percentage as a Devil is 16.8% (16 goals on 95 shots). His shooting percentage across five seasons as a Duck was 10.9% (43 goals on 395 shots). True, he’s shooting a lot more with increased playing time, but among active NHL players, only two have career shooting percentages higher than Palmieri’s 16.8%, and odds are he’s not the next Stamkos. In other words, this number will drop.

2. 13 of Palmieri’s 29 points have come on the power play–which is ironic, given that Friedman in the same column repeats the critique of Claude Giroux’s “dependency on power play points”:

Scoring with the extra man is critical considering how hard it is to do so five-on-five, but compare Giroux to some of his compatriots. He leads the NHL with 50 such points the past two seasons, and has 101 overall. That’s 49.5 per cent of his total coming with the man-advantage. Of the other nine players in the top 10 of power play totals, Joe Pavelski’s 43.4 is next highest (46 of 106).

Palmieri is at 44.8%.

Overall, Palmieri’s season is encouraging. He frequently plays against the opponent’s top lines and the Devils are a better possession team with him on the ice than off. He finishes more shifts in the offensive zone than he starts and he draws more than twice as many penalties as he takes (the Devils as a team tend to be good at this).

The problem is that he’s good but not quite this good, and the Devils as a whole are good but not quite this good. They’re dead last in 5v5 shots for/60 and only Anaheim is worse in 5v5 goals for/60 (yes, even the Flyers are better). Cory Schneider, a top ten shooting percentage, and the power play (not to mention the Penguins and Tampa Bay underperforming expectations) have kept the Devils in the playoff race. Maybe Palmieri is a cornerstone of this Devils team, but that says more about the Devils than it does about Palmieri.

Advanced stats courtesy of Behind the Net.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.