Friday, June 28, 2013

Coaches, teammates on Taylor Jordan

Photo via milb.com
Harrisburg pitcher Taylor Jordan could be on his way to the majors very soon as Nationals manager Davey Johnson and others in the organization have sent strong signals that the 24-year-old will take Dan Haren’s spot in the rotation this weekend in New York.

While Jordan was not permitted to speak with the media about his potential call-up, I caught up with several of his coaches and one of his teammates on Thursday to talk about what to expect from the young right-hander if he does indeed start against the Mets.

Harrisburg pitching coach Paul Menhart gave a breakdown of Jordan’s repertoire:

“He can get it up to 95, he’s got a sinker that he can throw, and he can spot it pretty well. He commands the fastball fairly well. He’s got a changeup that has a little split action, it can drop on occasion straight down. And a slider that’s a serviceable pitch.”

Menhart says Jordan is ready for the big leagues and has the mindset to take the challenge head-on:

“If he goes, I think he’ll perform similar to the way he’s done here. I don’t think the level is going to dictate his effort or his angst. He’s the kind of kid that has no pulse when he pitches. He’s that kind of special where he does have the ability to go pitch to pitch and focus on that particular pitch at that one time. Just because it’s the big leagues or wherever, I don’t think it really matters for this kid.”

Ask anyone who has seen Jordan pitch and his unusual delivery is often cited as a big part of his game. Jordan comes over the top with his arm and does a good job hiding the ball.


Here is how Menhart described it:

“He’s very deceptive. He’s got this funky little arm action that occurs up at the top of his delivery, and as he’s going forward it just comes out of nowhere. There is some deception so it’s very difficult for them to decipher the pitches that are actually being thrown. He throws three pitches all from the same slot.”

Teammate Steven Souza, Jr. has faced Jordan and compares his delivery to Jered Weaver and Ubaldo Jimenez:

“Jered Weaver, he goes back a little more. But they both hide it and turn, that would probably be the best comparison.”

“This year he’s kept the ball down and his hand goes behind his head. It’s one of those funky things where you see guys like Ubaldo Jimenez, they got a funky way of throwing. It’s just different. It’s not your normal reach back and throw, he goes in a different area. But it’s consistent and he consistently keeps it down. I think the biggest thing that he does is he keeps his slider and his sinker down in the same spot and works it from there. Guys can’t decide what it is so they’re late and rolling over it.”
Senators manager Matt LeCroy also thinks Jordan is ready for the majors:

“He’s done really well here, he’s shown that he can pitch at this level and be successful. He’s commanding the baseball and hopefully if he has an opportunity to go he’ll do what he’s been doing here. He has the ability to slow the game down and take it one pitch at a time. If he gets an opportunity to pitch I think that will helpful for him.”

LeCroy emphasized Jordan’s composure on the mound and ability to slow down games when he gets in trouble:

“It’s very rare. He’s one of the few guys in the five years I’ve managed that has that ability. He’s worked really hard to get to this point. He’s due a lot of credit for the work he’s put in. His command of the baseball is better than anyone I’ve had as a manager. It’s pretty special.”

If Jordan is called up, he will join Nathan Karns and Ian Krol as Harrisburg pitchers to go straight to the Nationals this season. Menhart is proud of his role in their development and says it will be a special moment to see him in a Nats’ uniform:

“Well we had Nathan Karns do it earlier this year and Ian Krol, another guy from Double-A. I don’t want to say it’s old hat because it’s still, I’m going to tear up if I see him and he does go. It’s just one of those proud papa moments, absolutely.”

Jordan is 7-0 with a 0.83 this season for the Senators after starting the year in Potomac. Across both affiliates he is 9-1 with a 1.00 ERA in 14 total starts this season.

46 comments:

UnkyD said...

Busy jamming at a reunion party tomorrow, but I look forward to hearing all about it....

A DC Wonk said...

We're talking about for tomorrow, right?

TimDz said...

DC Wonk....
Yes....he's supposed to take Haren's slot, baring any weather issues....

NatsLady said...

This article is focused on UCL tears (minor) but it throws some light on whether Danny was completely off -base to avoid surgery and go with rehab. I don't recall if he had a PRP injection, but we know Bryce did.

At an average follow-up of 70 weeks (range, 11-117 weeks), 30 of 34 athletes (88%) had returned to the same level of play without any complaints. The average time to return to play was 12 weeks (range, 10-15 weeks).

