Comments on: Can James McDonald Be More Like the First Half Pitcher From 2012? Your best source for news on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their minor league system. Thu, 22 Jan 2015 22:30:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: leadoff Fri, 05 Apr 2013 20:21:53 +0000 I was not referring to the fact that he could not throw it 94-95 at all, what I meant was he could not throw it with the movement that made it a successful pitch early in the year. In other words it when he threw it and how the ball moved when he threw it, when he lost confidence in it he could not get people out in the lower fastball ranges. Sometimes fangraphs only shows part of what you are looking for, you have to watch the games he pitched, the situations and such.

By: Tim Williams Fri, 05 Apr 2013 19:27:16 +0000 Also, I checked that link to see if he had a similar start last year. Looks like he did in the second outing of the year. Averaged 90. His peak last night was higher than the start last year, but his low point was lower last night. Again, I’d wait to see if it continues.

By: Tim Williams Fri, 05 Apr 2013 19:23:32 +0000 I would wait a few games and see if his velocity stays in that range. Could be because it was cold. Could be early in the season. Could be just one start. Or maybe he was slowing it down for control, like you mentioned. There’s a lot of possibilities, but I’d wait to see if that velocity continues going forward.

By: jalcorn Fri, 05 Apr 2013 19:17:48 +0000 Does anyone have an explanation for his average fastball at 89.4mph yesterday? That was a career low for him and his only start ever under 90. Is he taking something off for control?

Last year he averaged 91.8mph so its a big time drop in velocity.

To leadoff, JMac’s velocity did not fall off a cliff last year as you suggest. He was working maybe 0.5mph lower in August (when he was doing just fine in 5 starts) and Sept (when he collapsed in 4 games). See charts at the link –

By: leadoff Fri, 05 Apr 2013 18:12:38 +0000 I think after watching McDonalds first start that there are a few things that came to life for me.
1. I think Martin is huge for McDonald, I believe that Hurdle passed on McHenry when he surely would have been the catcher after Martin caught a night game the day before, to have Martin working with McDonald.
2. I think Martin is more important to JMac than I do Burnett, I think it is important that Burnett work with JMac and encourage him, but I think when JMac is on the mound, the most important guy in his life besides himself is Martin.
3. I mentioned last year to Pirate management that McDonald could not last the whole year because he threw to many pitches early in games and that he would wear down. He could not get the third out last year with out adding a lot pitches to an inning, those catch up to pitchers. It showed up big time late in the year when his 94-95 mph fastball was gone, when he had to adjust to 89-92 and he could not.
4. Yesterday he pitched most of the game without getting himself in trouble after 2 outs.
5. He did not shake Martin off very much if at all.
6. He did a lot of conditioning on his legs, something he thought weakened during the season last year.
7. The biggest item with McDonald is that he has to learn how to pitch without his good stuff, as Tim said he appeared to struggle a little bit early, but found a way to adjust, how much of that was the guy putting the fingers down?