Cardinals use experienced hitters to help staff grade young pitchers
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 30: Michael Wacha #52 of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts against the Boston Red Sox during Game Six of the 2013 World Series at Fenway Park on October 30, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) By Rob Carr
(BaseballStL) - When spring training is in full force and there are pitchers who are brand new to the organization on the mound, it's only natural to know much less about them than, say, someone who's been around a long time.
That's why when a young arm throws in front of the Major League staff, they use some of their experienced hitters to give them an idea as to what they see in the batter's box.
"I always ask them what they see," Matheny admitted. "Take for example (Saturday) with Marco Gonzales throwing and to me from the outside it looks like he hides the ball well. But you don't know if that's true until you step in the box."
"The perception as a hitter is different than we have as a staff," Matheny claims.
It wasn't more than a year ago that a guy with next to no professional experience showed up in camp ready to make an impression. The Cardinals needed as many eyes on him as possible to determine what they had.
"I go back to what we saw with (NLCS MVP Michael) Wacha last year. To us it looked like the ball had incredible depth to it," Matheny said. "And (it had) a tilt that was different than anyone else was using. It was interesting when guys got in there and kept taking balls at the bottom of the zone swearing they were low but they were hitting the bottom."