Baltimore Orioles: Four positive takeaways from 2018
Tanner Scott has the raw talent to be the best pitcher in the Orioles bullpen
If you’re just looking at his numbers from this year, you might not be overly confident that Tanner Scott will be a successful relief pitcher. But his underlying talents are too great for us to write him off.
There are only three left-handed pitchers in baseball with an average fastball velocity greater than Scott’s, who averaged 97.1 mph this year; Fangraphs has the pitch rated 80/80 on the scouting scale.
Scott also has a plus slider which has elite spin-rate and clocks in just a touch under 90 mph. When Scott is on, he can be dominant. We didn’t see the results frequently enough this year but the process is certainly there.
One of Scott’s issues is finding consistency in the zone. He has swing and miss stuff; he needs to capitalize. Look at his heatmaps for his two main pitches: Tanner Scott Slider Heatmap | Tanner Scott Fastball Heatmap
We can’t differentiate the pitches he’s intentionally throwing outside of the zone, but it looks like he’s overthrowing too many sliders and the fastball can be inconsistent.
His 16.7% swinging strike rate and 56.25% whiffs/swing on the slider are elite. He can make the 40% zone rate work if his pitches are getting swings and misses. But he’s only throwing first-pitch strikes 56% of the time; that isn’t good enough.
We saw him consistently fall behind hitters in 2018; he needs to do a better job getting ahead in counts so he can use the slider to his advantage.
Scott has two plus pitches; he should be able to capitalize on them in 2019.