Los Angeles Dodgers v Toronto Blue Jays

Tomorrow Jake Marisnick will be a Major Leaguer. Following last night’s game the Marlins announced, via Twitter, that both he and top prospect Christian Yelich are on their way to the big leagues, straight from Double-A Jacksonville, where the 22-year-old ex Jays prospect and his 21-year-old teammate were both in the top ten in OPS despite being among the youngest qualified hitters in the Southern League.

It’s a bit of an early debut for Marisnick, but it’s hard to deny that he’s zoomed past Anthony Gose– who continues to regress at the plate and on the basepaths in his repeat year at Triple-A– and firmly made himself a centrepiece of last November’s deal between the Jays and the Marlins.

A decent lavishing of praise is sure to come today, as tends to happen when top 100 prospects make their debuts, which will surely make a lot of Jays fans sick to their stomachs. Meanwhile, one of the key players who went the other way in the deal, Josh Johnson, is left to pick up the pieces of another terrible outing for the Blue Jays last night.

Johnson recorded just six outs on Monday against the Dodgers– one of the few teams who, had he been pitching better, may have been convinced to have some genuine interest in him at the trade deadline– and for the sixth time in thirteen starts this season he allowed four or more earned runs, ballooning his season ERA a half run from 5.16 to 5.66.

So while Marisnick is about to become a big league player, is it possible Johnson could be heading in the other direction, all the way out of the league? I’m sure there are some fans that so, but I highly doubt it’s remotely close to that dire. Johnson’s fastball still sits at 93 and touches 94, even though he doesn’t pitch like it, so there’s always going to be interest there. But something absolutely has to change if he’s going to rediscover what made him successful– or to discover for the first time what he can do to get by now that he’s no longer the power pitcher he was back in what I think we can safely, already, call his pre-injury heyday.

Unfortunately for the Jays, one thing that would probably help a lot is giving him an extra easy out each time through the batting order– i.e. moving him back to the National League.

Believe me when I tell you, I don’t say that because I’m turning into one of these punchable faces who insist that players from the NL are never going to translate to the AL (and fans of this organization, who remember NL-to-AL guys like Roberto Alomar, David Cone, Scott Rolen, A.J. Burnett, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion really have no excuse for thinking that way anyway), rather, it’s because he could seriously use a real rally killer up at the plate every once in a while, because when he’s forced to pitch from the stretch, with men on base, Johnson has been brutal.

What’s especially frustrating about that is, when he’s pitched with the bases empty, Johnson has been one of the better pitchers in the league– for whatever little that’s worth. Had he pitched enough innings to be qualified, the .286 wOBA hitters have posted against him with the bases empty (before Monday night) would rank Johnson in the top third in the league, and ahead of guys like Hiroki Kuroda, David Price, James Shields, Justin Verlander and C.C. Sabathia.

When pitching from the stretch, however, things have absolutely fallen apart. Johnson’s .400 wOBA against with men on base would rank him fifth last among 104 qualified starters, ahead of only Scott Diamond, Wade Davis, Justin Grimm and Lucas Harrell.


Worse still, there doesn’t seem to be a simple fix here, as it turns out Jack Moore wrote a piece for FanGraphs nearly a year ago to the damn day about this very issue, which could pretty much be published verbatim today and nobody would notice the difference.

There have been plenty of good signs in Josh Johnson‘s return from a season-ending shoulder injury this year. His 2.98 FIP is excellent; he’s striking out nearly eight batters per nine innings and walking well under three. His 9.35 strikeout rate is an improvement over last year’s mark of 8.5%. His 46.9% ground ball rate is healthy, just under his career average. And yet, despite all this, runs keep crossing the plate against Johnson. His 4.14 ERA would easily be a career high.

As is so often the case, the issue is an elevated BABIP. Johnson checks in at .338 so far this season, a career high and 36 points over his career mark. To make matters worse, the most damage has come with runners already on — Johnson has allowed a .305 BABIP with the bases empty but a whopping .383 mark with runners on. The league typically allows more hits with runners on, but the league split is seven points higher with runners on, not well over 70.

Johnson’s FIP of 4.26 isn’t quite so great this year, but his xFIP– which is kinder to his above average BABIP and HR/FB rate– looks downright respectable at 3.60, for whatever little that’s worth. On a per-batter basis Johnson has struck out more batters this season than last, and walked fewer batters than he has since 2010. Ho ho ho, but heading into last night’s game the “whopping” disparity between his BABIP with the bases empty and with men on has somehow actually grown.

Bases empty? .282 BABIP.

Men on? .380.

This, of course, has been pretty apparent to anybody with eyes, but to see the actual numbers is pretty staggering. Especially when one assumes that this is something both the Jays and the Marlins would have long ago picked up on and had been tinkering with.

