Grilli's fastball proving deceptively quick
What makes Jason Grilli's fastball so effective? Short arms and strong legs.
According to Fangraphs, Grilli throws his fastball two-thirds of the time with an average velocity of 93.8 mph. The Pirates' setup man entered Saturday's action tied for sixth among major league relievers with 48 strikeouts.
“It's sneaky,” catcher Rod Barajas said. “You see a lot of guys throw 94 to 95 mph, and hitters are still on it. It's different with him. It's like he short-arms it, so it's got that little bit of extra deception. It's moving 94 to 95 mph, but it makes it appear like it's 96 to 97 mph. With short-arm guys, it seems like those balls get on you just a little bit quicker.”
Grilli has increased his velocity by almost 2 mph over the past couple of years. Hurdle believes it's a by-product of the rehab Grilli had after knee surgery in 2010.
“He's using his legs now more than he ever did before,” Hurdle said. “He added strength, a better core, a better foundation. If you talk to old-school pitchers like Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan — I was fortunate to spend time with both of them — one of the biggest things they talked about was having the leg strength, the ability to drop and drive off the mound.”
Altoona reliever Vic Black was added to the Double-A Eastern League All-Star roster. He will join Altoona teammates Ramon Cabrera, Brandon Cumpton and Brock Holt in the July 11 game.
Plans for Lincoln
After throwing two innings Friday, reliever Brad Lincoln was not available to pitch Saturday and won't be again Sunday. Hurdle said the plan is to avoid pitching Lincoln, who also has been used as a spot starter, on consecutive days.
“Once we get him out there, if it's a two-inning (outing), we'll see if we can run him to three so he stays stretched out,” Hurdle said. “With two innings (Friday), we'd be asking too much of him to come back (Saturday or) Sunday. He's not a computer chip; he's a human being. The transitions have been a lot for him this year, so we're trying to keep it real simple in how we use him.”
Zalewski won't sign
Zarley Zalewski, the Pirates' 40th-round draft pick, has decided to play college baseball rather than sign with the team.
A switch-hitting shortstop out of Valley High School in New Kensington, Zalewski will honor his scholarship to Kent State, one of this year's College World Series participants.
Zalewski was the WPIAL Baseball Coaches Association Class AAA Player of the Year this past season after hitting .574 with eight home runs, 25 runs and 36 RBI in 18 games.
Staff writer Bill Beckner Jr. contributed.Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.