Framing the Friars: Rookie Performances & Spangerberg’s Improved Launch Angle

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Credit: Padres/Twitter


The Padres honored our military on Sunday, like they do every Sunday home game.

It truly is beautiful to watch this scene at Petco Park.

Dinelson Lamet got his fourth start on the day, looking to bounce back from a rough outing his last time out.

In case you missed it, Lamet gave up nine total runs, seven of them earned, walked five, and hit one batter last time out.

This Sunday afternoon game didn’t go much better for him.

Lamet pitched 5.0 innings, allowed six hits, a walk, and seven runs… all of them earned. He gave up three long balls, one to Mike Moustakas, one to Alex Gordon, and one to Eric Hosmer.

One of Lamet’s biggest struggles so far is reducing hard contact over the top left side of the strike zone.

Courtesy of Baseball Savant

You can see here that he is giving up an average exit velocity of 96.4mph in the top left corner of the strike zone alone. All other parts? An average of 73.2mph even with the 95.8mph average exit velocity over the middle-right side of home plate.

That top left corner is the exact spot where Lamet left the pitch that Moustakas drove out of the park.

I think it’s just safe to say that Dinelson Lamet might not be as ready as we were hoping for. Here are his first two starts numbers: 10.0 IP, eight hits, three earned runs, three walks, 16 strikeouts, and two home runs allowed

His last two outings: 8.0 IP, 11 hits, 16 runs, 14 earned runs, six walks, nine strikeouts, and four home runs.

I think we should give him one more outing before we start jumping to conclusions, but no doubt these numbers start to ignite some conversations about Lamet not being ready for the big stage just yet.


In other rookie news, Phil Maton was called up today and made his major league debut in the top of the 8th. By then the game was pretty much out of reach for the Friars, and Maton came in looking to prevent anymore runs from coming in. And let me tell you, he was phenomenal. He threw a seven pitch, 1-2-3 inning. He sat down Lorenzo Cain by way of the K in just four pitches, Hosmer followed up with a one-pitch line out, and then Drew Butera lined out to center field on just his second pitch of the at bat.

Against: Butera Outcome: Lineout
Against: Cain Outcome: Strikeout
Against: Hosmer Outcome: Lineout

Maton’s placement was truly impressive. Only one ball was out of the strike zone and that ball was the one Cain swung at and missed to give Maton his first career K.

A truly impressive start for a kid who had been on fire while in Triple-A El Paso.



Courtesy of Baseball Savant

Now let’s take a shift from the rookie pitchers and focus on someone who has really been improving lately. Cory Spangenberg has somewhat slumped through May, but has really been picking it up lately.

One of his biggest improvements is his launch angle. Spangenberg has had an active career with the Padres since being called up in September of 2014. Since then, his career average launch angle has been at 12.86 degrees.

This season, he has managed to pick that angle up to an average of 15.01 degrees.

This recent launch angle increase for Spangenberg has allowed him to raise his slash line from .222/.253/.289 in May to .444/.444/.500 to start June. I know it’s still early in June, but Spangenberg has almost half the number of hits this month as he did last month and he’s only 18 at bats into the month.

Another tough Padre loss, but nonetheless a lot to learn about the growth and improvements these younger players are making on a game-to-game basis.


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