Matt Dermody of the Lansing Lugnuts throws a pitch on Friday, May 2 against the West Michigan WhiteCaps. Mandatory Credit: Jay Blue

First-Hand Reports: Midwest League Pitching Bonanza, Part 1


I’m back in Toronto after a great weekend of Midwest League ball in Lansing, Michigan. All three games between the Lansing Lugnuts and West Michigan White Caps were closely contested with two 2-1 ball games and one 4-2 game. While I was there, I was taking a good look at some of the pitchers involved and I’m going to share with you some of my notes on what I saw from the pitchers. Keep an eye here for a feature that I’ll be doing on West Michigan starter Kevin Ziomek, who threw on Saturday, taking the loss in a 2-1 game.

After writing up my thoughts, I realized that I had almost 1500 words dedicated to the pitchers that I saw on the weekend so I decided to break things up into three posts, one for each game that I saw.

Friday, May 2

Highlight

Seeing Blue Jays’ 2013 28th rounder, 6-foot-5 lefty Matt Dermody for the first time in person. Dermody dominated the Northwest League last season, mostly coming out of the bullpen and the 23 year old spent time in extended spring training getting stretched out to start. He was just activated on Friday.

Like many of the Lugnuts’ young pitchers, Dermody had a rough outing in his season debut. He was throwing an 88-90 mph fastball with some sink and wasn’t afraid to throw it inside. His changeup had some heavy, downward motion and his slider was somewhat inconsistent, staying up a bit throughout the outing. Dermody’s short-arm delivery makes me wonder if he’s going to be able to remain a starter, but his large frame and durability should allow him to log innings for the Lugnuts.

Lowlight

The West Michigan starter, 2013 third round pick Jeff Thompson, came out of the gate throwing only 84-86 mph and was removed from the game in the second inning. When people are questioning a guy who’s 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds throwing only in the mid-80s, you know that something’s wrong. It has since been announced that Thompson has hit the DL with shoulder tendonitis.

Pleasant surprise

Righty Jonathan Maciel relieved Thompson and was impressive, throwing four shutout innings, scattering four hits and one walk with two strikeouts. Maciel has been very effective this year, with a 2.22 ERA in 24 1/3 innings with 18 strikeouts and just four walks. He had a low 90s fastball and threw what appeared to be a cutter around 87 mph. Not bad for an 18th rounder from last year’s draft who is still 21.

While I’m not as acquainted with the Tigers’ system, Maciel wasn’t the only pitcher throwing something that looked like a cutter. I know that the Blue Jays don’t start have their pitchers throw the pitch (also called a “power slider” within the organization) quite as early as in A-ball.

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon!

Tags: Detroit Tigers Toronto Blue Jays