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Troy Percival & a potential shift in Angels pitching philosophy


jsnpritchett

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"Early this fall, during minor league instructional camp, the Angels invited one of the most decorated pitchers in franchise history to help work with their up-and-coming prospects.

Troy Percival wasn’t a fan of what he saw.

He wasn’t frustrated with the pitchers or how they were throwing. Rather, Percival told The Athletic, his reaction stemmed from how technology was being used by people in player development.

“I’m not one that’s big on using the iPads,” said Percival, who spent six seasons as the head coach at UC Riverside. “I understand it. I had to understand it through college coaching. I just feel like we need to have coaches with eyes that can see things and put their hands on people and fix them. It’s really difficult to look at an iPad and think that it can make the adjustments that it needs to make.”

Percival said he did not call on anyone to be fired, and merely shared his observations and opinions with Angels farm director Joey Prebynski. But those words seemed to carry weight with the team’s decision-makers. Shortly thereafter, the Angels let go of the two highest-ranking pitching instructors in their farm system: pitching coordinator Buddy Carlyle and pitching performance coordinator Dylan Alexrod. People briefed on the changes said Percival’s frustration with his visit played at least a factor in the Angels’ decision to oust them."

Edited by jsnpritchett
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I’m not necessarily endorsing Hezel or indicting the ‘ditch the analytics’ approach, but just because it didn’t work this season doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Might just need to be re-evaluated as to what they’re drawing from the data.

Hezel seemed to have a really positive effect on Sandoval, Ohtani, Estevez before and leading into 2023. Should that go out the window because they regressed by end of ‘23?

The org needs to find a way for both approaches to integrate and have a seat at the table, and getting that player buy-in has to be near impossible with such high coach/FO turnover each year. How can they trust any system when it seems the org can’t even trust its own system to ride it out for more than one or two years? 

This is maybe why I’m most optimistic about Ron Washington. Maybe he will possess the positivity and charisma to achieve that harmony.

Edited by totdprods
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38 minutes ago, totdprods said:

I’m not necessarily endorsing Hezel or indicting the ‘ditch the analytics’ approach, but just because it didn’t work this season doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Might just need to be re-evaluated as to what they’re drawing from the data.

Hezel seemed to have a really positive effect on Sandoval, Ohtani, Estevez before and leading into 2023. Should that go out the window because they regressed by end of ‘23?

The org needs to find a way for both approaches to integrate and have a seat at the table, and getting that player buy-in has to be near impossible with such high coach/FO turnover each year. How can they trust any system when it seems the org can’t even trust its own system to ride it out for more than one or two years? 

This is maybe why I’m most optimistic about Ron Washington. Maybe he will possess the positivity and charisma to achieve that harmony.

when loup went on the IL early last season, he talked/complained about how the pitching analytics team wanted the staff overall to throw more breaking pitches (IIRC). it didn't seem to work as hoped for, and we saw guys like sandoval and detmers have setbacks in their development and performance last year. it seems to me that if the philosophy isn't working, then it needs to be revised and updated, and really be a fluid approach. 

i'm not completely convinced yet that having an analytics team decide on how to pitch is the best approach, but i'm hopeful that it's something that can work better than it did last year.

i'm sure someone else can say it much better than me, but i hope the gist of this comes through clearly enough.

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Personally, I just don’t think I we’ve ever had a really good analytics team. Nor the organizational patience to let a plan really gestate and come to term. 

It’s why I really want the org to just drop the ‘win now’ tude and focus on developing the next core. Don’t even have to call it a rebuild, as most of the core is already here and forming. Just call it a developmental transition season. Let Ron be a rah-rah effusive figurehead, get O’Hoppe and Neto established as clubhouse lee we where bought in with the FO’s plan and vision, whatever it may be, and make roster moves not to win or fill needs but to either 1) be pure trade bait and/or 2) lend in assisting, mentoring, or developing the kids around them. 

Do that and I bet this team could be one of those upstart out of nowhere playoff teams come October 2025.

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Ridiculous to have a team philosophy for an entire pitching staff. Each pitcher is unique with different strengths and weaknesses. What works better for one won't necessarily work for another. 

Strategy is better focussed on refining each as an individual. That means trying to improve with the skills  they already have. Rarely do major league pitchers change their repertoire dramatically with success.

Some older pitchers like Kershaw did,but they are forced to by loss of velocity. Younger pitchers should work with the tools they have until forced to change. As well, it isn't easy and takes time to master a new pitch or prioritize a different pattern of using pitches. 

Control,sequencing, velocity can always be worked on without being forced to adapt to a theory generated from generic data. 

Hands on,experienced coaching can be supplemented by 'analytics' on a pitcher by pitcher basis. Not imposed on the entire staff. 

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Backpedalin' too far from anatlytics sounds like a disaster in the making, so I hope they're not going that far...

I do wonder if Joe Maddon was onto something though, when he talks about the game getting to be deep into analytics. Eventually, it seems possible every team is going to be so focused on using essentially the same data, analytics, measurements, tracking equip that it could dilute the competitive advantage it was giving - and I could see a team that bucks those trends finding success, even if it's not necessarily sustainable. 

Not a lot of confidence the Angels are going to just achieve that though.

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11 hours ago, Tank said:

when loup went on the IL early last season, he talked/complained about how the pitching analytics team wanted the staff overall to throw more breaking pitches (IIRC). it didn't seem to work as hoped for, and we saw guys like sandoval and detmers have setbacks in their development and performance last year. it seems to me that if the philosophy isn't working, then it needs to be revised and updated, and really be a fluid approach. 

i'm not completely convinced yet that having an analytics team decide on how to pitch is the best approach, but i'm hopeful that it's something that can work better than it did last year.

i'm sure someone else can say it much better than me, but i hope the gist of this comes through clearly enough.

Analytics have great benefit, but you can't  treat it like a religion.  The players have to have confidence in it.  As stated by Loup, they didn't.   I am suspicious this is why just about every pitcher took a step back in 2023 from their 2022 performance. 

Edited by stormngt
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