Advance Scouting: Felix Doubront

Advance Scouting: Felix Doubront

Last year Baseball Prospectus ran an advance scouting series towards the end of the season that focused on specific players. The work was tremendous and it inspired me to do something similar for Cubs Den. You can read the BP series archives here. Special thanks to John Arguello, Joe Hamrahi, Jason Parks, Nick Faleris and Chris Mellen for letting me do this.

The purpose of this article and the ones that come after are to serve a few different purposes. I'll be breaking down specific players and their strengths, weaknesses and tendencies in the month of September. For the most part these will be key players and the occasional prospect from opposing teams. I'll be mixing in Cubs reports when applicable (it's applicable now)

Player Name: Felix Doubront
Pitch Mix: Four Seam Fastball, Curveball, Cutter. Threw a Sinker in last start, looks to have scrapped the changeup.

Season To date

  • IP: 59.1
  • ER: 40
  • H: 69
  • K%/BB%: 15.5/9.4
  • WHIP: 1.60
  • ERA: 6.07

AAA Iowa

  • IP: 10
  • ER: 6
  • H: 12
  • K%/BB%: 25.0/6.8
  • WHIP: 1.14
  • ERA: 5.40

Context: Doubront was acquired from the Red Sox for a PTBNL. He was in Iowa for most of the year and will be making his Cubs debut today against the Cardinals.

Usage Chart:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Pitch break down

The Hard Stuff: 

  • Doubront has a fastball, sinker, cutter combination. He's been playing with the pitch mix all year and hasn't quite settled on one that he prefers.
    • Four Seam Fastball: Soft fastball. 88-91. Straight, ok command. Needs secondary offerings to be on for this pitch to be effective. Ideal mix would be Fastball Change Curve. When he misses with the fastball he tends to pull it down and to the arm side of the plate. Will elevate the pitch against RHH.

      2014 Zone Usage LHH | RHH

    • Sinker: 89-91 MPH with arm side run and sink. Used it sparingly against LHH and RHH. Pitch has promise as it mirrors the fastball deep through the zone. Uses it early in the count, doesn’t typically go to it as an out pitch. Against LHH likes to bury it down and in, against RHH he tries to work down in the zone with it but can miss up in those situations.

      2014 Zone Usage LHH | RHH

    • Cutter: 86-88 MPH. Looks like a slider with some dip. Likes to use it against lefties and righties. Against lefties Doubront will use the cutter more as a set up pitch. Against righties Doubront has used it as an out pitch. Loves to bury it into RHH with two strikes. Tries to go down and away with it against LHH, likes to go down and in and up and away against RHH.

      2014 2 Strike Zone Usage LHH | RHH


  • Doubront has a curve and a change that he uses as his out pitches. The curve can operate as a strikeout pitch when it's on. The Change is more intended to induce weak contact but it can miss some bats as well.

    • Curve: 74-76 MPH. Inconsistent curve that has sharp break but gets loopy when he loses it. Doesn’t have firm command of it, really likes to nip the bottom portion of the zone. He pounds down and away to LHH especially with 2 strikes.  Doubront will sometimes backdoor the breaking ball against RHH but it leaves him prone to elevating the pitch where it becomes very easy to hit.

      2014 Zone Usage LHH | RHH

    • Change: 83-84 MPH. Has downward movement, can miss up with it in the zone. Likes to bury it down just under the strike zone. When he leaves it up it’s extremely hittable. Used it as an out pitch with 2 strikes.

      2014 Zone Usage LHH | RHH

Fielding/Running Game/Mechanics:

  • Mechanics: Slow, deliberate worker. Takes his time out on the mound, can be difficult to watch work. Falls off a bit to the third base side from the wind up. Doesn't get into a good fielding position out of the wind. From the stretch he stays straight through to home plate better but he still is prone to falling off to the third base side. Cannot stress how slow of a worker he is on the mound.
  • Fielding: Didn't see him make many plays off the mound, looks like he has slow feet.
  • Pickoff move/running game: Got him at 1.5 - 1.55 to home, didn't see the good pick off move if he has it. Pacing and time to home aren't conducive to controlling the running game.