I also don’t have the access to the same kind of data for this year that Jack did a year ago (or maybe I just don’t know where to find it), but he explained that, back in Miami in 2012, with Johnson pitching from the stretch, “at 16.7%, the slider is still generating whiffs but significantly fewer than its 22.4% norm. And instead of swinging strikes, the result is hits in play — 7.2% of Johnson’s sliders from these stretch situations have resulted in hits or run-scoring outs.

The changeup has been even worse,” he continued. “Of 49 thrown, nine have resulted in hits or run-scoring outs, the second most common result after ‘ball.’ Only one of the 49 changeups has generated a swinging strike, and just four have generated in-play outs.”

It would almost make you hopeful about Johnson turning it around, we’re it not for the fact that it’s been in plain sight– or at least as visible as Moore’s piece and FanGraphs’ splits tab– for a year and a half now. And if it weren’t such an ugly difference.

Beyond the BABIP and wOBA differences, Johnson seems to lose what little control he has, with his K/BB dropping from 4.20 in the windup to 1.92 from the stretch. And his line drive rate goes up by nearly six per cent.

So… uh… could he pitch exclusively from the windup? As much as that obviously would be a gift to his opponents’ running games, could it possibly make things worse? I mean, obviously you’d like to see him make some kind of change that allows him to pitch more effectively from the stretch, but shouldn’t they be pretty much at the point of trying anything?

Because– and here’s the nut– he genuinely is putting himself in a position where making him a qualifying offer this coming winter is becoming an untenable proposition.

That’s not a particularly controversial statement, and some fans, I understand, would be just fine with that, but it truly would mean a tremendous loss of value for the club.

Already Johnson would seem to have blown up whatever contingencies had been conveniently built in around him. One could be forgiven for thinking that, if the 2013 Jays were, in some hopelessly mad parallel universe, going to fail, at least a healthy Josh Johnson would have made an excellent trade chip. Much is made about the draft pick the club could get back if he declines the qualifying offer, but with the club having gone all-in so hard last winter, and it failing so spectacularly in this form, one legitimately has to wonder whether Alex Anthopoulos will even be around to reap the benefit of a player who at the absolute earliest wouldn’t be making his big league debut until 2016.

I’d commend Alex if he held firm on getting the pick, if he thought it was in the organization’s best, long-term interest, regardless of whether he thought he’d be here or not, but the temptation has got to be to get the club something that can help them in the two seasons that follow this one, if there’s any possibility of doing so for Johnson.

Is there any possibility, though? Would a team see his success from the windup and actually think they could find a way to make him usable, or make his stuff effective from the stretch the way it was back in 2010, when he was actually better with runners on? Nah, it’s a total fantasy. What team could possibly part with anything of value for Johnson, at this point, and sell it to their fans and their ownership as some kind of defensible move?

For the time being, the Jays are stuck with him. And actually… that may not be the worst thing in the world, because maybe there actually is reason to be hopeful.

I’m sure that in the mind of a lot of fans the trajectory here is simple: Johnson plays out the string, doesn’t get a whole lot better, and the Jays simply let him walk. There are, however, other possibilities.

For starters, given his $13-million contract– which will still have $4.6-million left on it once the non-waiver trade deadline passes– it’s highly unlikely that Johnson gets claimed when the Jays place him on the revokable trade waivers that are at the centre of the August trading period.

They still have a little time to get him sorted out, in other words. And there’s maybe even a bigger reason to be at least a little bit hopeful…

In terms of his velocity and his batted ball stats– i.e. line drive rate, fly ball rate, ground ball rate– Johnson has been pretty close to the same guy he was last year. His pitch usage has been pretty similar overall, as well. Yes, his HR/FB is double his career norm, and at 14.7%, well above the 8.4% he posted last year, which is largely due to the offence-friendly home environment and league that he now pitches in, but you’d still have to expect at least a little regression from that– though… I suppose it’s possible he’s just so awful pitching from the stretch that the normal theories about such things just don’t fit him anymore when he’s pitching with men on base.

Something interesting, though, is that he’s been godawful against right-handed hitters.

You have to go back to 2008 to find a year in which right-handed batters posted a wOBA above .300 against Johnson. Last year they wOBA’d .288 off him, and for his career the mark is .289.

This season? .405.

Again, is that number possibly a reflection on how bad he’s been from the stretch? Is he tipping his pitches when not in the windup? Is there something mechanical in Johnson that is hampering his ability to get right-handers out? Or is there maybe a little bit of shit luck in there as well?

I certainly can’t say definitively, but such a whopping outlier offers at least a small reason for hope for progression to the mean.

So, too, does the way that Johnson handled his up-and-down 2012 season.

The piece from Jack Moore that I quoted earlier was published on July 24th, 2012, at which point hitters had posted a .383 BABIP against Johnson when he was pitching from the stretch. By season’s end, though, he’d lowered it to .326.

