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May 21, 2024 29 mins

Jimmy’s Three Things is a production of Dan Patrick Productions, Jomboy Media and Workhouse Media #mlb #baseball #chicago #cubs #pitching

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0:00 Intro
0:47 Shota Imanaga is the coolest ever
16:36 Best catcher blocks of the season
25:42 Teams with the easiest schedule


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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Hello, and welcome to Jimmy's Three Things. My name is Jimmy.
I got three things in the baseball world I'm gonna
talk about today. Showta Imanaga is absolutely on fire, Catchers
blocking balls with runners on base, and then gonna look
at some detailed standings and just see what I can find.
Jimmy's Three Things is a production of Dan Patrick Productions,

John Boy Media and Workhouse Media. So thank you very
much for joining. If you enjoy the show, you can subscribe. Also,
if you want the audio only version, it's on its
own podcast feed now. It used to be part of
the Talking Baseball podcast feed. It's on its own podcast
feed now, so you can find it there. If you're
joining from Dan Patrick show, thank you very much. All Right,
I'm gonna take a quick sit in my coffee so

I'll get some energy. Then we're gonna go boom, all right,
Showta in Monaga, and I hope I'm saying that uh
good enough is doing incredible things in Major League Baseball.
So if you're not a National League fan, if you're
a fan that just kind of watches your own team

and knows the guys in your division, and you're not
watching the now Central that much and you haven't fully
tuned in. You're kind of like me. I haven't fully
tuned in yet, Like I haven't watched the start, I
haven't dove into the numbers. But I was just peruising
all the articles and all the stats, reading about this
guy and what he's done. And as a guy, uh,
he seems awesome. Like everyone remembers his opening press conference.

If you don't, this is how it went, Hey.

Speaker 2 (01:26):
Struggle, what do you say today?

Speaker 1 (01:43):
And I was in love with him. I was kind
of like, maybe I doubted him earlier. I don't know,
maybe I didn't. Short pictures are tough. They usually don't
have a longevity or success. He's five ten, he's been
crushing it so far. So as a guy, everything is awesome.
Some other notes that I found about him just as
a dude was he also studied the twenty sixteen Cubs

when he signed with them, and he fell in love
with Zoebrist and Zober's role and the fact that he
was selfless and bad at anywhere in the batting order
and played any position in the field. And eighteen. The
number eighteen usually goes to aces in Japanese baseball culture,
but he like called Zobers and asked for it and
gave him all this love, and Zoeberst was like, that

was awesome to be respected that way. He really appreciated it.
I thought that was kind of cool. He also went
to a Chicago Blackhawks game and heard their goal song,
Chelsea Dagger. He said, I was able to go to
a Chicago Blackhawks game. It's a song that I picked
so fans will enjoy it. So just, you know, pandering
in the best way. How like fans of the city

want to be Panedr' like, oh shit, he's all in
on Chicago and other stuff. That's awesome. There was a
note that he saw he saw his Yeah, he's in Arizona.
He dropped by a local Arizona Target to buy his
own football after seeing how much his teammates enjoyed tossing
one around. And this teammates say, he's funny. He's got
some good quotes. He screamed in his home opener after

the mound after getting the last out of the inning.
They asked him what he yelled. He said, I'm not
sure what I yelled, but afterwards I said, let's go.
So I think I'm becoming a little bit more acclimated
to the culture in the US, So yeah, you scream,
let's go. You fit in Imanaga is nicknamed the Throwing Professor.

The throwing oh sorry, professor is Kyle Hendricks, which is
what I was going to say the next sentence. He's
nicknamed the throwing Philosopher. So they have the throwing Philosopher
and the Professor. Cubs love themselves some smart pitchers, all right,
So as a person, there's like just a ton of
fun anecdotes in the short time he's been around the

media writing about him as a pitcher so far this season,
some of the stuff is just absolutely incredible. Uh. He
leads the league in ERA right now with zero point
eighty four after nine starts. He leads the league in
ERA plus, which is adjusted and one hundred is average.
He's four ninety eight, so he's three hundred and ninety

