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Sean Green in the Bigs

Posted by Jason A. Churchill on April 30, 2006

Sean Green was called up to replace Julio Mateo in the M's bullpen on Sunday and with that one, very small, seemingly insignificant move, the Mariners got better.

Not only has Mateo been terrible, but Green may actually be able to help the ailing bullpen with his style and durability.

At this time, I'm not equipped with the proper info to pass on a scouting report on Mr. Green, but here's what you can expect from Green in the big leagues.

The 27-year-old right-hander is 6-6 and 225 pounds and is one of my favorite minor leaguers in the system.

Why?

Because he induces great ground ball rates.

It's something not many pitchers do but because I believe the fewer fly balls that are hit the fewer the home runs there will be, ground ball pitchers are very valuable in my opinion.

Green posted a 2.60 G/F ratio in Double-A San Antonio last summer and after his promotion to Tacoma, improved to 3.12.

Think of that for a second. Considering the hit totals Green yielded, every five times a hitter makes playable contact against Green, three of those are ground balls. Not line drives, ground balls.

Now think about this… what percentage of ground balls are fielded for outs?

I don't know what the rate is this year in the bigs, but I can assure you the number is very, very high. Always has been, always will be, and with defense becoming such a key ingredient, that number is only going to get higher.

Green works with a low-90s fastball. But it's not just a typical, everyday 90mph heater. Not at all.

Green's heat does one thing that defies what 'heat' normally does; it sinks, and it sinks a lot.

His sinker is among the better pitches the organization employs, and Green has been long thought of as a useful arm at the big-league level, once he got his shot.

Mechanically, Green has just about polished off a very solid adjustment that Rafael Chaves began with him last season in Tacoma.

"We’re trying to make sure he stays closed on the front side," said Chaves last summer. "Because he has a tendency to fly open and that causes him to leave pitches on the right side of the plate."

Chaves said that if Green can keep that shoulder closed, he'll naturally throw more strikes.

Well, he's certainly done that this year, issuing just four walks in 13 innings. He's only fanned eight, but he's surrendered just eight hits and has yet to give up a home run.

He's recorded 39 outs this season, eight via the strikeout and 25 via ground ball out. Only six outs have been recorded in the air, and none of those fly balls or line drives that were base hits left the yard.

He's a good fit for the M's pen, especially when they are away from Safeco Field where Mateo, a severe fly ball pitcher, can often be bitten by the homer.

Expect Green to pound the strikezone early in the count and to use his sinker almost exclusively, unless he begins to struggle.

He will throw a 4-seamer on occasion and has a breaking ball that rates as slightly below average, but improving.

Exit Julio Mateo: Extreme fly ball pitcher with less-than interesting stuff and average command – for 800k.

Enter Sean Green: Extreme ground ball pitcher, whose natural effect is the M's strengths on defense on the left side of the diamond and above average command – for 300k.

It's not automatic that Green is all that great, but can he be worse than Julio Mateo? Not likely, and there's a pretty good chance that he's solid. He can cover 2+ innings at a time and that's what the M's need until Felix gets things right and starts going seven per start again, and until Meche is traded for the table scraps of the Triple-A Richmond Braves.

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13 Responses to “Sean Green in the Bigs”

  1. Dave Cairns said

    Hey Jason

    Have I missed something do you have word that the M’s are working a trade with “the table scraps of the Triple-A Richmond Braves” ?

    There are two interesting Aussies there Peter Moylan who has already made a brief stop with the Braves and throws in the mid to high 90’s and Phil Stockman a very tall hard throwing reliever who has yet to register an earned run at AA & AAA this year with the Braves system.

    I look forward to hearing you thoughts on whether either of these guys would fit the M’s, they are both new acquisitions to Atlanta so they may not want to trade them.

    Sorry to harp on it but did you get any news on RRS & Snelling this weekend ?

    Many Thanks

    Dave

  2. Nothing on RRS. Haven’t caught up with the right M’s personnel guy, I guess.

    Snelling continues to work in Peoria and gets closer to returning every day.

    But there is no date set yet, and they probably will not ever set one.

    One day you’ll just hear that he’s playing.

  3. Willmore said

    Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi.

    You Aussies sure love your sports.

  4. Isn’t that cool, though?

  5. ivan said

    The ESPN transaction line said Green was “purchased” from Tacoma. If he was not on the 40-man, who goes off the 40-man to take his place?

  6. nighthawk180 said

    Their was an opening already on the 40 man roster. No need to make a move with the team. I dont remember where I read it but I hope this is right.

  7. manyoso said

    I hope this Meche rumor is true. I’d love to see a Livingston start…

  8. Tom said

    So what kind of sink are we talking about? Derek Lowe kind of sink? Or not quite that much?

  9. marc w. said

    Yeah! I’ve been a big Sean Green fan for a little while now. He’s been awesome in Tacoma, and if he can get his walks down just a little bit, he’ll be a heck of a pickup.

    Jason, and idea what the heck happened to him when he got traded from the Rockies org? He went from a high-hit rate guy with so-so K rates in the low minors to a low-hit rate, above average K-rate guy all while limiting HRs (check out his sickeningly low HR/9 rates in the high minors: 0.18/9 in Tacoma last year, 0.37/9 in San Antonio). What the heck happened? Did he just *learn* the sinker around 2004? Did he get command of it for some reason?
    Great move by the M’s…

  10. Yes, Derek Lowe kind of sink – and velocity.

    But Green doesn’t have Lowe’s command or breaking ball to go with it.

    Green with Rockies:

    Maybe that was the ballparks… Even in the minors, Tulsa and COlorado Springs, especially, the parks are bigtime hitters park, and in CS, the sinker doesn’t work.

    He’s been throwing the sinker since 02, but maybe he just got it down in 04.

  11. Willmore said

    Yeah, great write-up Jason. You have me excited.

  12. Thanks.

    I wouldn’t get too excited, Green isn’t the second coming, but he’s a cheap arm that can get some outs and has that sinker that can get him out of jams.

  13. marc w. said

    Yeah, this isn’t a guy that’s going to transform the bullpen, or push Soriano/Putz into low leverage situations. He’s just a useful piece to have in the back of the bullpen.
    My worry is that he may be best suited for low-leverage situation due to his walk rate… and he had a bit of a problem with HBPs, I think. He was able to pitch around that in Tacoma (lots of double plays), but it’s generally best to avoid putting major league hitters on base.

    What a great trade the M’s made to get him… Aaron Taylor, who’d looked okay, never recovered from injury and I don’t think ever played in the Rockies Org outside of spring training. I think he hurt himself again in spring training of 2005.

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