It’s not often that Keith Law posts an entire piece about the Jays, which means that it’s not often that I have to worry about having to toe the line on just how much of his work it’s appropriate to post here. It’s well worth it to get ESPN Insider– even just for KLaw’s work alone– and I wouldn’t want to devalue that (in whatever tiny way I’m capable of) by quoting too much of his report today on the Jays he saw face Houston, so… I guess we’ll just go with the Coles Notes version. Law’s piece is far more elaborate:

- Law was unimpressed with McGowan, who he calls “a shadow of what he used to be.” Ouch. Apparently he was most unimpressed by how long it took for McGowan to get up to his top velocity of 95 and 96, and his “soft-breaking slider that you can see pretty early out of his hand.”

- The report on Kyle Drabek is much better. He “looked solid with a new, more controlled delivery and increased use of a two-seamer with sharp sinking action.” Law was especially impressed with his new mechanics, landing spot, and the consistency with which he was able to stay in line and not fall off the mound. He also liked the cutter Drabek threw “at 87-88 that looked just the like fastball out of his hand, allowing him to use it in changeup counts.”

- A couple interesting notes from the pair battling for the Jays left field position, as Law says that Eric Thames got a pair of cheap hits on outfield misplays, and that Travis Snider’s lone bright spot– a hard double– was extra bright, since it was on “a ball he wouldn’t have gotten to last year with his hands set up higher than they are now.”

- He also had notes on prospects Travis d’Arnaud, Jake Marisnick, and Anthony Gose– who laid down an “unfieldable” bunt for a hit.

Comments (41)

  1. His report on McGowan is going to temper things, but the big news here is Drabek. McGowan is a 30 year old on a 1 year deal with a shredded arm that we were hoping could maybe piece together a decent 150 innings this year, at best. Drabek is the 24 year old we have for the next 6 years who as recently as last offseason people were hesitant to part with for Greinke. Drabek’s improved mechanics and new found dedication to keeping his shit together on the mound are really exciting developments.

    • Nailed it.

    • It’s amazing how many people just gave up on him. The lack of any sort of perspective in this city when it comes to young players is ridiculous, particularly in the media. See: Snider, Drabek, Rasmus.

      • Not just young players, but players period. Sundin goes on a five-game pointless streak, everyone starts asking if it’s time for him to retire or to trade him. Kessel starts out hot, suddenly he’s the second coming of Doug Gilmour.

      • Amazing how Drabek has pitched a few effective innings in Grapefruit and everyone is ready to annoint a future #2.

        • It’s a rite of Spring Training – every young gun is the future something. We believe in Santa Claus for a few short weeks, and then catch our parents putting presents under the tree on Opening Day. But it’s nice to believe, even if it’s only for a little while…

    • Bingo. Drabek is way more important to the Jays at this point. If McG can be something again that’s a bonus, but Drabes should be the focus.

  2. The little tidbit on Gose is interesting too. He spent all last year working on his swing, he was forbidden from bunting. Work some bunt hits into his numbers and suddenly he has a high enough OBP to play at leadoff. Damn, he’s an exciting player!

  3. Definitely good news on Drabek. And Marisnick’s home run in the 9th impressed Law as Jake apparently didn’t square the ball yet it left the park, showing good raw power.

    Don’t know what to think regarding McGowan. Its way too early to say anything definitive at this point. If he can stay healthy, McGowan can still be an effective no. 5 guy, even if he is a shadow of what he used to be.

  4. “A shadow of what he used to be” isn’t a death sentence. People put his “stuff” on par with Halladay before he got hurt. KLaw has said in the past that if there’s one guy who he wonders “what could have been?” it’s Mcgowan. We’re essentially talking about downgrading Mcgowan from potential ace of the staff to maybe an average starter. It’s a shame, but it’s not the end of the world.

  5. Not sure what Law’s problem is with McGowan getting up to 95/96. Cecil could try till his arm fell off and he’d never get that. Here it is McGowans 2nd start in ST and he’s there. And how many previous pitchers have the Jays had that could do that?

    • This was my thinking too…TBH I didn’t even know anyone was expecting McGowan to work at those types of velocities in this comeback attempt. If it hadn’t been accompanied with Law’s negative comments, I would have been happy to hear about him getting up to 95-96.

      The comments about the slider do scare me a little bit, though.

    • If you read the article, you’ll understand. His issue was with how long it too him to get there and the disappointing slider.

    • I don’t think Law has any problem with McGowan hitting 95-96. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that velo….I just read it as there are some underlying issues which may cause him to be less effective than in the past. Make no mistake – Law is a big supporter of McGowan’s. He’s raved about ‘the stuff’ McGowan showed years ago when he was w/ the organization. He wants him to succeed…just being honest, that’s all.

