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On Hector Noesi

<em>The *Mariners*?</em>
The *Mariners*?

Good afternoon. All right, let's get started. No time to dick around. I've got things to do and bagels to eat. I guess that should count as a thing to do. I've got things to do. Slowly but surely I'm going to make this blog all about snacks.

Courtesy of the awesome StatCorner, we have some pitch-by-pitch data on Hector Noesi stretching back into 2010, covering his time in triple-A and the Majors. In all, we have data on 1,626 pitches. A little less than half of them were thrown as a starter, mostly in triple-A. A little more than half of them were thrown as a reliever, mostly in the Majors. Let's check out Noesi's strike rates:

Starter: 66.6%

On their own, maybe those numbers don't tell you very much. But know that those strike rates are well above the average. The average strike rate in the Majors is about 63 percent. The average strike rate in triple-A is probably roughly the same. Noesi has been a superb strike-thrower at the highest two levels, and based on his impressive numbers from double-A and single-A, I'm guessing he was a superb strike-thrower at those levels, too.

That's good. Strikes are good! It bodes well for Noesi's future as a starter in the bigs that he's able to throw so many strikes. Here's a list of the Major League starters from last season who posted strike rates between 66 and 67 percent:

Rodrigo Lopez
Brad Bergesen
Kyle Lohse
Matt Garza
Bronson Arroyo
Blake Beavan
Roy Oswalt
Dan Haren
Phil Hughes
Ian Kennedy
Carl Pavano
Javier Vazquez
Michael Pineda
Jon Niese
CC Sabathia
Tim Wakefield

They're not all good and they're not all bad, but, combined, those 16 starters averaged a 4.15 ERA and a 3.97 FIP that's pretty much right on the average mark. If you're familiar with FIP-, the group had an average FIP- of 100. Average.

Of course, a starting pitcher doesn't only need to be able to throw strikes. And Noesi has never been much for groundballs, meaning he will allow his homers. But he doesn't exactly go out there tossing hittable slop. Noesi has a legitimate repertoire, and his contact rates have been perfectly acceptable. You see Blake Beavan up there on the list of strike throwers. Beavan isn't a groundballer, either. But Beavan allows contact rates in the mid- to high-80s. He is, or at least he has been, a one-skill pitcher. Noesi has flashed a second skill that gives him real upside.

Not spectacular upside, but upside. And this isn't even taking into account Noesi's possible velocity gain. He started 11 games in winter ball and didn't allow a single dinger. John Halama allowed three dingers. John Halama was in winter ball with Hector Noesi.

Noesi still needs to be stretched out. He's started all of eight games in triple-A and two games in the Majors. Last season in New York, his high pitch count was 71. He needs to build up his stamina. And Noesi's no guarantee to find success as a starter, just as no one's a guarantee to find success as a starter. We'll see how Hector Noesi turns out. But he's shown pretty good pitches. He's thrown a lot of strikes. He's missed enough bats. He's avoided a major platoon split. Noesi has positive indicators, and like Dave said, as much as all the focus has been on Jesus Montero, Noesi's a potentially significant second piece. He turns just 25 on Thursday, and he could be a cost-controlled starting pitcher for a long time.

Given the pronunciation, "Noesi" has been twisted by some into "No acey". It could just as easily be twisted into "No easy". Actually wait, this is stupid, let me come up with a better conclusion. One minute.