When Tony Cingrani first hit the scene during last September call ups, Reds fans were pretty excited. While he has never possessed the “stuff” to blow away opposing hitters, he owned a knack for putting the ball where those batters couldn’t hit it. And a deceptive delivery too.
Some of that excitement spilled over into this season. Over his first three starts “filling in” for the now oft-injured Johnny Cueto, the lefty was tremendous. There was one concern: his reliance on the fastball. It was simply off the charts, so to speak.
So when the event arrived for Cueto to be activated from the DL and for Cingrani to head back to Louisville, a common thought (including from yours truly) was that Cingrani needed to develop the other pitches. The fastball, while not that mid-to-high 90’s pitch, proved to be effective, but opponents were well aware of its usage and simply waiting to see it. That needed to change if Cingrani was to be successful.
Well, here we are approaching mid-July and Cingrani is ever so slowly doing just that: mixing in other pitches.
The area of concern now would be regarding pitch location. Not all of the pitches, mind you.
We briefly touched on how Cingrani has the ability to place his pitches, particularly his fastball, in the location where he wants. In looking at his zone profile on BrooksBaseball.net, there are three areas that jump out at you…and not so much because of their color.
1. Cingrani is making a concerted effort to keeping pitches low and away to LHB. (6.19%, most hit location). Nice.
2. Same effort to keep the ball high and way to RHB. (5.61%, 2nd). Like this, too.
3. As Thom would say, “right down the can” is the third highest location. (5.42%). Oh-oh…
The first two could lead to induced pop-ups to RHB and weak grounders to LHB. That last one though.
In looking at the above graph and table, we can clearly see that the efforts to mix it up are there. And they are ongoing and will continue to develop. Add the combination of Cingrani’s velocity (low 90’s fastball) and deceptive delivery, and you have a guy that can be successful in the bigs without that mid-to-high 90’s pitch.
Cingrani wouldn’t be the first and wouldn’t be the last.
Location, location, location.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Cingrani’s quest to becoming at least a quality starting MLB pitcher will take some time as well.