Nathan Baker has had a rough time lately in the Arizona Fall League. His previous two outings saw him allow eight earned runs in three innings. Coming in to today’s game, he had given up 15 earned runs in 13.1 innings, giving up two runs in one inning on three separate occasions prior to his recent two game blowup. Baker had much better results for the Mesa Solar Sox last night, throwing two shutout innings. The left hander allowed a walk and a hit, and struck out two.
Baker had a rocky start, allowing a leadoff single in the fourth inning, and issuing a walk to the following batter. He fought back with two strikeouts, working more with his slider to get the outs, and then picked off a runner at second for the final out of the inning. His second inning was much easier, with two ground outs, followed by a fly out.
Pitch F/X data was available from the game. Baker threw three pitches, his fastball, slider, and changeup. He only threw two changeups, both at 80 MPH. Out of his 32 pitches, 21 were fastballs. He ranged 90-93 MPH with his fastball, averaging 91.6 MPH. He hit 93 MPH five times, with four of those coming in the second inning, and three coming in the final at-bat. His slider ranged from 83-86 MPH. He hit 85 once, and 86 three times, including twice in the final at-bat. He threw nine sliders, with seven going for strikes and two going for balls. That’s a much better ratio than his fastball, where he saw ten strikes, seven balls, three outs, and one hit. Overall, Baker was credited for 22 strikes and ten balls.
The numbers are consistent with his last Pitch F/X game, which came on October 23rd. He ranged 90-93 MPh with his fastball then, averaging just under 92 MPH, but struggled with his control. He only threw four sliders the last time around, and two changeups.
Jarek Cunningham started at second base and went 0-for-2 with two walks. He now has ten walks during the AFL season, which is seven shy of his 2011 totals in the Florida State League. He’s played 24 games in the AFL, compared to 80 if the FSL this year.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.
so his Cunningham more aware of strike zone or is he being pitched around?
Would be interesting to know.