eight percent above average. If that's it doesn't really make sense,
but yeah, and then his FIP, which is fielding independent pitching,
So like if he had no fielders or if they
made every play, I actually know if he had no fielders,
so just on strikeouts, walks, home runs, is that what
PIP is I know what it is. I'm blanking at
it right now. Oh, it's a stat that measures a

pitcher's effectiveness at preventing home run, walk hit by pitch,
and causing strikeouts. Yeah, three true, Olcolm, two two two,
which is the leads MLB. That's crazy. There's also some
other stats I found about, like how he gets the
job done. Hitters have swung at seventy six percent of
Imanagua's pitches in the zone. So when he's in the zone,

which he's in the zone, I think second most out
of any qualified starting pitcher, or maybe the most. But
when he's in the zone, he's getting more swings than
any other pitcher. And on those swings, he has allowed
a slugging percentage of just two six ' nine, which
is the best among qualified starting pitchers. League average is

four four one and he's at two six ' nine.
League average swings generated at pitches in the zone is
sixty seven percent of pitches in the zone gets swung at,
and his is seventy six. So sounds like he's a
fans player attitude wise, and a fans pitcher to watch,
because I like when guys throw strikes and attack batters

and generate swings and bad contact. That's what he said
in one of his quotes that I read well reading
all about him and in his interviews and stuff. Was
he was like, I'm trying to hit the bat, just
not where they want the ball to get hit. He
said it more eloquently than me in his second language
than I did in my first, but it was that sentiment.
Opponents have a first pitch chase rate of twenty six percent.

That means the pitch is out of the zone, but
they're swinging at it. So he's enticing them and they're
swinging at it even though it's not in the zone.
That's the highest among starting pitchers. So on the first pitch,
they're going up there, I'm gonna get this guy and
he throws his splitter, it looks like it's in the
zone and it goes out and they swing twenty six percent.
League averages fifteen percent. And Monaga has allowed an OPS

of just two seventy nine when going through the lineup
the first time in a game, which is the best
amongst qualified starting pitchers. And he has allowed just an
OPS of three one three versus the bottom of the
order this season, which is the best among starting pitchers
in Major League Baseball. And I was actually looking at

his splits. I see if I can pull them up
real quick, because I was just trying to look at
his splitz page to see if I could find anything,
and that is the one thing that stood out to me,
like nine hole hitters. He's given up one hit to
a nine hole hitter all season in eighteen played appearances,
seventeen at bats, one hit. Who was it? I wonder

if I can find that easily. Let's see. Let's see
showta in Monaga. Clear. I think they do have I
think they do allow you to do this. Don't care
what venue it was in metric range, batting order, lineup position.
So we'll just say nine, nine played appearance, result base hit.

Let's find out who the nine hole hitter is that
got a hit off of Himnaga the only one to
do so this season. It was drum roll, Luis urrais
what did he pinch hit? Ryan's here.

Speaker 2 (07:56):
On the ground corner diving and that one squirts under
is gloving it.

Speaker 1 (08:01):
Okay, Okay, I'm calling Shenanigans because I did it. Lose
is he He's on batting ninth for the Padres oh,
I have his game log up, so it was real.
It was against the Padres on May seventh, and Luis
Rai's pinch hit for Kyle Ho Gotshioka. So the one
hit he's given up to a nine hole batter was
a pinch hitter and it was the two time batting

chat so Shenanigans. I'm glad. I looked up who got
the hit and we deep dove into that stat So, yeah,
he just kills the bottom of the order, which again
is like a fans pitcher, don't let these guys beat you,
just fucking you know, don't take your foot off the
gas because you think the competition's lighter. Garrett Cole had
that problem in twenty twenty one. I think I think

it was twenty twenty one. Garrett Cole, like all his
homers came from like the nine hole or the eight
hole hitter. It was like, come on, man, because he
would just feed him fastballs. I think it was twenty
twenty one. Oh, I think it was this year. The seven, eight,
nine had a higher ops than the three than the
three through six, and he gave up twelve home runs

to the seven, eight nine hitters and seven to the
one two and fourteen to the three, four, five, six.
So yeah, it was that you're with Garrett Call and
it was frustrating because it was like a very good season.
But it's like, dude, get those guys out. So that's
what I Minaga's doing, which is awesome, seems just like
a fans dream. Look at this game log seven innings,

