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Intriguing Fastball of Andrew Triggs

Last night (8/22/2015), the 27-year-old rookie pitched a gem against one of the most furious offenses, and we have good reasons to believe that he can repeat few of those.

" I'm living proof that you can't measure heart with a radar gun."
" I'm living proof that you can't measure heart with a radar gun."
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, I made a huge bet on the Indians and Carlos Carrasco (for my business purpose) going up against the Athletics. It was substantial money on the line from my perspective, but the big wager didn't bother me at all. Carrasco was struggling lately, but his problem was mostly on the long balls, so I didn't have any concern him facing against Danny-Valencia-and-Billy-Butler-less Athletics lineup at the vastly spacious Coliseum. I did give a quick glance at the Athletics starter, Andrew Triggs, but the 27-year-old rookie spot starter pitching against the second best run-scoring offense in AL didn't look too promising, so I just shrugged off and went to the gym instead watching the game.

Every time I checked on the game, however, I saw bunch of zeros continue to pile up on the both sides of the scoreboard. I didn't really put too much attention at first, but around the third inning, I felt something was cooking at the Bay Area. Triggs, the pitcher who I never saw or heard of prior to the game, was dominating the brutal Indians lineup in a very unique fashion. He exclusively attacked the outer part of the zone with his humdrum 90 mph two-seamers, but he was constantly either getting amazing calls or swings and misses (I was looking at the Gameday app). It really puzzled me. Why are these mostly disciplined hitters swinging at those feeble-looking pitches, and what the hack is going on with the umpire giving out all those friendly calls? So I tapped on couple of his pitches, and I saw the Gameday app showing 8-9 inch breaks in his fastballs. That's odd. I'm used to seeing something around 4-5 inch breaks for usual fastballs.

So I tuned into the game. I had to see what kind of pitches he was throwing, and well, they were ABSOLUTELY NASTY! I could see with my non-scout-trained eyes that his fastballs break away so much from these Indians left handed (or switch) hitters (7 of the Indians hitters were either lefty or switch that night) that they acted almost like a southpaw's slider. That kind of movement also potentially screwed with the umpire's head.

The rookie came out of the game with remarkable 6 IP, 0 R, 6 K, 1 BB, and 3 H line. The more impressive part was that once he came off the mound, the Indians suddenly started slamming against the Athletics' best relievers with couple extra bases hits (They went on to win the game). This proves that his stunning performance didn't have much to do with outside factors, such as wind, the umpire, or the hitters' fatigues.

Obviously I could have simply tuned into one of those games that a pitcher randomly had his best stuff, so I dug up some details about the pitcher. He was an ace of the staff while he was a part of the very competitive USC baseball program, but he was never highly regarded as a prospect, probably because of his mediocre velocity. He was drafted outside of 20th round twice before he signed with the Royals, who picked him up at 19th round. He was mostly treated as a reliever in the Minors, where he was fabulous in every level (Career Minor: 2.09 ERA, 9.0 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 0.2 HR/9. 2016 in AAA: 2.95 ERA, 10.3 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 0.7 HR/9). His last team, the Orioles, wanted to keep him, but they had to make a room for their newly signed slugger Pedro Alvarez, and that's when Billy Bean decided to take a chance with him.

So far in the Majors, his 4.38 ERA doesn't flash too much, but his peripherals, 8.4 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, and 0.7 HR/9 say otherwise. His 3.31 FIP and 3.45 xFIP certainly approve his skill level, and he has been amazing in his four spot starts with 2.41 ERA. He also boasts 51.7% groundball rate, and there are only two starting pitchers in the Majors with 50+ GB%, 8+ K/9, and 3- BB/9, and they are Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard.

Obviously we can't expect him to continue pitching with those otherworldly ratios once he becomes a full-time starter. He does have an interesting raw stuff, however, that might let him stick with the other Major leaguers. First of all, he almost exclusively throws two-seamer as his fastball, and it breaks about 9 inches away from the left side of the plate, and that ranks him inside top 20% among the right handers who threw more than 40 innings this season. His curve also breaks about 10 inches to the other side, and it ranks him inside top 3. Overall, all his pitches move so well from left to right that he has very effective weapons against the both sides of the plate. We already have seen last night that the helpless Indians hitters barely made weak contacts on those late-breaking two-seamers.

The numbers don't lie, and I believe soon enough people will start talking about another steal by Billy Beane. 27-year-old journeyman right-handed rookie with 90 mph fastball isn't probably on many people's radar, but this game isn't about the name. Get him into your roster and let's enjoy another Beane-magic together.

Steamer Rest of the Season Projection