Now, don’t get confused by the title of this post and start thinking that Alex Anthopoulos was being overly critical of his young pitcher– the “it” he was referring to Kyle Drabek finally starting to get, when he appeared on the Fan 590′s Brady & Lang this morning, is the ability to repeat a delivery that doesn’t see him land falling off the mound to the first base side, allowing him to better command his pitches.

Money quote:

“He’s the guy who is really starting to open some eyes, and the biggest thing is from a mechanical standpoint– from a strike-throwing standpoint. You guys have seen him plenty: great stuff, velocity, curve ball. The stuff is there, it’s matter of throwing strikes and command.

I’ve always compared him, in terms of delivery– I remember when Romero was in the minor leagues, and he was in New Hampshire for three years, pretty much, putting up 5.00 ERAs, and he always had good stuff and [the concern] was the ability to throw strikes. There was a similarity that they did in their deliveries. They would fall off the mound, after they threw a pitch, to one side– obviously with Romero he’d fall off to third base, and Drabek would fall off to first base. But Kyle’s finally starting to get it now, and I’m curious to see how it translates to games.

We’re going to see it tomorrow against the Pirates, but he’s starting to make strides, and our development staff and the big league staff has really done a great job with him. So, he’s finally starting to turn the corner. He’s not all the way there yet– because he will revert back [to his old delivery]– but I was more encouraged about his last– the outing that he showed here– than I’ve been about him in a long time.”

Comments (19)

  1. Let’s hope this keeps up  … going to be interesting to see what happens between Alverez, McGowan and Drabek if they all are throwing well out of spring training!  There is still a long way to go but that sounds promising.  

  2. Michael Garncarz: Great news!

  3. I was reading a prospects chat at Fangraphs yesterday and on Drabek, the author pointed out that his ceiling isn’t any lower than it was before last season – there’s just more “risk” involved in him being able to reach it. He was the Jays’ #1 prospect at this time last year.

    I think lots of us tend to look at last season and think less of Drabek’s potential, but if he can figure out how to throw strikes, he could be pretty fantastic. It’s encouraging to hear that he’s making strides.

  4. Great to hear. It seems like so many Jays fans have written him off as a bust, focusing their Halladay-Haul-Prospect love towards d’Arnaud and Gose. But I’m really rooting for Drabek to win the #5 spot.

    There still a decent chance all three could make an impact in the big leagues by the end of ’13. It really would prove to be a great return on Doc, especially compared to similar trades for J.Santana and  C.Lee (twice).

  5. Playoffs!!!1!!!eleven!

  6. Go Kyle

  7.  Does anyone else read this like a between-the-lines critique of Cecil? He still falls towards third base, and unlike Romero he has as of yet been unable to shake this annoying tendency.

  8. I doubt AA intended for any subtext of that nature in his comments. And for what it’s worth, Mel Didier said (yesterday?) that Cecil’s mechanics look better so far this spring than they ever were last year. It sounds like he’s made some significant strides as well.

  9. I doubt AA “intended” it that way too.  And thanks – I missed those Didier comments re: Cecil, though I do remember AA saying he’s in his best shape, and his career is now a priority, and so on. 

  10. Yeah, it’s nice to hear (from one scout at least) that it’s also translated into better mechanics.

  11. Kinda goofy scheduling with the new wild card: hypothetically, let’s say the Yankees win the division, Boston gets the first WC, and the Rays get the second WC. Boston hosts the one-game play-in; then, let’s say they win it, and then win the first two games agains the Yankees (also played in Boston), then they win the third game of the LDS (played in NY).

    That means Boston — the lower seed — will have played three playoff games at home, and NY — the higher seed  – only got one. Not the likeliest scenario in the world, but still, kinda sucks.

    I’m glad they were able to make this happen though.

  12. I don’t see this as surprising.  This is baseball and this is how it goes:  Adjustments, adjustments to adjustments, and then more adjustments.

    Only hockey fans can look at last year’s Drabek and extrapolate this year’s version.  

    The really interesting thing will be to see is that if the change in mechanics does take hold and he throws more strikes, will that translate into emotional coolness on the mound.  If he can settle into a new style and get some positive feedback, thus chilling his fiery heart, his ceiling is pretty darn high.  We need a cool island song!

  13. I believe in Kyle Drabek

  14. Never say never

  15. It would actually be great to see Cecil, Alvarez, McGowan, and Drabek all in a meaningful fight for the final 3 rotation spots

  16. The best thing about Drabek returning to form is the extra depth it adds to the team. Trading a young arm here or there down the road won’t hurt so much when you’ve got an extra one with so much potential. 

  17. Was sitting behind home plate for Drabek’s first start last year on opening weekend vs the Twins. He was just dominant, with thoroughly nasty stuff. If he can get back close to that, and do it more often than not, they will have a solid number three starter. If he can be a factor, that would improve their chances considerably.

  18. So much can happen between now and the end of the spring. As fans, we tend to get too high and then too low on a guy very quickly. I’ve always respected the stuff. If Drabek can take the big step forward you then have a legitimate top 3 (Romero, Morrow, Drabek). With both McGowan and Cecil throwing well you have to think in this scenario it’s Alvarez that gets sent down to focus on the slider.

    However we are still light years away from having to make those decisions and who knows if there will be another freak injury (Cecil with the kitchen knife) or Perez throwing a curveball to Alvarez during warm up catch. Was it just me or did anyone else think Perez should be sent down to A ball for that stunt?

    Nice to hear AA positive on what he is seeing from Drabek.

  19. When you’re looking at the back-end of our rotation (cecil, mcgowan, alvarez, drabek) I think the best “stuff” or most gifted, cecil is easily at the bottom of that list.  While alvarez needs a slider to become a legit #2 or possibly even an ace, that’s genuinely what his ceiling is because of the way he can throw strikes, his god given movement on his fastball and his ability to induce ground balls.  in this scenario I’d have to think cecil would be the odd man out.

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