pitch zero earned runs. Four innings pitch zero earned runs.
Note only forty three pitches. Rain delay killed that one.
Five point one innings pitch zero earned run. Six innings
pitch two six point one one seven zero seven two
five zero seven zero. I love when I go Mike
Francess and just shout numbers and people are like, Jimmy,

we can't keep up. But I'm sorry. His worst game
as far as earned runs go six innings pitch two
earned runs. Maybe I mean, in that game, you give
a five hits. In this game, you give up seven hits,
but he struck out eight and had more innings pitched.
I like to look. I like looking at this part
of Baseball Reference. Sometimes they have like when he exited

over here, he exited tie game up by five, up
by one. So because the Cubs aren't like crushing it.
They're winning all his starts, but his last, so his
last four outings, he exited the game. It was tied,
it was tied down one ahead one. I'm saying this
to further illustrate that he's pitching in close games. The

margin for error is small, and he's still performing in
that situation. It's not like the Cubs are giving him
seven zero leads. If the Cubs are giving them, like,
you know, four nothing leads after two innings, then you
would say, dude, just throw strikes, make them hit it.
But he's pitching in close games and still just throwing

strikes and making them hit it. Very impressive. Okay, so
how does he do it? What's his repertoire? He must
throw really fast. No, no, he doesn't throw fast at all.
This article by David Adler's how a ninety two mile
prior fastball became MLB's most valuable pitch. He's five foot ten,
his heater isn't that slow, but it's got really good

ride or rise on it. And he's short, and he
throws kind of side arms and he extends a lot,
so he's got an arm angle that is unique, which
I read all this and I was kind of like,
I don't know about that. It's the same as Chris
Sales because he's like a sidewinder from the lefty side,
and it makes his fastball ride, so it has the

appearance of rising staying through the zone because the spin
rate is really good, and he pounds his zone with that,
so it's a funky arm angle and then he matches
his splitter. And lefty splitters are very rare. I remember
I did a pitching list show and we were talking
about lefty splitters and the only one we came up
with that through majority splitters was Chasing Shrieve. There hasn't

been a starting pitcher that throws splitters lefty in a
long time. There's actually this article has a graph of it. Okay,
they have a lot of graphs.

Speaker 2 (12:12):

Speaker 1 (12:13):
I like this article. Good job, David Adler. I like
your article. Okay, some good graphics here. There was a here.
It is left handed starting pitchers with one hundred plus
splitters thrown in an MLB season since two thousand and
eight when they started tracking them, one two, three, four,
five pitchers, and none of them threw it nearly as
often as Imanagus throwing his Here's a pitching Ninja shot

of the splitter. You can see the fingers split and
the his right finger is on the lace a little
bit and is his pointer finger, and then his middle
fingers kind of on the other side of the horseshoe,
and it's just gonna tumble and dip and it goes
underneath the fastball, which stays true and rides. I made
my own overlay that I'll show you. But there are

some good and he's just got good location. Look at
this fastball's up in the zone, splitter's low. How is
he never thrown a split finger in that quadrant? Never
even messed up at all? And yeah, these are his pitches.
Really cool, really cool stuff. There was a quote I
liked about it in another article. Is this an overlay?

I didn't watch this video. So that's a fastball in
and it's just kind of sneaking up. That's what they're
showing here on Alonso. Oh, and then the splitter and
he's early on the splitter, late on the fastball. Wow,
look at all this data is never I have access
to those batpaths. I've never thought to do what Adler
just did. That's cool. They were talking about his pitch
mix a lot in this article, and it is cool

because he wants to he wants to get ahead, and
then once he's ahead, it's like a fifty to fifty
split on what you're gonna get. So two count, you
can see the the green and the red here fastball
and splitter one two two two, those are the you know,
ahead in the count. And it's not like he's going
to one or the other more than the other. So

everything's just kind of going right. But I think it's
cool that he's a fun guy and he's a fun watch.
Sometime sometimes pitchers are good and they're really boring watches. Coroda,
he's a boring watch, but his results were good. Here's
the overlay I made against the Padres. This was so
this is a fastball just up in the zone. Ninety

