06 July 2018

Tanner Scott's Spectacular (But Not Immaculate) Inning

The Orioles lost yet again last night. It can be tough to find positives when a team is this bad, but they're still there -- just not as many as you'd like. Jonathan Schoop homered twice yesterday, for example, and accounted for the O's only two runs. The former is good; the latter isn't.

There wasn't much to like about last night's loss, but Tanner Scott's relief work in the seventh inning was awfully impressive. He hadn't pitched for almost a week, and he looked well rested and dominant.

First, Scott faced Joe Mauer. He struck him out on three pitches. Next, he faced Eddie Rosario. He struck him out on three pitches. Finally, he faced Brian Dozier. He struck him out on four pitches. Here's how the Dozier at-bat ended:

Ten pitches, three strikeouts, all swinging at low-90s sliders. It wasn't an immaculate inning (three strikeouts on nine pitches), but it was extremely close. The first pitch in Dozier's at-bat was called a ball for being too high, but it seemed to straddle the zone. Here's where the pitch was charted on MLB.com:

Yup, that's close, but it's not egregious. There are worse calls in just about every game. Umpiring is hard, after all.

Scott has flashed this type of brilliance other times this season, and he's probably the most intriguing young relief weapon in the Orioles' organization. It would help if he'd master his third pitch, a changeup, to make him that much more dangerous. But when he already owns a fastball that can touch triple digits and a filthy slider, it's plenty enough to get excited about.

If you just look at Scott's 6.04 ERA, you won't be impressed. But he's been pretty unlucky on balls in play (.415 BABIP) while racking up the strikeouts (32.7 K%). That strikeout percentage is 27th best among all pitchers who've thrown at least 20 innings. That's not Josh Hader (50.9%) or Aroldis Chapman (44.5%) territory, but it's still very good.

Scott's 2.88 FIP also makes you feel better about the high ERA. His ERA-FIP of 3.16 is the fifth highest among all pitchers with 20 innings. While that's not a guarantee he'll stop allowing as many runs, considering his age (23), pitch repertoire, and peripherals, there's enough there to believe he'll start putting it all together soon.

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