Analysis

Analysis: Bad Decisions Plague Myers

Against the Rockies Saturday, Brett Myers threw three pitches that were slammed back out of Coors Field. Those three home runs were three of four hits the Rockies collected against Myers. And it comes after the Braves socked Myers for three homers. So wait, four hits in Coors Field? Myers surely is a good pitcher, right?

He is.

But seeing as Myers already has trended as a home run pitcher in 2009, let’s dive into those six shots to see just why Myers’ numbers aren’t showing that he’s a good pitcher.

Home Run 1 – Brian McCann: On a 2-0 count, Myers throws a changeup high and center. It proceeds a changeup on 1-0 that fell outside for a ball. McCann crushes it.

Opinion: He should’ve never gone back to the changeup on 2-0. (You almost never throw two straight changeups.) McCann expected it, and it’s Myers’ worst pitch.

Home Run 2 – Jeff Francoeur: On the first pitch, Myers throws a fastball middle-in at 90 miles per hour. Francoeur is a notorious first-pitch swinger. He crushes it.

Opinion: Myers should never throw a hot-zone fastball to Francoeur to start an at bat. That’s the one pitch you don’t throw him.

Home Run 3 – Jordan Schafer: On a 3-1 count, Myers throws a fastball down the middle of the plate at 90 miles per hour. Schafer crushes it.

Opinion: Hitters’ count. A rookie more than anyone is looking for a turnpike fastball. Myers gave it to him. Should’ve never happened.

Home Run 4 – Troy Tulowitzki: On a 1-0 count, Myers throws a fastball middle-in after throwing a fastball to start the count. Tulowitzki drills it.

Opinion: Two straight fastballs in the zone to start an at bat — not good. It came after a double that Brad Hawpe hit from a good curveball. It’s likely Myers was rattled and wanted to prove a strikeout to Tulowitzki.

Home Run 5 – Garrett Atkins: On a 3-1 count, Myers throws a curveball that lands on the outside corner of the plate and just below the belt. Atkins gets a hold of it and lasers it out to left field.

Opinion: A pure hitters’ home run, Atkins just used his power to take that one out. Good pitch in that situation. Can’t fault Myers.

Home Run 6 – Clint Barmes: On a 1-0 count, Myers throws a fastball high and inside. Barmes nails it.

Opinion: Not great to open the at bat with two fastballs, but it’s not terrible against Barmes. Still, this landed in Barmes’ hot zone. He loves it on the higher part of the zone. Not the best decision.

Assessment: Four of the six home runs Myers has surrendered were purely because of poor decision making. Some due to scouting (throwing Francoeur a first-pitch fastball; possibly not recognizing Barmes’ hot zone), more due to plain stupid decisions (a 3-1 fastball to a rookie; firing two straight fastballs to Tulowitzki; throwing two straight changeups to a professional power hitter). One question surrounding Myers is if his head will affect his play, and if it does, just how badly he might perform. After two games there’s a pattern: Myers will make a few bad decisions, and when he does — since he’s a fastball pitcher with a below-average changeup — he’ll get rocked by the longball.

It’s not surprising that besides the home runs, Myers pitched exceptionally well Saturday night. Most of the time his curveball was hitting, and he allowed his fastball to breathe around the zone, setting up the plus-plus breaking pitch. But the mistakes were sickly predictable — most junior college players could guess and hit off those mistakes.

For Myers to limit his mistakes and look dominant (there’s a fine line between looking dominant and looking shattered), he needs to refocus and think about each situation. Hawpe hits a good pitch for a double? Okay, then be careful with Tulowitzki. Start him with a curve to set up the fastball. Myers will allow some home runs since his two dominant pitches are home run pitches, but if he concentrates a bit more on the situations, he can be a very strong pitcher, one capable of masterful performances. So far, however, the head isn’t quite there.

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0 Comments

  1. Greg V.

    April 12, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    I wouldn’t be too harsh on Myers. He’s the best starter we have so far!

  2. Mark B.

    April 12, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Great analysis Tim. But 1 question; What role does his battery-mate, that is to say Ruiz, Coste or now Marson (with Ruiz down), play in pitch selection?

  3. Tim Malcolm

    April 12, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    The battery mate does share blame, as he offers the pitch to Myers. But Myers is the one who has to confirm the pitch — and really, he can throw whatever the heck he wants.

  4. JohnKruksLoveChild

    April 12, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Agree with Mark, Brett can shake off the pitch but isn’t Carlos or Chris calling the game ? Plus I don’t see Myers shaking off very much, if at all.

    Also, second guessing pitches is a dubious proposition. Baseball is very much a game of “what I am going to do if you know what I know what you know”. Everyone knows Frenchy loves to hit first pitch fastballs, but that does that mean you *never* throw him one ? Maybe after throwing him a change-up for his first pitch for his other plate appearances, you give him a fastball because now he’s not expecting it. Those kinds of mind games are what make the pitcher/hitter duels so great.

    Most pitches have what, five pitches they can really own ? Sometimes when you try to mix it up, they guess right and you pay, that’s just the way of it. Not saying you can’t be smart about it or that Myers didn’t make mistakes.

  5. Doug D.

    April 12, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    If you watch Brett, he shakes off a lot of pitches. I mean a lot of pitches. Brett’s a self-admitted redneck from Jacksonville. I live in Jacksonville. Believe me, the rednecks here (and there are way too many) aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed. Maybe he should try taking a lesson from Crash Davis in “Bull Durham” — don’t think, just throw!

  6. NJ

    April 12, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Some pitchers like to call the game more than others, think Moose was renounded for being a guy who liked to call hiw own game. Imagine when Brett’s struggling on the mound he probably gets in his head and doesn’t have so much confidence in what his catchers calling.

  7. ryan

    April 12, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    myers shakes off the catcher too much too. i don’t think he’s smart enough to call his own game. he’s not that type of pitcher. he’s got great stuff and he should let the catcher decide how he uses it.

  8. NJ

    April 12, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Nicely put Dough D. Maybe Coste was playing a little Crash Davis and gave the hitter the pitch.

  9. BurrGundy

    April 12, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Excellent analysis of Myers. He is not a thinker and needs a battey-mate who can call an outstanding game and get Myers to follow the plan (not an easy task) Fact is, we may not have that battery-mate in our system. Myers, in my opinion, does not concentrate well and loses his cool. If only he had a head for pitching. He sure has the arm.

  10. Manny

    April 12, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    I agree with what’s being said here, but it’s still a little rough on Myers. Maybe we should discuss this after 3 more starts? I think he’ll impress everyone.

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