Everyone has hot streaks. Well, professional baseball players do. I've never had one, a time when I can induce outs at will. But professional baseball players have those times. Sometimes they're just blips. Other times they're breakouts.
Cam Bedrosian is experiencing a hot streak that falls into the breakout category. Of the 23 hitters that Bedrosian has faced, he's fanned 18. For those of you inclined towards rate stats, 78% of the opposition has failed to put the ball in play. To wind up with just a typical 20% k-rate, Bedrosian would somehow have to resist fanning the next 67 hitters. He's that dialed in right now.
I watched his Double A debut last night to see for myself how he was getting those punch outs. I've probably seen Bedrosian in six or seven games over the past three years, and in many of those he was as wild as a professional pitcher could be while still collecting a pay check. So, franky, I had no idea what I was going to see. Perhaps he was suddenly throwing 102 mph gas. Maybe his breaking ball morphed into an early Frankie Rodriguez, bend-the-laws-of-physics type slider. Or maybe he'd developed a monster, Mariano-type cutter. Just what was confounding hitters?
What I saw was the last thing in the world that I expected.
Bedrosian put the ball exactly where he wanted to, over, and over, and over again. He threw 11 fastball/cutters (it was tough to distinguish between the two due to the camera angle), and 10 were within a couple of inches of where the catcher had set his target. When I'd seen Bedrosian in the past, he got his best results with fastballs in the upper slice of the zone and above, whether he'd meant to put the ball upstairs or not. Trouble cropped up when he missed the low target, letting the ball the ball drift up and into the hitter's wheel house. Not last night.
He faced the top of the Springfield Cards' lineup, including on-base machine Mike O'Neil (a guy who fanned in only 6% of his AA plate appearances last year), hot-hitting prospect James Ramsey, and new Cuban signee Aledmys Diaz. There's not an easy out in that bunch, but Bedrosian put each of them down in dominant fashion.
He came low and inside with four straight fastballs against the lefty swinging O'Niell, ending the sequence with a called third strike that painted the black. He again came low and in with a fastball to Ramsey, another lefty swinger, then surprised him by hitting the outside corner twice. The latter fastball terminated the at-bat in a late, ugly swing. Against Diaz, the only righty of the bunch, he pounded the low and away quadrant of the zone for two called strikes and another ugly swinging strike. The Cuban, who's enjoyed a hot start overall, looked entirely overmatched. Three up, three k's, just like that.
The announcer only gave one velo reading, a fastball at 93 mph, so it's not like Bedrosian was overpowering guys with triple digit stuff. He bounced two sliders, which certainly helped set up the FB, but he's not leaning on trick-pitch junk. No, what made him so overpowering was pinpoint command of a plus fastball, especially in the lower left quadrant of the zone, inside to lefties and away from righties.
That's a guy who will succeed anywhere, and exactly the guy whom the Halos need right now. Dipoto: swallow your pride, dump your journey-men, and let Eddie Bane come to the rescue!