For a lot of obvious reasons I’m rooting for Hector Noesi. He’s essentially the replacement for Michael Pineda, first off, and I think that he’s got really good stuff and deserves a spot in the Mariners rotation, and probably would slot in as my fifth best starting pitcher in the organization presently behind Felix and the big trio.
So on Monday I was tremendously excited to see Noesi, and Noesi flopped. Yu Darvish also flopped, and after the game I made a mental note to look at the Pitch F/X from Texas Leaguers after the game when it was published.
I thought that Noesi got squeezed. If you don’t know what that means and don’t want to sift through what figured to be an enormous amount of sick and perverted definitions on Urban Dictionary, I’ll tell you. When a pitcher is squeezed it means that he is throwing pitches that should be called strikes, but are called balls.
I don’t think that Noesi had great command on Monday, but I felt like he deserved more calls than he got. So here’s the proof:
I count at least nine pitches that were great pitches on the corner that were called balls. At least two more are questionable depending on how Pitch F/X defines their strikezone. So let’s say for the sake of argument that 10 pitches that Noesi threw should have been called strikes but were not. That’s a pretty large amount.
When you consider that Noesi threw 85 total pitches, it may not seem like so much, but when you view the pitches he threw that weren’t swung at, it begins to tell a different story. Of the 45 pitches Noesi threw that weren’t swung at, 10 were called balls that should have been called strikes.
Three of those instances came with two strikes. So literally on three occasions the umpire call snatched a strikeout out of the jaws of a ball in play or a walk.
How much different may Noesi’s night be if he’s given three additional strikeouts? Maybe less walks. Maybe he’s not in as many fastball counts and maybe he doesn’t give up one of the two homeruns he gave up. There’s a lot of what ifs that go into an article like this. And while it may seem like an excuse, it’s actually 10 excuses.
If Hector Noesi got those 10 strike calls, he’d have thrown 60 strikes in 85 pitches. Or two more strikes than Blake Beavan threw in three more pitches. Noesi would have out-striked a strike-throwing machine.
Hector Noesi got squeezed. He didn’t pitch great, he missed only seven bats and maybe he didn’t “earn” those strike calls because he happens to have been asshole enough to be born later than many more established players. Hector Noesi remains an intriguing starter though, and deserves a legitimate shot at keeping the role.