Joe Nathan’s Return

The Twins won their first game of the year, but the big moment was Joe Nathan earning the save in his first appearance in the majors since 2009. Let’s take a closer look:

First off, I think Nathan pitched better than his results would suggest. Yes he loaded the bases, but gave up a single on a well placed ground ball, and walked a guy on a couple pitches that both could have been called strike three.

But it was not all sunshine and rainbows. For starters, I’m not a big fan of his velo. The always fantastic has his four seamer at 91 mph, and his 2 seamer at 90.6 mph. Though Texas Leaguers has his four seamer at 93.6 mph for the 2009 season, so not terrible. But the more problematic thing is the average speed on his slider was 90.2 mph. Having a less than 1 mph difference between your fastball and slider isn’t a great recipe for success. Sure they do different things break-wise, but it will be remarkably easy for hitters to time him if this continues. Furthermore, his curveball was being thrown at 85 mph, which is 5 mph faster than before his surgery, and helps the hitters’ timing even more.

He got a save, and he probably pitched better than the results show, but there are still problems going forward for Nathan.


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