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Pitching 3D: Anatomy of a Blowup

Doug Thorburn

Doug started writing for RotoWire in April of 2015. His work can be found elsewhere at Baseball Prospectus and RotoGrinders, and as the co-host of the Baseballholics Anonymous podcast. Thorburn's expertise lies on the mound, where he tackles the world of pitching with an emphasis on mechanical evaluation. He spent five years at the National Pitching Association working under pitching coach Tom House, where Thorburn ran the hi-speed motion analysis program in addition to serving as an instructor. Thorburn and House wrote the 2009 book, “Arm Action, Arm Path, and the Perfect Pitch: Building a Million Dollar Arm,” using data from hi-speed motion analysis to tackle conventional wisdom in baseball. His DraftKings ID is “Raising Aces”.

There are rough outings and then there are blowups. I used to define a blowup start (or BUS) as five or more runs allowed total and greater than a run allowed per inning pitched. Using that crude definition, there were a pair of BUSes that reared their ugly heads on ace starters in the first couple days of the 2017 regular season: Masahiro Tanaka and Jose Quintana.

Let's break down those two performances to see if there is any reason for worry with respect to the long-term fantasy values of these two pitchers.

Masahiro Tanaka

Major League Baseball opted for a "soft" Opening Day on Sunday to tease us Baseballholics with three games that count in the standings ...

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