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Terrerobytes: Jesse Crain on the up-and-up

Evolution of his 12-6 curve opens the door for the high fastball

Ed Zurga

In an uneven year for the White Sox bullpen, Jesse Crain has been the rock, which is only surprising because he missed so much time in spring training with the bad adductor.

It's never a matter of stuff, because Crain is doubly blessed with both a big arm, and an arsenal that he can reshape as years go by. He went from riding his big fastball early in his career to being a slider-first pitcher by the time he joined the Sox. Now he's relying on the heat more thanks to the big overhand curve.

J.J. talked to Crain and other Sox players about the way he's using the fastball/curve combo, and you may be reminded of Tyler Flowers telling Larry about his fondness for calling the high fastball:

"I don't know if it's because of his arm slot or his height or whatever it may be, fastballs elevated in the zone are very tempting, hard to lay off of but also hard to hit, obviously, because he throws pretty hard, too," Flowers said. "So kind of from that experience I had against him, kind of came up with the idea of using a higher than high pitch with him."

Crain's listed at 6-foot-1, although his motion and short-arm delivery make him appear smaller than that. The curveball stays higher longer than his other pitches, then loops downward at a fairly sharp angle. On average, the pitch starts around eye level of an opposing hitter, then tumbles toward the dirt about halfway to home plate. [...]

"You certainly can't give up on anything that comes out of his hand high," first baseman Paul Konerko observed. "You can't give up on it because it has a chance to be that curveball, and if you have two strikes you have to try to stay engaged on it."


Grant Brisbee might be at his best when he writes about Hunter Pence, who is the subject of the first of five lost scouting reports. It begins:


Gangly. Runs like a rotary telephone thrown into a running clothes dryer. Throws like an effete Frenchman throwing a bookcase uphill. Swings a bat like his elbows are stapled to his knees and his underwear is pulled over his head. Stares at you when you aren't looking.

Mike Trout's scouting report is pretty good, too.

Rob Neyer rifles through the Dickson Baseball Dictionary for words that have fallen out of fashion or evolved out of broadcasts for obvious reasons. I've heard Hawk Harrelson use "cripple hitter," but he also uses "sphincter." I think Hawk has his own dictionary.

Scott Merkin tweeted this article with the line, "As Robin Ventura said, all third basemen have it." Unfortunately, all third basemen with back problems don't lead the league in OBP as part of a 1.062 OPS.

FanGraphs unveiled a couple of useful pages. The first are MLB standings, with their projected finishes based on a blend of historical performance and current roster situations. The second are depth charts for each team with projected contributions, and you don't want to look at the White Sox's position players right now, because they don't have a two-win position player at the moment.

I'd say Angel Hernandez embarrassed himself with his unwillingness to overturn a call that incorrectly ruled a home run as a double, but I don't think he's capable of it, as this Buffalo News story from 1991 shows.

With the Yankees batting a pitcher eighth, Neyer was pointed to the time Eddie Stanky batted Gary Peters sixth on May 26, 1968. It didn't work out so well, but it led me to a post coming up this afternoon.

So, what else have you read?