miles per hour, not that fast. I think that's profar
bat and taking the whole way. Okay, and now this
is a different at bat, but it's the same venue,
so I can overlay it nice. This is the splitter,
and you can see that little dip eighty three miles
per hour. Boom, but a little dip. Here's the overlay
of the two eight ninety miles per hour, eighty three

miles per hour. That's cool. That's cool, very cool. So
if you haven't watched a start by him, you should
go watch a start by him because it's very fun.
There was a quote I liked that led me down
this path the other day and an article on the Athletic.
Let me make sure to shout out who wrote it?

Where do they put the author name? Okay, Patrick Mooney
wrote it. But there was just a quote from U
in Monaga that I thought was funny because it's talking
about how like, no one has done this, No one
has started this hot since Vealezuela when he won Rookie
of the Year. Fernando Velzuela had a zero point nine

one ERA in nineteen eighty one after his nine games
and he won the National League so young and the
Rookie of Year. So they're talking about how like it's
crazy how little people have had starts like this, And
his quote about it was, if I'm being honest, I'm
not really too interested in my own stats or any
historic value, but just knowing that there are so many

good pictures that came before me is a good learning experience.
I was kind of like obviously there's a language translation,
But I first I inferred that as just like, damn,
that's kind of like really cocky, because you could infer
it as like I didn't know there's good guys before me.
Uh that's cool, cool to learn a thought, you know.
But I think he's definitely meaning it not in that way.

All his other quotes just meaning it like cool to
learn about guys I didn't know about. Oh yeah, people
have done this for like, oh yeah, leagues literally with
good players, or just can go look around and see
what they're doing. Uh so go watch yourself a nim
and August start if you want, because he is awesome. Okay,
next up, I saw this. I love looking at catcher data,

and I sometimes I just go look at like the
best blocks or the best throws or the best whatever.
I just like watching catchers play. I really appreciate the position.
And then this pitch by Glass now there's a runner
on third, one out to two count, and this pitch
by Glass now is spiked, spiked like crazy, spiked like crazy,

and Barnes makes the stop or is that Smith? Barnes
at it right, makes the stop to keep the runner
at third, And the reason why I'm showing you this
is because that is the most spiked ball of the
season with a runner on third, and the catchers catcher
blocked it. Now it's so spiked it kind of rams
up just right into his belly. But I was going

through a lot of data and I was trying to
find and I couldn't really come to a conclusion with
my research, so I didn't I'm going to include all
of it, but I wanted to find the catchers, and
I did find this answer, but didn't lead to anywhere
more fun. The catchers with a runner on third who
call the most or have received the most breaking pitches
way in front of the plate, because a lot of times,

in big moments, close games, runner on third, the pitcher
is going to shy away from throwing something in the dirt.
A Rod had a big at bat in a World
Series in two thousand and where he talks about this
where Damon double stole went from second and then stole third,
And now A Rod told himself, they're not gonna throw
breaking balls low because they don't want this run to

score on a pass ball or while pitch, so he's
gonna have to be in the zone. So I'm be
ready to swing. So I wanted to see what catchers
are calling or receiving the most pitches in the dirt
when a runner is on third. I guess I'll share
the data with you guys at this point because I
do have that. I thought it would lead to maybe
better conclusions, but it did not. So I thought it
would lead to like, Okay, Jeffers has the lowest percent

of balls in the dirt when there's a runner on third.
So then I wanted to go to the Twins. Here
it is. I wanted to go to the Twins, like
their offensive numbers when there's a runner on third, and
see like are they not good? But they were middle
of the pack. The worst two teams with the runner
on third were the Astros and the Rockies, and then
their catchers were like, yeah, not the top of the

list anyway, Yan Gomes, one one out of four pitches
with a runner on third is a breaking ball in
the dirt, which is crazy. So Jan Gomes is just
like constantly telling his pitchers like trust me, just trust me,
I got you, and then blocking it and then you
go down like he's got twenty four percent. It's a

