Fresh fish for the bullpen

The Marlins made two moves over the past few days, sending Andrew Miller to Boston for Dustin Richardson and Cameron Maybin to San Diego for two more pitchers The Maybin move made more headlines and netted two intriguing arms for Florida in Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica.

Miami will be Mujica’s third destination, having started his career with the Indians. Mujica is currently arbitration eligible for the first time, while Webb and Richardson are a couple years away. The Marlins moved two cost controlled players for three other cost controlled players. What are the Marlins getting in terms of stuff?

Webb failed to make the Padres out of Spring Training, but spent the remainder of the spring mastering a lower arm angle. The result was an improved 96 mph fastball, now with nasty tail and sink. Webb employs both a two- and four-seam grip, throws a few change-ups but mostly balances his heater with a mid-to-upper-80s breaking ball. Webb has the best stuff of this trio, and is fun to watch. With his new delivery, Webb has not only retained his ability to miss bats and get ground balls, but added a new skill—strike throwing.

Richardson comes over from the American League, where he had a September call-up in 2009 and some more regular use last summer. Also in regular use for Richardson was “ball four”, as he walked more than one batter per inning in 2010. Tall and left-handed, he throws a 91 mph fastball, the occasional sinker, a change-up (81-84) and a curveball (<80). Despite his height and high three-quarters delivery, Richardson's curveball is a little on the short and slurvey side.

The veteran of the group, Mujica, added a cutter to his arsenal in September of 2009, and put it to semi-regular use in 2010. Usually thrown around 88-90 mph, it’s a nice complement to his 94 mph fastball and slightly slurvey slider (83). Mujica’s out pitch is his splitter, thrown almost as hard as the cutter. While his stuff is not as electric as Webb’s, Mujica has enough weapons to keep hitters off balance. Of mild concern is a trend of giving up the long ball, though he’s only totaled 233.1 innings in the majors. Something to watch out for, or a place to pin your hopes of regression.

PITCHf/x data from MLBAM and Sportvision, batted ball data from MLBAM, pitch classifications by the author

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