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Katz on our Pitcher Progress Summary

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1 hour ago, fathom said:

I’m sure I will get pushback on this, but what exactly was Cooper doing with these guys the last few years 

"best pitch in baseball is first pitch fastball strike"

Good advice maybe 50 years ago when most guys weren't capable of hitting a good fastball 400 feet.  These guys are geared up now for heat and as we've seen the last few years the idea that you can't "pitch backwards" over and over has been proven an old wife's tale.  Plenty of guys are now having success throwing well under 60% fastballs.

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50 minutes ago, ptatc said:

Don't know if I like dropping the change for anyone let alone kopech. The only off speed being a curve will get read by the hitters very quickly

Eh more about focusing on something rather than a forever change.

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3 hours ago, bmags said:

https://theathletic.com/2309736/2021/01/08/new-white-sox-pitching-coach-ethan-katz-is-in-constant-contact-with-his-starters/?source=emp_shared_article

We have had good discussion on the Crochet part, but thought some would like to get some info on what was said on the rest of the pitchers on the staff:

Cease

- Katz has been working with Cease to eliminate the cutting action on his fastball that was causing decreased command and ineffectiveness. Katz showed Cease he was opening up too early and is having him ride on his back leg longer before starting.

Good line:
"But Cease noted to Katz that his delivery feels like that of Josh Hader, Milwaukee’s All-Star closer with a distinct cross-firing throwing motion. Cease is not cross-firing at all in Katz’s estimation, but it’s just that after two seasons of flying open, that’s how unfamiliar having a consistently straight line felt."

Lopez

- Katz thought Lopez' arm was getting too far from his body causing the velocity decrease. He's had him throw more compact and keeping his arm closer to a straight line. He is reintroducing his curveball now that the changes were made.

Kopech

- Kopech is going to be a Fastball, Slider, Curveball pitcher, his changeup is no longer the primary focus of the 3rd pitch.

Giolito

- They are refocusing on the Curveball. It won't be the same as it was in high school, and they are going for a "strike getting" pitch, but they aren't dismissing it becoming an out pitch. They also have focused on trying to keep his slider consistency to match how good itw as at end of last year.

Lynn

- Talked about Lynn's 3 fastball approach, but he's been working on two offspeed pitches and hoping to add those to his arsenal this year.

Keuchel

- Basically Keuchel is perfect and knows what to do on his own lol.

The rest of the crochet stuff is mostly in the other thread. 

Thanks fegan.

Thanks for sharing.  A lot of potential to be excited about. 

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2 hours ago, fathom said:

I’m sure I will get pushback on this, but what exactly was Cooper doing with these guys the last few years 

That's the million dollar question.  

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2 hours ago, chitownsportsfan said:

"best pitch in baseball is first pitch fastball strike"

Good advice maybe 50 years ago when most guys weren't capable of hitting a good fastball 400 feet.  These guys are geared up now for heat and as we've seen the last few years the idea that you can't "pitch backwards" over and over has been proven an old wife's tale.  Plenty of guys are now having success throwing well under 60% fastballs.

First pitch strike is still the best advice.  For most pitchers, it's going to be the FB they will need to rely on when they need to get ahead or pick up a strike.

What has changed is likely just an increased focus on scouting reports and data.  If you know so much about the tendencies of a hitter, you don't necessarily have to throw a FB or throw the ball in the zone to pick up that first strike.

And regardless, if the location is good enough, you can pretty much always throw a first pitch fastball for a strike because most hitters are not looking to take hit out the first pitch they see or even the first fastball they see when it's an 0-0 count and the pitch is in a cold zone part of the zone -- unless they are Luis Robert for example, unfortunately. 

The first pitch FB is still a great plan for most pitchers and most hitters, at least for most MLB starters and high-end RPs.  Most hitters are not so impatient / overly aggressive on the first pitch.

As far as Coop, he just seemed like an old crank.  He couldn't put a mask on properly, couldn't wear a mask properly, couldn't make it through 1 minute in a radio interview without swearing and not through 3 minutes without airing grievances and/or challenging fans or something, etc.  And then the lack of desire to show any enthusiasm for newer technology or even any desire to discuss it publicly even though other people not him claimed he was embracing it, was all just so embarrassing that it was time for him to go.  But as far as wheat he was telling his pitchers, who knows, but I doubt it was anything all that bad.  But he wasn't getting through to them obviously and that's the whole point.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, bmags said:

Lopez

- Katz thought Lopez' arm was getting too far from his body causing the velocity decrease. He's had him throw more compact and keeping his arm closer to a straight line. He is reintroducing his curveball now that the changes were made.