big outlier. Not that many pitches though, Like you see
the catchers with the most pitches, it's shay Langeliers and
he's at nine percent, but he doesn't call for that
many Logan Ohapi seven percent. But percentage wise, I cut
out catchers who haven't received at least one hundred pitches
with a runner on third, and you get down to
the bottom and Jeffers has received he has one hundred

and eight pitches that were in the dirt. No, he's
received one hundred and eight pitches with a runner on third,
and only six were breaking balls in the dirt, which
is five percent. Yeah, that's what I did. So I
didn't really get to a conclusion with this info, but
I did while going through this info, I did run
into this cool stat. I did run into this stat

while going through all this catcher stuff. So one I
saw that Barnes block and that was cool, And then
I tried to find Gomes calls for a ton of
breaking balls in dirt with the runner on third, just
tells his pitcher catch me. And then I ran across
this leaderboard and Bo Naylor, Travis Darnaut, Carson Kelly, Jon Gomes,
Henry Davis, and Jose Travino are all one hundred percent

at blocking balls in the dirt so far the season.
I'm not sure how they're counting balls in the dirt.
There has to be a cutoff. It's not just any
ball in the dirt. So like this website has blocking
chances and all those guys one hundred percent, Bo Naylor
twenty seven out of twenty seven, Travis Darnau twenty seven
out of twenty seven. They're the top five. Now. Worst
is William Contreras, only seventy five percent of pitches in

the dirt as he blocked. Second worst, Jonaheim, third worst,
Tucker Barnhardt, twenty ninth, Tyler Stevenson, and twenty eighth keibert Ruiz.
I was interested in that, and then I did a
search where I just I searched balls that crossed the plate.

You can do as I've done on here before. You
can do the X and Z axis where they balls
crossed the plate. And I searched by the balls that
bounced the most. Oh and I just I just changed
a a toggled something off because there was I toggled
on balls in the dirt, but I didn't trust the

way baseball Salmont does it. So I just toggled that off.
And Austin Barnes, who I just showed you is actually
gotten beat now by a different glass Now curveball. And
this one Will Smith was catching. So let's watch this one.
Oh this was in Korea. Oh I don't think he

blocked that. The umpire blocked that, so Smith doesn't get
credit for that. So get glass now just really will
spike him every now and then. Yeah, so I wanted
to see what name comes up. Bow Naylor comes up
a ton when you and his are kind of awesome
to watch these blocks. I have a he's another site. Wow,

that was out in front of the plate and bowl Nayler.
That one's so funny. I mean, for those that are
just listening. It sticks another big tall ass pitcher that
throws curveballs like glass Now absolutely spikes one like five
feet in front of the dirt it. Bo Naylor gets
in front of it with his chest protector. It hits
his chest protector and then like his helmet a little

bit and he's in the air and his helmet falls
off and then he goes and grabs the ball. But yeah,
it's pretty funny. Block bo Naylor had some other funny
ones too. He doesn't have the most, but they're like
kind of awesome when he does have them. Let me
show the other two. The best color scheme going in baseball.

Got about ooh, that's just picked inside picked catcher up,
Shane lang Lears is up.

Speaker 2 (23:10):
You know you got Brennan sliding out there, Freeman.

Speaker 1 (23:12):
That one's nice and easy. Let's find all right, I'm
gonna go to the leaderboard here where is it? Oh
my goodness, what page was on? Too many tabs? He's
got too many tabs open. I want to find so
that the the x axis I wanted. I'm gonna sort
by the most uh so negative two point eight six

feet or whatever it is. So, and then I want
to find they were really to the left or the
right like that Will Smith one was directly at him.
This Nick fort Tz one seems to be pretty way off. Oh,
this one okay, This Jonaheim one, Oh, it's a hit
by pitch. And this one so he didn't really block it.
I guess maybe that's what I toggled off. And now

I'm gonna get bad results. These were really outside and inside,
if that's what you want to call it. Okay, So
the runner scores, but yeah, that's a crazy that's a
crazy pitch. So maybe I did have it taggled on
by what only when the catcher makes the play before?

