So I thought I'd take a look at our 10 million dollar man (plus Headley) and see what we're getting with one of our big off season acquisitions.
TL;DR - Good stuff, but he sucks. At least for now.
Bryan has a ready arsenal of pitches. He throws a 92 mph cutter coupled with an easy 96 FB that often features tailing movement. His curveball can flash plus as well, featuring sharp break from its tight spin. If you were just looking at him stuff-wise, you'd see no reason he couldn't at least be a strong bullpen piece or even a mid rotation starter.
Despite his stuff he registered just 4.68 K/9 last season and was even worse in 2016 with a 3.96 K/9. His control isn't anything to write home about either at 4 BB/9 in almost 100 innings of major league work. This is a guy with swing and miss stuff. Why isn't he more successful? Having watched him pitch on MLB.TV the answer seems pretty obvious.
While his command actually isn't that bad, his control within the strike zone sucks a big bag of donkey fries. I don't think I've ever seen a guy "miss" with such regularity in the fat part of the zone as does Mitchell. So I went to Fangraphs to see if I was on to something. Sure enough.
It doesn't matter how good your stuff is. If you can't locate your pitches better than that you're not long for MLB.
So what's the good news?
His stuff dances so much he sometimes misses calls on the corners. This is where a guy like Hedges with his advanced pitch framing ability can really help. Perhaps as his confidence improves he will feel more comfortable trying to get those calls and try to work the corners better. Because right now he's just a thrower. His pitch-ability is hovering around 0.
But where there's a Balsley, there's a way. For God's sake, I hope he can figure out a way to get this guy to keep the ball down if nothing else. The raw ingredients are there. Let's hope Balsley is a master chef.