      Also: ‘Yay!’ for Drabek. Love to see that kid get his shit right. He’s got the goods & it would be a boon for the club if he can perform.

  6. I think its good to be cautious on the optimism regarding McGowan, but I think that Law is a little harsh here. Fact is, according to his own report, McG sat 92-93, and hit 96 after an admittedly rocky 1st inning. That is plenty for a major league starter, and I disagree with his assertion that McG needs to show he can pitch 95-96 to be an effective starter. Law also takes issue with his “slow-breaking slider” – was it actually the slider he’s commenting on, or was it actually the curve McGowan has already admitted to being rusty currently (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/baseball/dustin-mcgowan-finding-his-way-back-as-jays-starter/article2365641/)? Either way, from listening to the games, I’ve heard comments on a few good sliders, so while it may be inconsistent right now (and he’s missed 3 years here, so that’s not unexpected), he’s at least flashed a good one, meaning its still there.

    Finally, even McGowan and Farrel were less impressed with this outing compared to his previous (listen to the Farrel and McGowan interviews here: http://blog.rogersbroadcasting.com/mikewilner/2012/03/15/crazy-isnt-it/) – meaning its also possible that Law saw McGowan on an off-day. Lets see that the next few outings are like before drawing any conclusions…

  7. Ok Andrew? Whats with the “teasers” on D’Arnaud Marisnick and Gose?

    • Insider article, which means you have to pay. He didn’t want to reveal everything, because that wouldn’t go over very well with Klaw.

    • He’s trying to toe the line of how much paywall-protected content he can regurgitate here.

  8. “a shadow of what he used to be” if i’m not mistaken, Keith Law picked Dustin Mcgowan to win the Cy Young in 2007 or somewhere around there, so he was obviously very high on him at one point.

  9. Regarding McGowan being “a shadow of what he used to be,” that’s bound to happen after multiple injuries and 2-years missed time. If McGowan can remain healthy and gain back 100% arm strength, there’s no reason to believe McGowan can get back to that form. It may be improbable, but definitely not impossible.

  10. just thought of a cool title if mcgowan hurts his arm again and is released:

    “Dust-in the Wind”

    fuck thats good

  11. read a good piece on which prospect would you keep if forced: Anthony Gose or Jake Marisnick? poll results surprising too… worth a read http://bit.ly/xoYD3e

  12. Maybe Law is wrong. He is wrong sometimes, you know.

    Or maybe it’s too early in the spring to make definitive statements.

    Or … maybe he’s a shadow of his former self at the moment, but could get back to where he used to be eventually.

    I take comfort in the fact that McGowan can still throw a baseball 95 or 96 miles an hour. That’s pretty good.

    • I would imagine that sitting in the pressbox, your perspective is different from standing in the batter’s box.

      If pitches look obvious coming out of a pitchers hand from the pressbox, that doesn’t mean that it’s as obvious to the batter in the batters box. And vice versa.

  13. Keith Law is as wise as he is handsome.

  14. “I wore down last year,”

    From what? He wasn’t maintaining, so what’s he tired from? Playing baseball- a pastoral game? Cheering on the bench?

    He goes back home to Indiana and gets great advice from the CWS scout again. Can’t he just hire him to be his permanent swing coach and watch all of his at bats?

    Lind is now as much a disappointment to me as Lyle “I stopped doing my hand rehab exercises” Overbay. Lind needs to get himself motivated and take a step up or the team needs to get move a bat over to first base.

  15. I can’t stand the ESPN site, give away their insider info all day long.

    Nothing but non stop movies trying to force load, advertisements creeping in from every god damn angle slowing down my computer blocking my view from the articles. Fuck ESPN…

    • I’m sure there might be some sort of legal ramification for giving away pay-for content from another site for free, especially on a “competing” sports website.

      • I don’t know if it would ever get to the point of being a legal issue– I don’t suspect ESPN is that vigilant unless it’s something that happens often. It’s more just a courtesy thing.

  16. Today’s line-up: Escobar-SS, Johnson-2B, Bautista-RF, Lind-1B, Encarnacion-DH, Lawrie-3B, Rasmus-CF, Arencibia-C, Snider-LF. P-Romero

    That looks like… an opening day line-up to me, plus Snider.

    Now let’s all go and read too much into it.

  17. Gotta love how the future of this rotation looks.

  18. The beast is hitting in front of the razz. Wonder how long it will be before Lawrie actually supplants one of Lind or Encarnacion?

  19. Is todays game on the radio?

  20. I’d take Law’s observations here based on a few ST innings with a grain of salt. McGowan’s slider was surprisingly impressive last season in his short stint and he certainly wasn’t throwing 95/96 at any point. If anything, this news with his velocity can only be seen as a positive.

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