I mean, this one is spiked and in the other
batter's box he almost gets a glove on it, but
instead the runner scores. So not and this one to
him jord On Alvarez, Up, is this the one that
I say hit by pitch? Yeah, so I definitely toggled

off the thing that said, like make sure they make
the block, and that's my fault. You know. Here's a
Jeffers one. Let's se if he makes this play the
numbers where it crossed the plate suggests this would be
another kind of crazy play. Paddock on the bump. That

one's in the dirt gets by Jeffers and he didn't
make it. The numbers were right. And then this one
also suggests would be a tough play to We already
watched this one, had it's changed now they change out
the okay exhibits nice stop, nice stop. We like that
good shit, all right, So there's I don't know, that
was just a segment on catcher blocking that I couldn't

figure out how to get a through line and like,
uh uh, you know, conclusion. So instead we just watched
and looked at some stuff and maybe i'll if you
have any ways you want me to dance around the
catcher info, I can try and do more. That comes
to a conclusion. The third quick hitting topic I was
gonna do was I was just gonna go through the

detailed standings that and splits that Major League Baseball has,
which I really enjoy looking at a lot and if
you've never seen this page, this is daunting. But they
have like you know, currently wins losses. They have your
simple rating system whatever that is. Strength of schedule. So

the hardest strength of schedule so far this season, Blue Jays, Astros,
Reds at this point in the season very much teams
that don't win a lot and will have the harder
strength of schedule because every time they lose, they make
the other team stronger. Does that make sense since we're
not like even halfway through, So Blue Jays, Astros, Reds,

Oakland White Sox have all lost a good amount of
games and so their opponents have good schedules. The outliers
there would be the Marlins have lost a good amount
of games, but their strength of schedules at zero. The
Rockies have lost a thirty one games, which is the
third most in baseball, and they have had a easy

strength of schedule. How does that work? And the A's
have lost thirty games, so they have a difficult strength
of schedule. Some other outliers here. Let's see the other way.
The Phillies have had the easiest strength of schedule. That's
a big talking point Dodgers, Yankees, Guardians. But it works
the other way as well, where if you're winning, you're

making your strength of schedule easier because the teams you
beat you're adding a lot of losses. So the Orioles
seem like an outlier here because they've won twenty nine games,
but this rates them as having a hard strength of
schedule thus far. Same with the Mariners. So good for them,
that's nice, And then you would go look at how

are they faring against those teams? The Mariners over five hundred.
Mariners are twelve and six versus teams over five hundred,
that's pretty good. The Orioles are thirteen and ten. That's good.
It's not amazing. Who's got the best record the versus
the Braves are are fifteen and five versus teams over

five hundred, and the Yankees are twenty one and eight
and then down year. The Rockies are five and nineteen.
That's not good at all, five and nineteen, and the
Phillies are only four and two teams above five hundred.
They haven't played a lot. That's a big storyline. The
Orioles are sixteen and six versus teams over five hundred.

I was doing that opposite the whole way, wasn't I.
So the Orioles are beating up on good teams but
losing to bad teams. Yeah, I was doing that opposite.
And that's what's gonna happen on the show. You're gonna
run into me just being dumb for a couple seconds.
Sometimes I catch myself. Sometimes I don't. I like looking
at this stuff. What I noticed the most was that
the Cincinnati Reds are one and eleven in one run games.

One and eleven in one run games. They won't. Their
bullpen must stink, huh one and eleven and their offense too.
That's to be in that many one run games sucks,
but one and eleven only win one one run game. Meanwhile,
the Phillies are ten and four. Mariners Rays are nine
and four home record. Is any team awful at home? Yeah?

The Angels are six and sixteen at home. Not good?
Not good versus left handed pitching. Who's the best Guardians
Angels Dodgers thirteen and five. Wow. The Marlins are one
in sixteen versus left handed pitching, one in sixteen versus
left handed pitching. They've won one game when a lefty starts.

Holy shit, that's awful. Batting splits Miami Marlins platoons splits
versus left handed starter. This is the best Jazz chisholm
as the best stats versus left handed starter. Arise ain't bad,
he's he's gone bummer, all right? That was Jimmy's three things.
Thank you for tuning in. Send request for next week.

Check in on some stuff. Congrats to Bow Naylor, Shota Managa,
and the Orioles
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