According to a team release, the Jays have maybe done a nifty piece of business this afternoon, filling out their 40-man roster by picking up right-handed reliever Mickey Storey– who was hit in the face with a line drive in September, but came back to pitch later in the month– on waivers from Houston.
Storey, who turns 27 in March, made his big league debut in 2012, pitching 30 innings while posting a 3.86 ERA, 2.80 FIP, 2.99 SIERA and 3.88 xFIP. He isn’t one of these huge-armed guys Alex has been stockpiling– his fastball averaged just a shade below 90 during those 30 innings– but he’s got some swing-and-miss stuff, generating swinging strikes on 12.8% of his pitches (per FanGraphs), including over 22% of the time on his slider (per Brooks Baseball), which was his most-used pitch (he also has a decent curve, too).
He struck out 26.8% of batters in his 30 big league innings, which was good for more than ten K/9, while keeping walks down pretty decently– as he’s done throughout his minor league career as well.
Eno Sarris wrote about Storey, among others, back in November at FanGraphs, looking at relievers who throw a low percentage of fastballs, as Storey does, which he seems to think is possibly an undervalued group, as “these guys have pitches. They just don’t have fastballs. Since they are relievers, you usually don’t have to give them many years, so the injury risk isn’t as big a deal. And as you can tell by the names, they aren’t an expensive group, despite their collective four-ish FIP.”
Thing about Storey is, his splits are a bit weird, as he was much more effective against lefties in 2012, holding them to a .158/.231/.222 line– translating to a .208 wOBA and a 2.80 FIP, though a 4.79 xFIP. He get almost all of his strikeouts against right-handed hitters, though, and had a better FIP and xFIP in that split, despite giving up a .342 wOBA (driven by a .396 BABIP).
So… was he just getting BABIP’d to death? I’m not convinced it’s quite that simple, or that the Astros would be so cavalier in ditching a potentially nice piece in order to clear room for Carlos Pena on the 40-man, but… maybe? They clearly see some value there: the Astros lost Storey on waivers to the Yankees earlier in the winter– perhaps through a botched attempt to slide him down to the minors– and picked him back up when the Yankees eventually dropped him as well. Timothy De Block of Crawfish Boxes called the loss of Storey a “head scratcher” and praised the Astros for finding a way to get him back.
So much for that, eh Houston? Though I wouldn’t be convinced that the Jays won’t, eventually, try to sneak him through waivers themselves. If they keep him, he’s certainly an intriguing arm.