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Cristian Javier's Invisiball

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by Joe Joe, Jul 27, 2020.

  1. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    I've been waiting to see Statcast data on Cristian Javier's 4S Fastball and it is finally here.

    It clocks in at 93.7 mph with 10.9 inches of drop or about 4.8 inches of rise over what is expected from a MLB 4S fastball. The 4.8 inches of "rise" (or lack of drop) is better than anyone from last season in the majors (Poche 4.3).

    Considering the baseball bat is 2.6 inches in thickness max, a ball that ends up about 4.8 inches higher than it is suppose to be explains why he missed so many bats and ended up with so many pop ups in the minors. I expect he'll have similar luck in the majors with whiffs and pop ups on his 4S fastball.

    With that amount of rise to induce pop ups, I would expect him to continue to be a FIP-beater and an xFIP-beater (i.e., his ERA is lower than his FIP and xFIP suggest) in the majors like he was in the minors.

    His 93.7 mph fastball is going to be more overpowering than Giles's 100 mph heater. All he has to do is throw it for strikes.
     
    #1 Joe Joe, Jul 27, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2020
  2. msn

    msn Member

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    Fingers crossed!
     
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  3. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    https://www.mlb.com/news/on-the-move-5-pitches-you-need-to-know-about

    Excerpts from article that touches on a lot of the same points in my original post. Nice to see some national recognition.
    ...

    Cristian Javier, Astros, four-seam fastball
    +4.5 inches more rise than average (most)

    ....

    It's fastball rise. It doesn't really "rise," of course, but because of how he spins it -- both the total rate and the axis -- Javier's fastball fights the effects of gravity more than a hitter would usually expect, falling more slowly. That +4.6 inches number, if it held up over the course of a full season, would have been the best in baseball last year, just ahead of another young arm who piled up tons of whiffs without elite velocity, Tampa Bay's Colin Poche.
     
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  4. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    I have shifted my hopes for this season away from seeing Houston win the WS (of course I still want them to, I just think without Verlander and given the uncertainty of the season even finishing that it’s foolish to hang hopes on) and toward seeing some young players get established.

    It’s still way early, but Javier looked like he could very well be a good #3 starter. Quality 50+ inning samples each from Javier, Urquidy, Whitley, and Bielak (along with some bullpen success from James, Abreu, Taylor, and maybe several others) would go a LONG way to making it viable that Houstons competitive window extends past the Verlander/Greinke/McCullers exodus after next season.
     
  5. STR8Thugg

    STR8Thugg STR8Thugg Member
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    Cristian Javier looks like an absolute monster. Terrific control and that fastball was clocking in at 95 routinely.
     
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  6. Bear_Bryant

    Bear_Bryant Member

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    What a great debut from Javier. I feel bad for the kids down in A ball who had to play against him last year.

    Hope he stays in the rotation once Verlander gets back.
     
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  7. SKYGODZ187

    SKYGODZ187 Member

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    Javier just need conditioning.
    If he can make it to 90 pitches and the 6th inning. He will be an awesome guy for a long time.
     
  8. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    Keith Law wrote an article about top prospects performing well. He included a blurb on Javier. He got the facts right, but not all the conclusions. Law notes that Javier's spin rate is merely above average and wrongly implies that Javier's bat missing ability is solely deception with batters having trouble picking up ball from his hand. Vertical movement, for which we know Javier is King for 4S Fastballs, is a function of fastball velocity, spin rate, and spin axis. He's not hit Baseball Savant's minimum yet to report active spin, but Javier doesn't get horizontal movement on his 4S fastball. This indicates he's getting mostly active spin (up and down) to miss bats and not side spin to generate weak contact. On fastball velocity, the harder you throw, the easier it is to spin the ball, but the less time spin has to affect the ball's movement. For low 90s fastballs, Javier's spin is king.

    I don't know how much deception Javier gets out of his hand. I'm guessing some, though Javier also mixes his pitches a little. Maybe Poche has elite deception out of his hand, too. Poche's fastball has similar velocity and movement except it is his only freaking pitch and he can only do it for an inning. Also, Poche appears just tries to throw it across the center of the plate and uses his lack of command to make sure he doesn't actually throw it across the center. Sometimes, his command is too good. Poche gets plenty of whiffs as I expect from Javier.
     
    #8 Joe Joe, Jul 31, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2020
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  9. Screaming Fist

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    Javier's changeup is an interesting pitch. Not a lot of velocity gap from his fastball but he gets a lot of horizontal run on that pitch compared to an average righty, and even more so when compared to how vertical his fastball is.
     
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  10. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    Isn't 6 mph difference (or is it 8?) the magic number for a changeup? Enough gap that hitter will miss if he swings for a fastball, fast enough that it looks like a fastball, and it is better to be fast on a change when the batter is sitting change. Also, the guys with huge differences in speed usually slow their arm which reduces the effectiveness.

    Based on his curve being about 80 mph, the change being 86-87 offers Javier 3 different speeds that a batter has to account as well as the 3 different movements.
     
