Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Aaron Laffey Sent to AAA

The move was actually made a few days ago to make room for the return of Fausto Carmona. I'm not so sure it was the right move, but it won't hurt Laffey, and the Indians need to prepare for the future more than they need to win games. Anyways, here are some of Laffey's stats over the 4 months he spent with Cleveland.

He looked pretty good when he first came up, but he let his walk rate sneak up on him, perhaps due to trying too hard to keep pitches out of the zone. It's hard to tell from the chart, but his walk rate actually equaled his strike out rate in June and July, which is obviously not a good thing.

Aside from pitch location, I also wondered if he was struggling with mechanics or ground ball rate regression. Here's his ground ball chart.

His ground ball rates looked fine, so I don't think there's too much he needs to work on other than slight location adjustments. He might have suffered from slight mechanical issues, but once again I think he might have tried to overcompensate at times, leading to poor mechanics and location (which resulted in a higher WHIP and ERA, which led to more overcompensation). It's kind of like when you start to doze off while driving, and then you hit those bumpy strips on the side of the road that make that weird whirring noise. It snaps you back to reality and you jerk the wheel back towards the middle of the road, but then you swerve into on-coming traffic and your life flashes before your eyes before you're able to cut back into your own lane. Maybe the Indians saw Laffey slipping into that cycle and decided a stint in the minors would save him from being crushed by on-coming 18 wheelers being driven by 230 lbs. corner infielders.

I don't have any video's to break down comparing Laffey in April to Laffey in July, but none of his stats were on a positive trend line, and he obviously needed to take some time to refine his approach. He'll get it figured out, and might be back before the season is over. Either way, I think he'll be much better in 2009, and should be a very good starter in 18-24 months.

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