Treatment of Partial Ulnar Collateral Ligament Tears in the Elbow With Platelet-Rich Plasma

http://ajs.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/05/10/0363546513487979.abstract

TimDz said...
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NatsLady said...

You might have read this story about Mike Adams (shoulder) who passed on surgery to take the PRP/rehab approach.

Mike Adams

http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/blog/eye-on-baseball/22551899/mike-adams-passes-on-seasonending-surgery-will-rehab-instead

Section 222 said...

Way to take advantage of your Harper duty Chase. Well done.

Can't say I'm blown away by Menhart's description of his repertoire: Spots the sinker "pretty well," commands the fast ball "fairly well," a changeup that can drop straight down "on occasion", and a slider that's a "serviceable pitch." Hmm. Not exactly Stephen Strasburg superlatives.

Hoping for the best though, or at least that he gets out of the 5th inning unlike that last Harrisburg callup.

A DC Wonk said...

Can't say I'm blown away by Menhart's description of his repertoire: Spots the sinker "pretty well," commands the fast ball "fairly well," a changeup that can drop straight down "on occasion", and a slider that's a "serviceable pitch."

Yeah -- I noticed that, too. Sounding almost like d@mning with faint praise.

NatsLady said...
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NatsLady said...
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hiramhover said...

Span is turning into Danny Espinosa before our very eyes.

Unless Span doubles his K rate, no.

bowdenball said...

NatsLady said...

"But Span is turning into Danny Espinosa before our very eyes."


Two really really bad posts from a usually poster in the same day. This is kind of like ... well, it's kind of like when a career .352 OBP hitter has a rough two weeks. Probably best just to write it off as a weird anomaly and assume the person will return to their usual levels of productivity very soon :)


By the way, if we're analyzing Span by small recent sample sizes, probably should point out that he's got a five-game hitting streak, and has hits in 7 of his last 8. I don't think Espinosa had too many stretches like that this year. He also has more walks during his June "slump" than Espinosa had all season.

bowdenball said...

*usually excellent poster

NatsLady said...
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Doc said...

Thanks for the stats, NatsLady. Still want Span in CF. Just wish he'd walk more. He's also a little short on the 2B's for a guy with his speed.

Sounds like Paul Menhart is a pretty special coach.

Guys like him keep the line moving--all the way to the bigs.

NatsLady said...

Fine, I will delete them. Pardon me for trying to think out loud what might be going on.

Eric said...

"Yeah -- I noticed that, too. Sounding almost like d@mning with faint praise."

Agreed. I got less and less excited as I read the article.

NatsLady said...
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bowdenball said...

No reason to delete all your posts, NatsLady. You just came to a conclusion/made a comparison that some of us disagreed with pretty strongly. And we shared the facts that support our disagreement with your conclusion/comparison. That's all it was. Lord knows you've earned the benefit of the doubt around here.

Tcostant said...

Interesting tibit, Yovani Gallardo cannot block a trade to the Nationals
http://www.mlbdailydish.com/2013/6/28/4474256/brewers-trade-rumors-yovani-gallardo-has-a-ten-team-no-trade-list

NatsJack in Florida said...

I have a hunch Menhart's comments are toned down due the results he saw out of Karns during his call up.

Tcostant said...

Mark will be on 980am at 2:45pm today.

hiramhover said...

NatsLady

No reason to delete any posts. The numbers are what they are--how much it's worth making of 3-4 weeks, I doubt.

But the comparison to Danny just seemed like a low blow, and a poor comparison, to boot. Whatever Span's problems are, they're not the same.

NatsLady said...

Yes, he's got a little hitting streak going and his BABiP is .353. Here is what he did before that. .108/.195/.189 and his BaBip was .121--some pretty bad luck for ten days. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about his Ks and walks.

Span is striking out at a 13% rate which matches the highest in his career (2009). Unfortunately, in 2009 he walked at a 10.4% rate that year, and now he is walking at a 6.6% rate.

Last year in the AL, he struck out at a rate of 10.9% and walked at a rate of 8.%. So while he hasn't *doubled* his K rate, he has increased it, and lowered his walk rate.

In 2009 he swung at 18.1% of pitches outside the zone, this year, way higher, the highest of his career, 24.3%. (That has been creeping up each year).

He is seeing the fewest pitches inside the zone of his career (45.8%). In 2009, it was 52.1%.

If he is chasing more pitches then pitchers are not going to throw him stuff in the zone, but it's a chicken or egg thing, you don't know which comes first.

NatsLady said...
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NatsLady said...
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NatsLady said...

walk rate 8.8% in 2012. There is a combined number BB/K. Last year it was .76. This year it's .51. It has never been below .75 in his career.

