Remember Danny Hultzen? He was the guy theselected with their first draft pick back in June. You remember. It probably made you upset. They drafted him, and then a whole bunch of nothing happened, and then a short while before the deadline he was signed to a contract. Soon thereafter, Hultzen started training, and though he didn't make an appearance in the minor leagues, this afternoon he made his professional debut.
He made said debut in the Arizona Fall League, pitching for the Peoria Javelinas against the Surprise Saguaros. A Surprise Saguaro is worse than an Anticipated Saguaro, on account of its prickliness, so Hultzen faced an immediate challenge. How did he do?
Well, he threw all of two innings, throwing 42 pitches. Of those, 26 (62%) were strikes, and he struck out two guys while walking one. He allowed one run, which scored on a sun double and then back-to-back wild pitches that brought that guy home. Inauspicious!
But of course, we don't really care about Hultzen's pitching line. This was his debut, and more importantly, it's the AFL. Nobody cares about AFL statistics. What we care about were the pitches Hultzen was throwing. And here's the breakdown:
Fastball: 31 thrown, 91-94mph
Slider: 3 thrown, 79-82mph
Changeup: 8 thrown, 79-82mph
Okay, so now what? ...I'm not really sure. The numbers suggest that Hultzen mixes up how much sink he puts on his change, but I don't know if that's true. The numbers suggest that Hultzen gets a fair amount of drop on his fastball, but I don't know if that's true. I don't know what's true, because it's his first game, and I don't know how well the PITCHfx system is calibrated. I don't know if it's exactly right, or off in any way.
But at last, we have some numbers, and they're numbers we can continue to track over the remainder of the AFL schedule. Welcome to the pros, Hultzen. Hope you're ready for people to analyze the shit out of you.