This seems like a similar approach he took with Giolito in changing Lopez's throwing motion...keeping it more compact and a straight line. I also loved his curveball when he would throw it.

Edited by ScooterMcGee

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15 minutes ago, ScooterMcGee said:

This seems like a similar approach he took with Giolito in changing Lopez's throwing motion...keeping it more compact and a straight line. I also loved his curveball when he would throw it.

Yeah there’s a bunch on that but he stressed it’s not near the overhaul Giolitos was

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Love how Katz is using analytics to build programs for these guys. Hell bring back Rodon, maybe Katz will fix ‘em too.

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14 minutes ago, thxfrthmmrs said:

Love how Katz is using analytics to build programs for these guys. Hell bring back Rodon, maybe Katz will fix ‘em too.

No. I don’t care this is half personal. No. Go somewhere else.

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I’m excited to see what this young man can do for our young arms. The harsh words for cooper are unfortunate, as he was an organizational asset for a long time, but the time had clearly come to say goodbye.  

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, thxfrthmmrs said:

Love how Katz is using analytics to build programs for these guys. Hell bring back Rodon, maybe Katz will fix ‘em too.

Nope bye Felicia. Rodon can take his wife and her big ass mouth with him.

Edited by ScooterMcGee

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I'm confident that Katz will be a great coach. Then it's on the pitcher to use the knowledge. 

I'm very optimistic with Cease. Lopez would be an awesome bonus as a long reliever and spot starter.

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8 minutes ago, Capital G said:

I'm confident that Katz will be a great coach. Then it's on the pitcher to use the knowledge. 

I'm very optimistic with Cease. Lopez would be an awesome bonus as a long reliever and spot starter.

Kopech is a good candidate for guidance as well.

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Part of this is also having a beat writer who respects that his audience cares about this level of detail

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13 minutes ago, bmags said:

Part of this is also having a beat writer who respects that his audience cares about this level of detail

It is a different philosophy,  telling everyone exactly what the plan is and how the pitcher's arsenal is changing. In the NFL coaches dont like to admit they are even practicing. 

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20 hours ago, ScooterMcGee said:

This seems like a similar approach he took with Giolito in changing Lopez's throwing motion...keeping it more compact and a straight line. I also loved his curveball when he would throw it.

I hope he convinces Lopez to work faster.  With a runner on...he looks afraid to throw the ball.  Needs some eye of the Tiger aggression.

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46 minutes ago, poppysox said:

I hope he convinces Lopez to work faster.  With a runner on...he looks afraid to throw the ball.  Needs some eye of the Tiger aggression.

Reynaldo “babyface” Lopez. I completely agree with you, brother!

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What this article makes most clear, to me,  is that this was an overdue change.

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On 1/9/2021 at 12:42 AM, chitownsportsfan said:

"best pitch in baseball is first pitch fastball strike"

Good advice maybe 50 years ago when most guys weren't capable of hitting a good fastball 400 feet.  These guys are geared up now for heat and as we've seen the last few years the idea that you can't "pitch backwards" over and over has been proven an old wife's tale.  Plenty of guys are now having success throwing well under 60% fastballs.

Hitters are also up there to swing early if it is a fastball over the plate.

Back in the day you would start with a fastball over the plate and the hitter would usually take it to get a little deeper in the count and then the AB would start.

But today hitters have to attack every mistake over the plate because you usually only see one fat pitch per AB. That means pitchers need to be more careful with the first pitch which leads to deeper counts and more walks.

But still strike 1 is important of course and especially reylo and cease have to improve that. Pitch one doesn't have to be a FB and it doesn't even have to be in the zone but it has to be close enough to be either called a strike or get a swing.

That being said the "coop let the pitchers only throw FBs" is a bit overblown, I think it was time to replace him but he also wasn't that old school, the sox in 2020 were 8th in fastball percentage in the AL which is middle of the pack.

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I will go as far as to say that Katz is the most important person in this franchise for the foreseeable future. The offense is set for the next 3-5 years, the bullpen is one of the best on paper (yes, the volatility still remains), if Katz could get the most out of Kopech, Cease, Crochet, and help Gio continue his progression, look out, this team is going places.

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Interesting.  Looks like he also adopted the Giolito short arm action.  I wonder if that is going to start being the organization arm action.  

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It also looks like they have him more rotational to fix opening up too early.  Boy I hope they don't chase the mistake too much and forget what he does well.  

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