2017 has not been kind to Sean Reid-Foley. Wednesday, he finally put together the kind of start to which we've been become accustomed these past couple years. He struck out 7 without issuing a walk over 5 innings, allowing one run on three hits. The dominant results were vintage SRF, as he piled up 16 whiffs (on 48 swings, 67% contact) while tunring over the Hartford lineup twice on 80 pitches. The one thing is it doesn't seem like the premium mid/upper 90s velocity is present now, as the only readings from the stadium gun was 92 MPH (and higher velocity almost invariably gets mentioned).
Coming in after Reid-Foley, Chris Rowley threw 3 incredible shutout innings, striking out 7 of the 10 batters he faced. He managed to pile up 14 swinging strikes of 53 thrown (32 swings), mostly on breaking balls and offspeed. Rowley is now sporting a 1.66 ERA with a 27/2 K/BB ratio in 21.2 innings. The one caveat is he gave up pretty hard contact the handful of times the ball was put in play.
On Monday, Jon Harris turned in one of his better starts on the season, spreading 99 pitches over 7 innings of 1 run ball (on a double steal of home that shouldn't have happened). He scattered 7 hits and a walk while turning over the order three full times and working in the low-90s on the stadium gun. All but the last hit with 2 in the 7th were singles, as he managed contact well and kept the ball on the ground (11 of 19 balls in play; 58%). He missed more bats than usual, getting 12 swinging rates on 2 swings for a solid if not overwhelming 77% contact rate in striking out 6 batters.
Dunedin was in Tampa, and unfortunately there were no broadcasts so there's no colour to be added beyond what can be parsed from GameDay. The bats were largely suffocated by the Yankee pitching, with Max Pentecost, Cavan Biggio and Danny Jansen totalling just singles against a pile of strikeouts.
Jordan Romano turned in a solid and deep start Tuesday, going 7 innings and striking out 7 while allowing just 1 run on 8 hits with 4 free passes (2 walks, 2 HBP). He was a little wild in the first half of the outing, but really locked things down from the 4th inning onwards, allowing just 4 singles on under 40 pitches. The biggest plus was 14 bats on 44 swings, for a 68% contact rate.
Angel Perdomo turned in a typical start 5 shutout innings, but with 4 free passes in addition to 4 hits (two for extra bases) against 5 strikeouts. He needed 94 pitches to accomplish that, so in additional to command/control wobbles, it was quite inefficient. As usual, he missed bats (75% contact on 36 swings) and only had 33% ground balls, though got a bunch of popups to offset that.
The biggest story for Lansing was the usual positional suspects. In an abbreviated two game series in Clinton, Vladdy Jr went 6/8, pounding out two doubles and walking twice; Bo Bichette went 3/4 after an 0/5 in the first game; and Edward Olivares had a 3 hit day with 2 doubles in the one game he got into.
On the mound, a couple of 2015 draftees had arguably their best starts of the 2016 season. Mike Ellenbest went 6 innings, allowing 3 runs (2 ER) on 6 hits, walking just one while striking out 6. The keys were getting ahead of batters, keeping the ball on the ground (65%), and missing a handful of bats.
Andy Ravel tied his season high with 7 innings, allowing 4 runs (3 ER) on 7 hits and 2 walks with 6 strikeouts. That doesn't look like a terribly standout line, but the in addition to keeping the ball on the ground (60%), his cruveball was highly effective and he piled up swinging strikes with it. His pro career has been characterized by a lack of missed bats, but on Tuesday he induced 13 on 51 swings (74% contact rate). He went three times through the order, and the third time was the most effective.