23 September 2011
The BA report on him is basically that of a prep pitcher that would be taken somewhere between the sixth and tenth rounds in a lot of drafts. He's tall (6'4), projectible (190 lbs), and has some present velocity which could turn into more down the road (high 80s). What separates him from a lot of other pitchers with similar profiles is that his breaking ball rates quite well and that's not necessarily a common thing among incoming international pitchers. I can't find any video on him beyond this, which I assume is him on the mound during a tourney and only lasts a pitch. As a video baseball faux analyst, it's my obligation to point out that the delivery is over the top, but semes a little mechanical at the outset and seems to lose its balance towards the end. Edit: Actually, since that's a left-hander on the mound, this just seems weird. I've seen no mention of Thieben being a two-way player but it's possible that he was playing first? Whether this is just that pitch or a recurrent thing is something that we'll have to determine somehow later, but if someone manages to track down some video feed for the Baseball World Cup, we will be able to see him start and how he fares. Since his competition is likely to be a lot more advanced than what he's accustomed to, I don't know if I'm eager to look it up.
In the greater scheme of things, this seems to point to a recent trend we've had of signing pitchers, not position players out of Europe. We've had the Dutchmen of Jeroen de Haas, Scott Ronnenbergh, and now Lars Huijer all debut, but none of them have made that much of an impact as of yet. In fact, de Haas has been released, along with LHP Brandol Perez (haha last year), IF Yidid Batista, and OF Rigoberto Rangel, and of those four, de Haas has probably been the least surprising of the bunch. Our track record with signing pitchers from obscure parts of the baseball world is not especially good (Oleg Korneev! Chao Wang!), though we seem to at least get some value out of even the lesser hitters (Sams, Phillips). I'm not trying to make any sweeping conclusions from this observation, it was just something that got me thinking.
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