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Who Feels Like Believing?

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To be fair, I didn't get to watch the game today. It's entirely possible that Doug Fister's results were all voodoo and black magic, and that he wasn't nearly as good as someone in my position would be led to believe. But when you come home to a performance like this against a team like New York...

7 IP, 65% strikes, 10% swinging strikes, 0 walks, 4 strikeouts, 1 homer

...and you see that the Yankees slotted in six left-handed bats, you've no choice but to be impressed. That's a hell of a lineup that Fister was facing, and he managed to do something few other starting pitchers have been able to do all season long.

What does it mean? I don't know that it means much of anything. It's important to remember that Fister posted one of the lowest swinging strike rates in AAA this year, and that his repertoire isn't the least bit overwhelming. However, the difference between Fister and someone like, say, Chris Jakubauskas is that at no point was Jak able to do what Fister's done so far as a starter, which is throw strikes and miss some bats. Just look at this list of players who've swung and missed at least once against Fister so far:

Nick Swisher
Paul Konerko (2)
Jerry Hairston Jr.
Jim Thome (2)
Alexei Ramirez
Derek Jeter (3)
Alex Rodriguez
Johnny Damon (4)
Jermaine Dye
Carlos Quentin

That's nothing but quality and Jerry Hairston Jr. in there, and you have to give Fister his due. Out of nowhere, he's come up and really impressed, throwing four pitches for strikes and showcasing what in the early going has been a remarkably effective changeup.

pfx_x pfx_z
Fastball -7.8 10.0
Changeup -8.1 4.0

Change:

Result #
Strike 34
Ball 18
StS 8
GB 8
FB 4
LD 0

Good swinging strikes, good location, and weak contact against a pitch that looks a lot like his fastball coming out of his hand. I didn't know a whole lot about Fister prior to his promotion, but he's wasted little time in making a name for himself. An actual name. A name that isn't a vulgar novelty name.

Doug Fister may very well go on to find that his Major League career peaked this afternoon. It is impossible to ignore the fact that he has a rather pedestrian repertoire that didn't miss a lot of bats in AAA, and by no means do I think we should start penciling his name into the 2010 Mariner rotation. On the other hand, though, he did have a 7.2 K/BB in Tacoma before getting the call, and given this organization's history of guys getting called up and going on to struggle, Fister's two starts have been a breath of fresh air. Who am I to tell you not to get excited? Fister's been terrific, and when you've got a guy this easy to root for, there's no sense in holding yourself back. I'll be pulling for Fister up until he washes out, be that in ten days or ten years.