Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Sinky McSwingerton/The No-Seamer, Seitzer Pitches

Autograph day is always a nice time to catch our fave players for a question or two and this past week was no exception. I had a topic in mind and wanted to get the opinions of our pros.

When I was a kid my dad showed me all the pitching grips that he had learned from guys like HOF pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm. While watching the Giants-Padres game I heard the broadcasters use a term I hadn't heard since those early pitching lessons with dad - the "No Seam Fastball".

lefty Johnny VanDerMeer shows his 4-seam grip
The No Seamer is a grip like that of the two-seam or four-seam fastball grip, with the index and middle fingers curled together across the plane of the ball. However, instead of the usual grip position either along or across the balls seams, the No Seam fastball grip is located in the center of the horseshoe shape of the seams. No contact is made between the fingers and the string seams, just fingers on leather.

Its a very subtle nuance, but does influence the motion of the thrown ball, causing it to sink and move away from right handed hitters.

Andrew Cashner was tossing it effectively for the Padres and relying on it more than just an occasional show-me pitch for a different look. He was getting enough swings and misses that the Giants announcers talked about the pitch. Jered Weaver also throws a no-seamer, Orel Hershiser says Scott Shields taught it to Weaver sometime before 2013, as a way to get sink or movement for a swinging strike.

So I asked our guys - "Do you throw it, does anyone in our organization throw it, and if not, why not?"

Parker Markel
My first victim was relief pitcher Parker Markel.
I am not sure he really believed me when I started talking about it but I was able to convince him it was a real pitch.
"That sounds like an old-time-y thing" was his first reaction.
He said he didn't know of anyone who threw a no-seam fastball in our organization, or maybe anyone anywhere.
I mentioned Cashner and the movement he was getting with it, causing swings and misses.
Markel replied "Then I may start throwing it!"

Colton "Wild Thing" Reavis
Next up was Colton Reavis, who had a surprise for me. Seeing a couple relievers at a table singing baseballs and pictures, I brought up the No-Seamer. At first it was kind of a laugh for them, until I talked about the grip and Reavis says "Oh, you mean Sinky McSwingerton! Thats how I throw my fastball!"

As we talked, he described his two seam fastball grip and said it was how he had always thrown it. "Most guys just throw a straight two-seamer, and I use that grip but I move it deeper into the horseshoe".

So there ya go, Colton Reavis throws the No-Seam Fastball, aka Sinky McSwingerton.

Shucks, No 20-Game Homestand
The Biloxi Orphans may soon have a home to go to, as their box office starts selling tix wednesday. That would give them time to host the Biscuits, who have booked a hotel in Biloxi and haven't even had discussions about contingencies. They expect it to happen.

I had a nice conversation with the GM, and should have a post about the convo in an upcoming blog. One of my fave aspects of the Biscuits is that the staff are always available to talk baseball, and Scott Trible is no exception. He works hard to keep the fans happy and always has an honest answer. Lots of teams don't get to see their owners or upper front office people, we are indeed fortunate to have down-to-earth folks at all levels.

Kes Carter was released by the Rays in spite of being on base in every game he appeared in this season. Bummer about the team photo, thats two years in a row someone has been cut after the pic was taken but before it was handed out. A curse brewing perhaps?

With moves being made to shore up the bullpen, we have to wonder if Brady has been on the phone to the parent club asking for help.

Dropping the series to Bham proves this years Skitz are no strangers to bad homestands and fall into line with past teams that are better on the road than at Riverwalk. Nobody has a good answer as to why. Hitting coach Ozzie Timmons said last year that there was no reason for it, basically just a fluke. However seeing that it happens year after year, there must be something to it. Teams just aren't better on the road than at home!

On the subject of stats here is a link to a list that is of interest to statheads and those with deep Biscuits math interest. The always-useful Baseball America people put this out there last year, a look at all 120 full season baseball facilities stats concerning park factor. Its great for comparison to other ballparks and leagues to our own home stadium in Runs, Home Runs and BABIP.


Not sure how many fans noticed, but 1b/DH Cameron Seitzer appeared in relief for the Biscuits on Monday.

The third year Montgomery bats lefty but throws right handed, he came on with two out in the 8th inning and threw one pitch to end the inning. The Skitz were down 4-0 and failed to score the needed five runs to secure Cameron his first victory, though he did log the Game Finished. In his career Seitzer has now appeared at 1b,3b, Shortstop, Left Field and Pitcher.

He has 135 RBI in just over two seasons, reminding me I need to compile a career RBI leaders list that includes both Rebels and Biscuits!

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