San Francisco Chronicle
Pitcher Logue offers ‘a ton of deception’
Asked if he would liken Zach Logue to another pitcher, Oakland Athletics pitching coach Scott Emerson dipped into the memory bank.
“I think an old-school name for me is a guy like Mike Flanagan or Jimmy Key,” Emerson said.
Flanagan pitched from 197592 with the Orioles and Blue Jays (and won an AL Cy Young award in 1979). Key produced a career 3.51 ERA pitching from 1984-98 in the AL East.
“Just kind of a crafty lefthander with arm speed,” Emerson said. “The fastball looks like it’s 95 (mph) coming out but might not be 95. The ability to use his fastball and how fast he moves sets up his off-speed pitches and makes them look really good as well. So I think he offers a ton of deception.”
Logue averaged 90.2 mph on his fastball in his first three outings with Oakland, including two starts. But manager Mark Kotsay and at least one Tigers hitter noted after Logue’s start in Detroit that his fastball “plays up,” or looks faster to the batter.
“I’ve kind of got the low arm slot and the fastball kind of rises a little bit, or has the perception of rising,” Logue said. “So I can kind of play with the fastball up and the cutter off of that.”
Logue, who starts Monday’s series opener against the Twins, used his cutter 27% of the time in his first three MLB outings. It produced a 34.6% whiff rate. Logue did not hesitate to throw it inside facing right-handed hitters. Its 85.6 mph average, along with his changeup (81.6 mph) and curveball (76.7 mph) gives him a spectrum of speeds and movements to mix.
“The spin he can create, the arm angles and the location, make the shapes look different a lot,” Emerson said. “He’s got that ability to throw his breaking ball on the outer third (of the plate), inner third, bottom third, and the look to it is different so that it’s perceived that he has different breaking balls.”
Emerson, who often describes pitching as disruption of a hitter’s timing, said Logue’s active delivery also works in his favor.
“The off-speed comes out slower than expected because of how quick he’s moving down the mound,” Emerson said. “He’s able to play that backand-forth game really well.”
In 131⁄3 innings for the A’s, who acquired him from Toronto in the Matt Chapman trade, Logue has a 1.35 ERA with three walks and 12 strikeouts. He struck out 144 in 125 minorleague innings in the Blue Jays’ minor-league system in 2021.
“I just try to take the mentality of — I don’t care who’s at the plate, and I know I don’t have 95 (mph) in the tank, but I’m going to come after you, I’m going to try to throw strikes,” Logue said.
“He’s got kind of a lower (arm) slot for a guy that doesn’t throw hard — it’s not a traditional soft-tosser throwing fastball-changeup,” Emerson said. “I think he’s unique in his own and that helps him because hitters haven’t seen a guy like him.”
Briefly: Left-hander Cole Irvin is slated for five innings and 80-85 pitches in his rehab start Tuesday with Low-A Stockton, Kotsay said. … Right fielder Stephen Piscotty started baseball activity, but the A’s don’t have a timeline for his return from a calf strain. “We’re going to just take it slow right now,” Kotsay said.