  11. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    ^^^
    https://theathletic.com/1963410/202...ng-players-in-the-early-going-second-edition/

    Justin Verlander’s injury means right-hander Cristian Javier, Houston’s No. 5 prospect coming into 2020, became a lot more important to the Astros, and his first major-league start Wednesday had to give them some cause for optimism. Javier is a big deception guy, working with mostly average stuff but getting nine swings-and-misses across all three of his pitches. Javier was 92-94 mph in his start, working heavily off the fastball, and succeeded when he kept it out of the middle of the plate, even when he went upstairs. It has above-average but not elite spin, so Javier’s ability to miss bats with it is a function of how hard it is for batters to pick up the ball from his hand. He has a straight changeup at 87-88 mph and a slider at 77-81 mph that he’d backdoor to lefties; he was very effective at keeping the latter pitch down in the zone to avoid hard contact.

    He gave up just one run on a homer to Corey Seager on a fastball that got too much plate, and otherwise stayed out of the zone or at its edges. Javier walks a tightrope with this approach, because if he loses a half-grade of command he’s probably a long reliever, given how ordinary his stuff is. He has the deception that a pitcher like Peterson (see above) lacks, however, and showed it still works even against one of the majors’ best lineups.

     
  12. Screaming Fist

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    I think the average velo gap is around 7.5 or 8 and velo gap is positively correlated with SwStr%, but of course there are exceptions to the rule with Greinke being a notable one.
     
  13. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    I read an article in a book (Hard Ball Time Annual most likely, guessing it was an Eno Sarris article) a few years back that basically once the change reached a certain velocity gap (which I think was 6 mph, maybe 8) that its effectiveness was no longer a function of velocity difference. I can't remember if the effectiveness went down after reaching that certain velocity gap or plateaued. Greinke's change is weird in that he gets effectiveness from it solely through movement and his arm moving as fast as he throws his fastball.

    Though there is a chance I am completely remembering this wrong.
     
  14. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    https://www.pitcherlist.com/gif-breakdown-cristian-javiers-mlb-debut/

    I thought this was a great article. I agree with the analysis: that Javier’s success as a starter will be determined by his endurance and the effectiveness of his changeup. The only thing the article didn’t point out enough for me was that Javier was throwing 95+ despite not being stretched out properly. I think that increases the odds that in a “normal” year he could keep that kind of velocity into the 5th and 6th innings.

    It seems pretty clear that his FB alone would make him an effective reliever. But if he can get stronger, he may be able to keep mid 90s heat through 80+ pitches, at which point he almost surely would be an effective starter long term, and if he were able to combine that increased endurance with further development of his secondary pitches, he could be very good. So for now, he has a floor as a really good 2 inning reliever, with a ceiling as a #2 starter. My guess for now is that he ends up a solid 1.5 to 2 win #4 pitcher over the next 5+ years.
     
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  15. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    Assuming pro-rated for this year, I'll take the over for the next 3 years for RA-9 WAR.
     
  16. xcrunner51

    xcrunner51 Contributing Member

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    Great article. thanks SD
     
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  17. texans1095

    texans1095 Member

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    Brent Strom was on 790 the other day before one of the games and he went out of his way to state that he wholeheartedly believes Javier is going to be a mainstay of our starting rotation for several years to come.
     
  18. Nook

    Nook Member

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    I have followed Javier closely since he entered the Astros system. The reason I followed him initially is because someone in the organization told me, that Javier understood pitching better than any pitcher in the system.

    Above is what I wrote about Javier in December of 2019 and again in February of 2020. I have seen him pitch in person several times and have been lucky enough to get tape sent to me of most of his starts.

    Javier is an example of what I mean when I say that public scouting services are very limited and can be quite lazy.

    Javier was not a high in demand prospect so his success was not heavily reported or considered..... then he didn't throw 95 mph, so he was again knocked. They did not bother to look at how his pitches fit like puzzles pieces or talk to the hitters that faced him.

    Even when his fast ball would hit 92-93 mph, they claimed he was inconsistent, because sometimes he would throw it at 88-89 mph.... never realizing that he was purposely doing it.

    I don't know what the future holds for Javier, but I do know this........ he has all the "true" indicators of success. He had a consistent track record of high performance, he has consistently improved, he can throw multiple pitches for strikes, he is successful at avoiding contact.
     
    #18 Nook, Jul 31, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2020
  19. Nook

    Nook Member

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    Some one with the Astros last year told me that the change up is what will be the difference between being a journeyman and being a guy that makes over 100 million dollars playing the game. The issue with the change up is that it looks EXACTLY the same leaving his hand as the fastball and because of the low velocity gap it makes hitters have to guess. He also does things like throw a couple fastballs in the 89-90 MPH range that break differently than the change up.... then he moves his hands slightly when he throws his fastball at 93-94 mph..... but in key spots can throw the change up with the same hand positions as the change up..... so the hitter has to wait on the pitch and a 93-94 mph is suddenly similar to a 100 mph fastball.

    The only thing that has slowed him down over the last year plus has been control......when he has command and control he has been pretty close to unhittable.
     
  20. Nook

    Nook Member

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    You are remembering it right. At a certain point the difference is very easy to pick up and the effectiveness of the pitch is no longer fooling or confusing the hitter. At that point they essentially know what is coming. There have been some guys that have such a good change up that it really doesn't matter if the hitter is sitting on it..... they either have deceptive late movement or the pitch is hard for hitters to square up on... but those are very rare pitchers... and guys with that quality of pitch tend to throw it 50% of the time anyway.
     
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