Attack Plan

  • Doubront is deliberate and he likes to tease the zone rather than attack it. The curve can be very good and he needs both that and the change to be on to be effective. He likes to nibble which gets him into trouble via the walk and forcing him into bad counts. The fastball is very hittable and he can elevate the change. He shows the ball for a long time via his delivery. He drops the ball below his trunk and gives the hitter a good view. Doesn't hide the ball very well. Based on his previous work I would jump the fastball and wait the curve out.


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  • Sounds like he has minimal margin for error when he pitches. Hendricks does too obviously but I think it's a safe bet to say Hendricks has much better control, or is at least more aggressive at attacking hitters

  • So if you're Bosio and Johnson, what do you do to fix him?

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    I'd hire Bosio and Johnson.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    I'd simplify his pitch mix, work more sinker-curve-change. Use FB in emergencies only. I'd try to speed up his pace too, tighten up some mechanical issues.

  • Mauricio, thanks for the great insight. I was reading some Card comments this morning and they aren't too excited about their chances in either game today. Maybe we'll get lucky in game 1. We may just have to outfit them.

  • In reply to Jayhawk81:

    I don't know about that. Our line up looks weak for the first game. Both Rizzo and Soler are not in the starting line up. Maybe we are testing how Doubront does when he doesn't get much run support.

  • In reply to John57:


  • I hope Bosio helps him change his mind about scrapping the changeup. If it's predictable, it's hittable, both in terms of when it's thrown and the batter's ability to identify it coming out of Doubront's hand. He'll need that pitch in the mix.

  • Outhit! Dammit!

  • They sent the batting practice pitcher out there wearing Doubrant's jersey.

    Lucky, lucky, lucky so far... line drives have been hit right at people.

    Masterson is even worse. Walk the pitcher and now bottom of the order subs are goin' yard on him.

  • On the bright side, Doubrant's pitch count is really low because the Cardinals are hacking at his meatballs.

    If he can keep being lucky he might actually eat up some innings... a very good thing when you're playing two.

  • As I have said before.. Masterson? No thanks

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Agreed - unless it is on a 'Feldman' kind of sign & flip kind of deal - no way in heck is it a good idea to sign Masterson.

    And with Arrieta, Wood, Hendricks, Wada, Doubront, Turner, EJax (assuming he isn't jettisoned), Beeler and others in the BP who could be stretched out,..... there really isn't a strong need for a mid or bottom-rotation starter going into next season.

    GO big on Lester maybe,.... maybe consider a trade for Hamels, but otherwise avoid guys like Masterson.

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    Will Rizzo be playing in game 2?

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    Looks like he'll be sitting all weekend....

  • Haven't needed Rizz so far.
    Got plenty of other guys hittin' bombs.

    As Cub Fan yelled after Castro's tater... get used to it!

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    Double Helix Felix didn't seem to fool anyone early, but boy was he efficient. Hopefully he figured something out.

    What a bomb by Castro.

    Soler playing right field tonight. Awesome !

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I thought he tightened up his delivery later in the game. He was opening up a bit and swinging his arm, giving him some long arm action on the backside. That makes him easy for hitters to pick up. I mentioned it to Mike and Kevin, then no sooner do I get done saying it, he tightens it all up. He was much better as the game went on and was consistent with his delivery.

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    Thanks for making me look stupid Castro by getting picked off, although he made it damn close at 2nd.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    He's overcompensating to try & make up for the mental lapses of late,.... leading to this mistep.

    He'll be fine - just needs to find an equilibrium again.

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    Color me skeptical on Felix, but so far so good I guess.

  • There does not appear to be much 'swing & miss' to Doubront's game - but he looked pretty good overall.

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