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  • Writer's pictureAndy Singer

SSTN Mailbag: Trevino, Stanton, And Cole!


I lost my mitt. That sounds rather blunt and final in tone, but sometimes it just feels better to come right out with it rather than beat around the bush. As fellow baseball enthusiasts, I know that all of you can sympathize with my plight. I am 34 years old, going on 35 in all too short a period of time. My father and mother bought me this mitt for my 12th birthday, and I've used it ever since. I've never owned another mitt (besides my very first mitt that I used for entirely too long). That mitt and I are forever intertwined.


Oh, there have been wisecracks about that mitt as I played on different teams throughout the years. "Yo, Sings, what's with the mitt? You're allowed to get another one eventually!" "It's his lucky mitt, don't touch it." Etc., etc., etc. Most people stop with the jokes when they try it, though. Its padding may be woefully insufficient for hard throwers (and since most of my throwing was with either fellow pitchers, catchers, or my similarly strong-armed brother, I've broken my fair share of blood vessels), but the pocket is perfect; beyond perfect. Throwing with a fellow lefty a few years ago, he marveled that as long as the ball hit somewhere near the pocket, it usually fell right in. On the same occasion, using even a mitt that was quite nice, just felt all kinds of wrong. Baseball players and their mitts...having the wrong one feels like you replaced a limb.


So this has been my situation since I realized it was missing around Christmas time this past year. I threw in the late summer, hurt a ligament in my calf/ankle in early October, so I didn't need the mitt for a bit. I've quietly searched for my mitt around the house and garage for months, to no avail. Finally, I came clean about my missing mitt to my wife and my father on Father's Day. Surely, one of them had seen it...but no. As special as Father's Day can be, I felt anxiety and trepidation. The thought of needing to break in a new mitt and going through the rest of my days without my faithful companion was enough to send my mind elsewhere. Silly how much an inanimate object can mean to us, huh?


Father's Day dinner came and went; it was a great day, with family all together, which meant a lot to me as someone who has spent so much time away for the last 9 months. As dusk settled, my brother decided to apologize...for what, I wasn't sure. Then, he used the magic words:


"Hey, sorry we didn't have a catch today. I thought you might want to rest after all of the traveling, so I didn't bring your mitt with me today."


"YOU HAVE MY MITT?!?!"


"Yeah, I brought it back in my car from our trip last summer; I keep meaning to give it back to you..."


(As a sidebar - can you tell which one is the younger brother here?)


And again, all was right in the world.

****

As always, thanks for the great questions and keep them coming to SSTNReadermail@gmail.com. In this week's SSTN Mailbag, we've got questions about Trevino's throwing, Stanton's hot streak, and Cole's return! Let's get at it:


Michael asks: What do you make of the Red Sox running wild against Trevino? He does so much well and his numbers have been pretty good at throwing out runners, but this was really bad. Is it mechanical?


I remain truly shocked that the last week's events surprise anyone. I've been talking about Trevino's lack of arm strength since his emergence in 2022. Trevino has never had a good arm. In fact, Trevino's arm consistently ranks among the worst in the big leagues. To take it even a step further, Kyle Higashioka had a bad arm, but Trevino made it look decent by comparison. This is not a new conversation.


However, the new rules that encourage more base stealing combined with two really fast teams made for a nightmare matchup for Trevino. There is only so much that pitchers can do to control the run game with the new rules, so while Stroman probably could have held runners better, I think what we saw against Baltimore was more on Trevino than on the pitching staff. There is more that Trevino can do to try to discourage running, and he already does some of it. Snap throws to first, called pitchouts, and even faked throws are ways to somewhat mitigate the issue. All of those are options that need to be utilized to manage Trevino's most critical defensive weakness.


On the other hand, Trevino's arm is only getting worse; for three years in a row, his 90th percentile average arm strength has declined, from a woeful 77.8 MPH down to 76 MPH. That's like a pitcher who goes from throwing 88 MPH to 86 MPH in the modern game. You almost can't play the position with that arm, regardless of what else you do well. Trevino's exchange, which has come under fire recently, is roughly average, but his pop times are among the worst in baseball, partly due to his arm strength, but also due to his inability to get out of the crouch quickly.


So, I think there is a mechanical adjustment that can be made, but I also think his arm has declined to the point of making him really vulnerable. This isn't a new problem at all, but I don't see any quick fixes to make it better.


Jeffrey asks: Stanton is on another hot streak and he's had some really clutch hits - is he finally going to be part of the answer, or is this just another hot streak that we can forget about by playoff time?


