Scouting Notes on Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez

A lot of attention is going to be paid to Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez (I’m not even going to link to BRef, it never goes to the right guy) this spring, and understandably so; he’s the shiny new toy, shrouded in mystery. I wanted to quickly run through what we saw in his first spring appearance on Saturday from a video scouting perspective. Is scouting based off of the television ideal? Hell no, I’d much rather see the mechanics in person and I’m not going to put grades on anything until I can do just that. But it’s the way I did things for two years at Baseball Info Solutions and it’s not hard to identify basic things like pitch types, velocity and command from the TV if you know what you’re doing.

Fastball: Sat 88-89mph, touched 93 in the first inning. He really struggled to command it. It looked, at times, like it may have had some natural cut. Generally though, fastball movement is difficult to gauge from the broadcast. He’s the top priority for me this April should he break camp with the IronPigs or Fightin’ Phils.

Cutter: Only threw a few of these. They were 85-86mph and he was getting more movement on it when he threw it glove side.

Slider: Only saw one, at 79mph. It was pretty short but, again, it was one pitch.

Curveball: Lots of these as the curve was really the only pitch MAG looked comfortable throwing for strikes. It’s an arcing, rainbow curve in the 73-75mph range. He got some swings and misses with it, threw a few for looking strikes. It looked just fine.

Splitter: His best pitch on the day, the split came in 78-80mph and was mostly buried in the dirt for swings and misses. I expect to see him use this heavily this season, in the 20-25% range. It was the first pitch Rupp called for, which I thought was strange because Splitty typically isn’t thrown in the zone as a way to get ahead, he’s a 1-2 pitch in the dirt. His usage of this pitch intrigues me.

Changeup: Ah yes, it looks as though MAG throws both a splitter and a straight changeup, which will give BIS pitch charters nightmares this year as they try to differentiate them from one another. You can see the way Gonzalez grips and spins the changeup is different than the splitter, though it isn’t wasy to do so. Also, Cameron Rupp’s signal for the splitter was four fingers with a wiggle (go ahead, wiggle your four fingers now. It’s fun) which leads me to believe that there’s probably a signal of four fingers, sans wiggle, which is probably the signal for the circle changeup. Isn’t scouting fun!?! Of course, we barely saw Rupp’s signals today because runners were on base quite often against Gonzalez and the signals were constantly being changed. It’s just a theory for now, and subject to change as we see more this spring, but I’m pretty sure this guy is throwing both.

That’s a lot of different pitches, folks. It’s tough to get a feel for that many pitches when you haven’t pitched competitively for much of the past two years. It’s going to take time. Despite Saturday’s lackluster results (the control issues are troubling and frustrating and the stuff certainly isn’t electric) I don’t suggest you panic. He’s almost certain to improve with reps, just like you know, every single player in the entire sport does. Also, remember the industry expects him to be a #4 starter, so don’t be crestfallen if Gonzalez turns out to be a backend guy or a bullpen arm.

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6 comments

  1. Tony

    March 02, 2014 12:53 AM

    Excellent writeup. You have to figure they’ll take at least one or two of those pitches out of his repertoire, right? Are there any good MLB pitchers out there who throw six completely different pitch types?

    • Phillie697

      March 04, 2014 01:24 AM

      Yu Darvish

  2. ian

    March 02, 2014 02:04 PM

    Touching 93 was encouraging. Main concern was arm strength. He doesn’t seem too far off in that category.

  3. Just Bob

    March 02, 2014 05:45 PM

    Basically is a guy that is still behind on his velocity. He was repeatedly throwing in the low-to-mid 90s routinely on his fastball when he was scouted last year in Mexico which leads to doubt the credibility of those reports.

    Still is a considerable ‘work-in-progress’ which is to be expected a bit but he looks like he has a while from being able to contribute at the MLB level yet too. Not a good sign given he was only signed to a 3-year deal & he’ll be 28 in Sept.

    Guess hope he progresses quickly at Lehigh and he can give them a boost sometime by mid-season if necessary.

  4. Matt

    March 02, 2014 11:11 PM

    Great write-up. I think I remember seeing one pitch @ 87 with some decent arm-side run. Is it possible he has a two-seam as well? Not that he need’s more pitches obviously, but curious what that was and if anybody else saw it. I was actually encouraged by the split & the curve, though obviously they’re useless if he doesnt figure out his fastball command and hopefully gain some velo as he builds arm strength and gets mechanics (esp. from stretch) together.

  5. Gene

    March 04, 2014 01:16 PM

    Four fingers with a wiggle does not mean that there is a four-finger without a wiggle. Pitchers with only two pitches (fastball-changeup) will still use the four-finger wiggle for a changeup; it is the standard signal for changeup, just like a pointer finger is standard for a fastball.

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