Breakfast & Baseball: Hayhurst Book, Return To Cuba, Chemistry, and Pitch Grips

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Today's B&B post talks about Dirk Hayhurst's newest book, Cuban defectors finally being allowed to return to the island, the Marlins selling team chemistry because they have nothing else to look for, and Trevor Bauer discusses how he throws his vast repertoire of pitches.

Good morning, all. I hope you all were able to make it to TwinsFest last weekend. Even if you're not a fan of autographs, there's plenty to do and see at the Metrodome. I've typically shied away from autographs the past 2 years with the exception of the free minor league line for the big name prospects such as Miguel Sano and Aaron Hicks. There's also plenty of shenanigans going around, such as Drew Butera harassing Trevor Plouffe with a cardboard cutout of Plouffe himself, Mike Pelfrey being introduced to our love of "How's the weather up here?", and me photobombing a newly crowned millionaire.

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(Photo credit: Betsy Bissen)

Although I don't go for the paid autographs anymore, this might be worth doing a $15 line next year just to get this picture signed.

  • I am a huge fan of Dirk Hayhurst as an author, so I was excited when it was announced earlier this week that his new book, Wild Pitches, has been released. I'm a bit disappointed that it's only an E-book, but I will be able to make do with that. It's being touted as the "wildly entertaining Ebook-only companion to Out of My League" which will be fun as OOML was a bit more serious than Hayhurst's first book, The Bullpen Gospels. Honestly, anything that gives us more insight into life as a ballplayer is always entertaining to read and see, as Wild Pitches even promises photographic evidence of the mischief ballplayers get themselves into throughout the season.
  • You've likely heard of Cuban players defecting from the island in an effort to play in MLB, but you may not have realized that those players were often banned from returning to the island as punishment for leaving. At least, until recently, as earlier this week Cuba passed some reforms that will now allow those once-barred natives to finally return to the country, such as reliever Jose Contreras. There are many people that are fearful of being imprisoned upon returning, but Contreras's mother has been sick and he has missed being home for years. While he's not the first Cuban to come back, he certainly has the highest profile thus far.
  • Remember my post a few weeks ago about how the Twins seem to use clubhouse chemistry and a player's attitude in the decision-making process, and how I feel that mindset turns them away from more talented players? Well, the Marlins are going to be fielding a rather young, inexperienced team in 2013 thanks to owner Jeff Loria's latest fire sale, and they just so happen to be using clubhouse chemistry as the selling point for their offseason moves. Yep, last year's Marlins squad was built to win, but they didn't, and they've succeeded in getting rid of pain-in-the-rear members of the team like Hanley Ramirez, Heath Bell, and Ozzie Guillen. Granted, I do feel that the Marlins made some solid baseball decisions and should be fielding a good team again in a few years, but completely dismantling a team and then arguing that a better clubhouse is going to lead to a better team is pretty amusing in my mind.
  • Lastly, I decided I'd rather not talk about the Miami steroids bust and the link to Alex Rodriguez, so instead I will talk about Trevor Bauer talking about pitch grips. Now, it's one thing if you're R.A. Dickey and the knuckleball, Paul Byrd and the one-finger change-up, or Alex Meyer and the no-seam fastball, but you need to realize that Trevor Bauer has experimented with nineteen different pitches throughout his baseball career, and according to Wikipedia he currently throws nine. This video that Bauer just released seems to confirm that number, as he demonstrates how he grips and throws his arsenal. However, I have a couple questions/observations, and perhaps you can help me answer them (and maybe I should just ask Bauer myself as he answers a lot of questions on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter):
  1. Bauer's 9 pitches in the video are as follows: Four-seam fastball, change-up, cut change, two types of sliders, two types of curveballs, the reverse slider (moves like a lefty's slider), and a splitter.
  2. With all those pitches, I'm amazed Bauer doesn't throw a two-seamer, as most pitchers have one in an attempt to generate some ground balls.
  3. In the comment section of this video, Bauer was asked and answered that he does still throw "The Bird," which is a splitter but held with his index and ring fingers instead of the index and middle finger. The middle finger is held up when thrown, thus how "The Bird" was named. If true, this gives him 10 pitches.
  4. What is the purpose of throwing both a change-up and splitter? Being similar pitches, I'd seem them as being redundant. (By the way, I believe Freddy Garcia is another pitcher that throws both off-speed pitches.)
  5. Imagine if he was ambidextrous like Pat Venditte. He'd probably be throwing 25 different pitches.
  6. Imagine a catcher calling signs for a pitcher that has 25 pitches.
  7. Imagine if you could even throw one major league caliber pitch.
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