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« Desmond Jennings and Selectivity | Main | Top Bat-Missing Fastballs of 2011 »
Monday
Sep122011

Pomeranz makes MLB debut

Drew Pomeranz made his MLB debut yesterday afternoon against the Reds, getting a win while allowing two hits and registering two Ks and walks apiece in five scoreless innings pitched. Pomeranz, picked up by Colorado from Cleveland as part of the Ubaldo Jimenez prospect bounty, succeeded despite not showing the same zip that made him the fifth overall pick in the 2010 MLB draft.

Before the season, Baseball America lauded the 6-foot-5, 230 pound lefty's power arsenal:

Pomeranz has two plus pitches in his fastball and curveball. His fastball sits in the low 90s and touches 95 mph. It has good life and the deception in his delivery makes it tough to track the ball out of his hand. His breaking ball is even more devastating, a knuckle-curve with hard 12-to-6 action.

Pomeranz went on to punch out 119 batters in 101 minor league innings spent mostly at the High-A level in 2011. But, perhaps still regaining strength and stamina after having an emergency appendectomy on August 20, Pomeranz averaged 89.5 mph with his fastball and topped out at 92.6 mph on Sunday.

While the Mississippi product didn't get many swings and misses with the pitch (three whiffs in 22 swings), Pomeranz did a great job of keeping the ball at the hitters' knees:

 Pomeranz's fastball location vs. Cincinnati on September 11, 2011

Six of Pomeranz's nine ground ball outs came on fastballs. Echoing the Baseball America scouting report, Rockies manager Jim Tracy told MLB.com's Jack Etkin that Pomeranz hides the ball well in his pitching motion:

His delivery is very, very clean, and he has a quick arm. And a quick arm like that creates a lot of deception, not only for left-handed hitters but right-handed hitters -- 91-92 [mph] looks much firmer because of that.

And the knuckle-curve? Pomeranz didn't go to his breaking ball much, throwing just eight of them out of 63 total pitches. The upper-70s pitch did show 12-to-6 action, with little horizontal movement but nearly eight inches of "drop" compared to a pitch thrown without spin:

Release velocity and movement of Pomeranz's curveball on September 11, 2011The curve that Pomeranz showed on Sunday had similar velocity and movement to those thrown by lefties like Wandy Rodriguez and Erik Bedard.

As a 22-year-old with less than a full season's worth of pitching in the pros, Pomeranz has work to do in terms of honing his control and developing a changeup to keep hitters off his fastball/curveball combo. But, assuming he regains his pre-surgery velocity in the long run, Pomeranz's sneaky delivery and big hook give him a good chance to eventually front Colorado's rotation.

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