I’ve never seen a no-hitter. Over the past six years I’ve been to probably 500 baseball games in person and it’s never happened. On Tuesday, I came as close as ever to finally seeing one as Royals left-handed pitching prospect Chris Dwyer was perfect through 6 2/3 innings. He was positively masterful and hurled one of the best games I’ve ever seen anyone pitch, ever.
Dwyer stands a solid 6’3” and is listed at a solid 210lbs. While his weight is something of a question (he had a thyroid condition in 2012 that caused some pretty serious weight fluctuation) he looks solid and strong now and while the thyroid condition might give me pause about his long-term health, he showed no signs of the 83-86mph fastball he was pitching with while he was sick.
The delivery is nearly straight over the top and Dwyer stands tall throughout while using his lower half adequately while sending everything toward the plate. There’s some deception and all of Dwyer’s pitches come out of his hand at the same release point. The fastball sat 87-90mph and topped out at 92mph. The heater features nice run, especially for someone with an arm angle as vertically oriented as Dwyer. Towards the very end of his start, Dwyer lost a good amount of velocity. He was down to 85-87mph range in the seventh when it became clear el perfecto wasn’t going to happen. He pitched up in the zone a little too often for my taste with the fastball but through a ton of strikes and can move everything in and out. I put a 50 n the fastball and a 60 on his control of it with the command lagging a bit behind it. Oddly, Dwyer’s main bugaboo during his minor league career had been his poor control and command. Many thought it would be the death of any chances he had to start. On this night, however, he was almost surgical.
The changeup sat in the high 70s and had nice arm action and some fade when Dwyer threw it right but it sailed on him at times. Overall it’s an average pitch and it might have some projection, though Dwyer is already 25 years old. The curveball has been plus in the past and I can see why some really like it, but for me it’s a 5. This is a near 12-6 offering with plenty of depth but it’s a little loopy and slow for me, sitting in the 74-76mph range. I’m not sure it’s going to get the swings and misses in the big leagues that it’s getting right now. Dwyer relies heavily on it.
Overall we’re looking at three average pitches. If the control/command I saw on Tuesday night were backed up by reports from the past I’d have no problem labeling him a #4/5 starter. But the discrepancy between what I saw and what Dwyer’s track record has been has my enthusiasm tempered at least a little bit. I’ve got him pegged as a role 45 player, a #5 starter who isn’t exactly an innings eater.