I was really ready to answer this question in a negative manner. I have been saying all year that I think Stanton's ability to hit hard fastballs is basically gone. The early numbers backed up my point entirely. I wasn't even going to run the numbers again; I was going to trust my eyes. Then I watched Stanton stay on some seriously good fastballs up in the zone, while he simultaneously held up on breaking balls low and away...and I decided to re-run the numbers. This is what I found on pitches over 94 MPH this season:


That's...surprisingly good performance. He's hitting the ball very hard against hard fastballs, with solid power and an above-average walk rate. His strikeout and whiff rates are elevated, but not terribly so relative to his normal strikeout and whiff rates. If Stanton keeps this up, I think I might have spoken too soon about his ability to be a good player in the playoffs against better teams...his performance against Baltimore speaks to that very idea.


I don't think the Yankees should be reliant on Stanton for performance, but his improved numbers against good fastballs speaks volumes about what he can do for the team moving forward.


Brian asks: How do you think Cole looked in his first start back?


I saw a tale of two Coles, but I also have some things I'm watching. Cole did not look good in the first two innings of his start, but then his velocity rose and he looked a lot more like the guy who won the Cy Young award in 2023.


The broadcast angle isn't great for showing certain mechanics, but my interest was piqued by the way Cole was throwing the baseball. His arm swing looked much longer, and his arm speed looked slower through the throwing zone after his stride foot landed than it looked in 2023. Additionally, I thought he was throwing way more over-the-top than he did in 2023. Anecdotally, it looked like his arm sped up a good deal in the 3rd inning, and the added velocity he showed would seem to back up that assessment. What has me slightly concerned is his release point, which I decided to check after the game. I'm right about Cole throwing more over-the-top; see his release points from 2024 on the left and his release points from 2023 on the right:



His arm slot was significantly higher in his lone start of 2024. Anecdotally, I'm also concerned by the sight of Cole wrapping his elbow between innings...I really hope that he's truly healthy, and not just gutting it out.


This version of Cole is definitely still great, but I'm not totally convinced that he's all the way back yet.

23 Comments


Mike Whiteman
Jun 21

The thing about Trevino is that even after this rough week, his CS % is about league average this year and slightly above average for his career.


Hopefully he can make enough adjustments to stop the bleeding moving forward.

Like

jeff
Jun 21

My biggest concern about Trevino isn't as much with the arm speed at throwing out runners. My bigger concern is the more recent development of inaccurate throws. Like when he threw the ball into the outfield in several pickoff attempts.


Can you imagine what will happen when the Yankees play the Cincinnati Reds later this year? Can you imagine if it is Trevino who is tasked with trying to prevent Elly De La Cruz from stealing? A few days ago, De La Cruz scored from a pickoff attempt at SECOND BASE! Not looking forward to Trevino being the starting catcher for any of the games against Cincinnati later this year.


They don't seem to produce catchers like Ivan Rodriguez any…

Like

fuster
Jun 21

Trevino doesn't make the throw to second base well

never did

never will


when I think about how the Yankees gave up Albert Abreu in order to acquire Trevino, an All-Star and Golden Glove player for New York for only ONE season,


I'm consoled that that the team was able to re-quire Abreu and re-realize that Abreu was every bit as worthless to the team as formerly he was. Abreu appears to be out of demand


and Trevino the Armless plays on


and, lest we forget, Gary Sanchez has a really strong arm

Like

Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
Jun 21

Great story about your mitt.

Fantastic!!!!

Like
Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
Jun 21
Replying to

Agreed. I glove it.

Like

Alan B.
Alan B.
Jun 21

I hear you about the mitt. I too, only had one mitt, but when my father died back in 1987, I got his mitt too. My mitt is actually a Bobby Bonds model.


Trevino's arm strength is worse. it's reportedly it as 71 MPH, but again, it doesn't matter what his arm strength is if his pop up to throw is the slowest in MLB & he can't grip the ball on the transfer. I heard that from Boone's mouth twice this week. Are they having him play through an injury?


The bullpen is still a joke. The way the starters have pitched have really masked just how untalented the pen really is. I'm not surprised that Greg Weissert is…

Like
Alan B.
Alan B.
Jun 21
Replying to

Banged up digits on his throwing hand is exactly a reason why Trevino can't grip the baseball. Can't grip it properly, can't throw it on time, no matter what the pop time is or the arm strength is.


I get what you're saying about development, but when Gomez isn't really going past 3 innings, or even 60 pitches, sorry keeping him in the rotation is wrong. Barclay, had promise as a reliever, then they put him in the rotation in AAA, and he's been a disaster. Prospects zoomed passed Luis Medina, as he got stuck in AA for yeats, never got him to have even a decent show me pitch as a 3rd pitch, but refused to move him to…

Like
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