2008 - .83
2009 - .79
2010 - .81
2011 - .75
2012 - .76


You can say what you want, but he is striking out more and walking less.

SonnyG10 said...

NatsLady said...
Fine, I will delete them. Pardon me for trying to think out loud what might be going on.
June 28, 2013 2:10 PM


NatsLady, I like when you think out loud. I may not always agree, but you do have a good mind for analyzing situations. Don't delete your ideas.

hiramhover said...

The main change this year is in Span's walk rate, not his K rate, which is why the comparison to Danny seemed inapt and inflammatory.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Re Span's decline.... Simple... it's got to be Ecks fault.

Doc said...

For God's sake, NatsLady, don't stop thinking out loud---even if Span hears you.

bowdenball said...

The point about his K and BB rate was fine, NatsLady. It was the hyperbole of the comparison that I and others took issue with. I mean, Adam LaRoche's Isolated Power is down from his usual number, but nobody's gonns say he's turning into Nyjer Morgan before our very eyes.

NatsLady said...

And what I meant by the comparison to Danny is that right now--right now--you are seeing in Span a player whose contribution is coming almost entirely from his glove. Just like Danny's was. And a d## fine glove it is. Just like Danny's was.

When I put up the numbers, that is what I saw, no reason to say it was a "low blow," it's a fact.

I have every expectation Span will turn it around and return to career norms--in walks, strikeouts and swinging at pitches outside the zone.

However, he's got an uphill climb because with Rendon or Harper hitting behind him--they are NOT going to walk him or give him much to hit and let him get on base for those guys to drive in.

karlkolchak said...

@NatsJack in Florida - we should not overlook that, like Karns, Jordan is very raw and is making a huge jump after only a couple of months at AA. Both he and Karns were likely not expected by team officials to contribute to the big club until next year at the earliest.

Eric said...

So, he's played about half as many games so far this season as he did in '09.

In 09 he had 89 strike outs and 70 walks.
This year he has 41 strike outs and 21 walks.

So, his K rate is actually down very slightly while his walk rate is down fairly significantly.

I suspect those extra walks have taken the form of bloops to left, ground outs to 1B, and some hits, which I suspect is a result of Davey and Eck looking for more aggression at the plate.

NatsLady said...

kk--excellent point. And there are a other factors besides raw stuff, such as fielding and holding runners, that may not be well-developed and can cost you in a game. That is why I think Rizzo will be well-advised over the next month to seek out an experienced starting pitcher or give see if Ohlendorf is for real. Also, I still hold out some hope that rest and regrouping may help Dan Haren.

Eric said...

I definitely hold out hope for Haren, but I know it will help ME to get a little rest from his outings... ;)

NatsLady said...

Eric, that is where I am coming from, as I said a couple of weeks ago. You hire a guy (Span) to be a certain type of hitter, to fill a certain role, and then you try to change him into something he isn't--or maybe that he was for one season four years ago. When he started off in April he was pretty much exactly as advertised.

hiramhover said...

If Span's problem is indeed that he's actually *listening* to the Nats coaches, then yes, he's having a completely different problem from Danny.

NatsLady said...

hh--LOL, seriously, I laughed out loud at that!

bowdenball said...

Span's OBP is .308. Same as Wilson Ramos. Danny's is .193. Again, I don't think it's a fair comparison. Span is contributing quite a bit more with his bat than Danny was, to say the least. Even his SLG is higher than Danny in 2013.

baseballswami said...

But Span with those catches-- I mean, they are breath taking! And our outfield has been pretty weak defensively lately. And Werth is gimpy. Lots of players struggle in their first contract year. Sure I wish he would get on more, steal more, but he is learning a whole new league.

Eric said...

bowden, NL was fairly specific about the time frame in which the comparison to Danny applied. Still, as much as I am an Espi fan, I'm not sure I'd go...there...in describing Span. Last night he was inches from a double up the right field line, and the same goes for a lot of those bloops to left. He really does get robbed a lot, imo, albeit not nearly as dramatically as he robs others.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

"Last night he was inches from a double up the right field line"

Goldschmidt had to look into his mitt twice to see that he had the ball. He didn't believe it himself.

Eric said...

Ha!

That was one of those losses that leaves you blue in the b***s but clear in the conscience ;)

baseballswami said...

Poster child for being robbed last night had to be TMo!! How did that catch get made?? He has crushed a ball two nights in a row- some of those will not be caught if he keeps it up.

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