Barrington’s Loutos mastered the computer science of pitching

It's probably safe to say Barrington native Ryan Loutos took a path to the majors unlike any other.

Loutos was a computer science major at highly regarded Washington University in St. Louis. For a class project, he and a teammate created a website to track analytic metrics for every pitch thrown by a WashU pitcher. A couple years later, he adapted the application for use by the St. Louis Cardinals.

On Monday, Loutos was called up from Triple A to join the Cardinals pitching staff. The 6-foot-5 right-hander has yet to appear in a game, so his big-league debut could come this weekend against the Cubs at Busch Stadium.

“I was just telling someone that during my first week of school at WashU, in the fall of 2017 for maybe a Cardinals-Cubs series, I was sitting all the way up high in the $10 tickets, and I remember Jack (Flaherty) running in from the bullpen,” Loutos said, according to “And, now, how many ever years later, I’m here. Never in a million years did I think I’d be here.”

During the winter of 2021-22, Loutos helped build the framework for “Chirp,” an app that allows Cardinals pitchers to view video and get analytical breakdowns of their outings. His work in the computer department didn't lead directly to a pitching tryout, but Loutos used his invention to improve his own performance.

The 2017 Barrington High School grad put off a job offer as a software engineer in Chicago to pitch for the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders, a collegiate summer team. That's where he impressed the Cardinals and earned a minor-league deal during the 2021 season.

In college he was one of the most successful pitchers in school history, posting an 11-1 record with a 1.33 ERA as a senior while leading the Bears to the Division III World Series. He'll be the first WashU product to play in the majors since Dal Maxvill retired in 1975.

Loutos, 25, boosted his fastball velocity to the 97 mph range, while using info from his app to improve movement on his sweeper and curveball. He had a 1.72 ERA with 4 saves for Triple A Memphis this season.

While calling up Loutos, the Cardinals sent pitcher Chris Roycroft, a Willowbrook High School grad, back to Memphis. Roycroft had a 6.00 ERA in five appearances in his initial MLB action.

Trouble avoided:

Chris Kamka from Marquee Network pointed out an interesting statistic this week. Opposing hitters have gone 3 for 42 with runners in scoring position against Cubs starter Javier Assad this season. Assad worked out of considerable trouble Tuesday against Atlanta.

A deeper dive into this stat found 13 major-league pitchers with an opponent batting average below .100 with runners in scoring position, with at least 20 at-bats.

The Cubs have three. Mark Leiter Jr. is right behind Assad at .074 (2 for 27), while Shota Imanaga is at .091. Hitters are 2 for 22 with runners in scoring position against Imanaga, which shows how little traffic he's seen.

The leader in the category is Cleveland reliever Nick Sandlin (.042), who is just ahead of teammate Emmanuel Clase (.046).

Assad has by far the most at-bats with runners in scoring position among players on this list, but another starter, Atlanta's Reynaldo Lopez (2 for 33, .061), has a better opponents' average.

Two ex-Cubs are on the list — Tampa Bay's Jason Adam (.087) and Detroit's Shelby Miller (.087). Oddly enough, Miller has a 4.41 ERA on the season.

And the White Sox might be onto something with left-hander Jared Shuster, who has allowed opposing hitters to go 1 for 19 with RISP. Shuster is a former first-round pick of the Braves and was part of the Aaron Bummer trade.

Support the Troop:

The Cubs are searching far and wide for potential bullpen help. In the last few weeks, they've signed four pitchers off independent minor-league rosters, including Batavia native and Marmion grad Alex Troop.

A 6-foot-5 left-hander, Troop was pitching for the Kane County Cougars when he got the offer to join the Cubs and is now on the roster of the Double A Tennessee Smokies, though he hadn't made an appearance as of Wednesday. Troop, 27, spent seven years in the Nationals organization after being drafted in the ninth round out of Michigan State.

The other pitchers added were Dalton Moats from the Kansas City Monarchs, Trey Supak from the Charleston Dirty Birds and Aaron Perry from the Lexington Legends.

“You can never stop adding guys externally, you can never stop trying to grind through on the bullpen,” Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said this week. “It is kind of the one area of the team where those transactions can have that kind of leverage. You're unlikely to end up with a guy that's batting fourth for you from a released player or a minor-league contract. In the bullpen it happens all the time.”

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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