Report: Indians willing to discuss Drew Pomeranz in potential deal for Ubaldo Jimenez

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The Indians are looking to make a splash.

According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the Indians were willing to discuss top pitching prospect Drew Pomeranz in a potential deal for Rockies’ right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez.

Pomeranz was selected fifth overall in last year’s First-Year Player Draft. The 22-year-old left-hander has a 1.98 ERA over his first 18 professional starts. He was recently promoted to Double-A Akron after posting a 1.87 ERA and 112/38 K/BB ratio over 77 innings with High-A Kinston. Baseball America recently ranked him as the game’s 14th best prospect on their midseason list.

Jon Heyman of SI.com wrote yesterday that “others think” the Indians are a “big threat” for Jimenez because they have Pomeranz and right-hander Alex White, who posted a 3.60 ERA over three starts before going on the disabled list with a strained ligament in his right index finger.

No one pounds the zone anymore

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“Work fast and throw strikes” has long been the top conventional wisdom for those preaching pitching success. The “work fast” part of that has increasingly gone by the wayside, however, as pitchers take more and more time to throw pitches in an effort to max out their effort and, thus, their velocity with each pitch.

Now, as Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer reports, the “throw strikes” part of it is going out of style too:

Pitchers are throwing fewer pitches inside the strike zone than ever previously recorded . . . A decade ago, more than half of all pitches ended up in the strike zone. Today, that rate has fallen below 47 percent.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Most notable among them, Lindbergh says, being pitchers’ increasing reliance on curves, sliders and splitters as primary pitches, with said pitches not being in the zone by design. Lindbergh doesn’t mention it, but I’d guess that an increased emphasis on catchers’ framing plays a role too, with teams increasingly selecting for catchers who can turn balls that are actually out of the zone into strikes. If you have one of those beasts, why bother throwing something directly over the plate?

There is an unintended downside to all of this: a lack of action. As Lindbergh notes — and as you’ve not doubt noticed while watching games — there are more walks and strikeouts, there is more weak contact from guys chasing bad pitches and, as a result, games and at bats are going longer.

As always, such insights are interesting. As is so often the case these days, however, such insights serve as an unpleasant reminder of why the on-field product is so unsatisfying in so many ways in recent years.