Reds rookie LHP Tony Cingrani has received a lot of attention at Fangraphs.com this week. The first article from Mike Newman appeared on Monday, providing a detailed scouting report and video from a game Cingrani pitched against Huntsville on August 4th.
On the mound, Cingrani utilized deception to help his stuff play up against opposing hitters. In altering his pacing, he gave the impression of lulling hitters to sleep. With a 3/4 arm slot including exaggerated arm extension in the back of his delivery, the result was a Ã¢â‚¬Å“whippyÃ¢â‚¬Â effect which is difficult for batters to time properly. This left me repeatedly checking my radar gun for accuracy as fastballs I perceived as 90-92 MPH were actually registering a few ticks lower. It should be mentioned the velocity readings were accurate for the start, as my readings were on par with other radar guns of industry types in attendance.
The article goes on to describe CingraniÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fastball in more detail, as well as detail his slider and change-up. It’s worth noting that Cingrani was wild that game, 4 walks and a hit batter, but he did pitch well enough to shut out Huntsville for all 5 innings he was on the mound. The scouting report does explain an apparent mechanical flaw that was causing his fastball to miss high and outside to right-handed hitters.
Newman’s take on Cingrani’s future:
Projecting Tony CingraniÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s future role is difficult due to his being a rather unique left-handed pitcher. With a fastball-dominant arsenal, one would expect bigger velocity than a fastball which may not average 90 MPH throwing every fifth day. Of lefties who threw 150 or more innings in 2011-2012 while averaging 89.0-90.9 MPH, only Wade Miley and Joe Saunders threw more than 70% fastballs. In most cases, fastball usage was in the 50-60% range. This tells me Cingrani will either need to rely on off-speed pitches significantly more than he does now, or wind up a reliever at the big league level.
On the following day, a Fangraphs.com article from Carson Cistulli focuses on CingraniÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fastball and his high strikeout rate. Cingrani has been successful with his fastball at each level he’s pitched, and he has thrown it almost exclusively in the majors, 75 of 82 pitches, 91% of the time.
In addition to the analysis provided, there are animated GIFÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s illustrating CingraniÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“whippy effectÃ¢â‚¬Â.
What do we learn? Mostly, that more footage would be helpful. But another thing is this unique sort of Ã¢â‚¬Å“wrappingÃ¢â‚¬Â motion Cingrani performs with his wrist as he withdraws the ball from his glove and brings his hand back. It is this, and the subsequent whip-like arm action (noted by Newman in his report), that appears to create the deception frequently invoked in reports on Cingrani.