In an excellent post-trade post at the Mockingbird back in December, Jon Hale went deep under the hood into the Pitch F/X and found post-injury Johnson to be a pitcher with a willingness to tinker in order to make best use of his repertoire. He concluded the piece:

Josh Johnson used to be able to get away with throwing two plus-plus pitches and a show-me change. After a series of arm problems, he’s just not that dominating power pitcher any more. Half a dozen starts into last season, that became obvious to him and/or his coaches, and he started using a pitch in strikeout situations that he had only tinkered with in the past. It worked amazingly well for him, and he started to get more and more confidence with it as the season went on until he was just as effective as he used to be when his repertoire was much more nasty, but predictable. It saved his year, and possibly his career.

What’s particularly striking about Hale’s piece is how he shows that, by the end of 2012, Johnson was throwing his curveball 20% of the time. This year so far he’s thrown it just 13.2% of the time– putting it in line, as I said above, with his overall usage of the pitch in 2012, which was at 15.7%.

There may be some reasonable explanation for that. He may have moved away from the pitch that was the key to his second-half success last year because the league caught on to what he was doing, or because that he can’t throw it– or anything– for strikes this year (his Zone% of 37.5 would tie him for dead last with Jason Marquis, were he a qualified starter), but… shit, I don’t know… and combine the potential of it becoming useful again with the wOBA outlier against right-handed hitters and the impressive progression to the mean in terms of his BABIP from the stretch last year and perhaps the ingredients are there for Johnson to still actually put it together here, as bafflingly counterintuitive as that may sound to anyone who has watched him pitch, particularly in his last six starts.

If so, now all he’s got to do is hit that sweet spot where he’s good enough to get the qualifying offer but not good enough to do better on the open market, and the Jays are golden!

That’s right, I’d be totally all for Josh Johnson being on this team next year, even at a $15-million hit– or, as I suggested last week, on a slightly richer deal that gives the Jays an option for 2015 or Johnson a tidy buyout. Of course that’s if– and it’s a big one– he manages to put it together the way he did last year.

Arms like his, even in its diminished form, simply don’t come around very often, and for some reason I’m ready to hold out hope.

In Hale’s piece he passes along a quote from Johnson at the end of last season:

“I’d say maybe the last 15 starts, I felt so much better than before. I was kind of fighting myself, fighting my body, trying to do this or that, maybe trying to find a little bit more velocity. But once I relaxed and just trusted myself, it just kind of came out.”

He certainly doesn’t appear to be trusting his stuff at this point– though, given his struggles with men on, can you blame him?– and the fact that he spent time on the shelf means he maybe hasn’t been feeling right in 2013, either.

So, as much as his last two starts appear to have been setbacks– especially following a pair of early-July gems against Detroit and Cleveland that lowered his ERA from 5.21 to 4.62– isn’t it maybe at least a little soon to write him off? After all, last year on this date Johnson had already made 20 starts, as compared to this year’s 13.

It sure is too soon if you’re like me and still believe it’s not entirely out of the question that Johnson could feasibly help the 2014 Jays by putting together a full season that looks more like that back half of his 2012– and, perhaps, what he’s about to do in these next two months– than we’ve seen so far.

This is… y’know… as long as he’s bad enough, yet good enough, for them to get stuck with him.

Sadly, though, at this point, that’s pretty much a best-case scenario, and way, way too hopeful to be realistic. 2013, you guys!

Comments (97)

  1. So whish is more disappointing, Johnson performance this year, or Gose looking like he can’t hold Marsinick’s jock?

  2. I like to see people be succeed. Josh is a good guy but in the Jay’s situation, there’s no way I sign him long term even at a discount.

    • I’d sign him if he went on the weighted balls programme right now and increased his velocity by the end of the season.

  3. You can find the individual pitch data from his Pitch F/X page on fangraphs

    • But it doesn’t have splits for pitching from the stretch so never mind.

    • Thanks, but there are no additional splits, like for Bases Empty, Runners On, etc.

      • Brooks Baseball doesn’t seem to have the splits either. Maybe it’s from Baseball Prospectus. It’s got a pay wall behind some of it’s pitch f/x data so I can’t mine any deeper there..

  4. I wouldn’t be too terribly depressed if he was a Jay next season. How much worse could it be. Maybe don’t answer that.

  5. Jays should start handing out Prozac to the first 20,000 fans at Josh Johnson starts.

  6. I’m growing ok with conceding this season to load up for next. I still think the team is quite talented but I’d love to see if the jays could get a major league catcher or second baseman for any combination of JJ/lind/jansen/oliver/davis/

  7. This is a shot in the dark, but I wonder if Johnson might be tipping his pitches from the stretch. That might explain some of the variation between his performance in the stretch vs. the wind-up. I haven’t been able to pick anything up, but I’m not a professional ballplayer.

    • Interesting idea. I slipped the notion into the post, actually. Thanks!

      • Last night after AJ Ellis hit his bomb to centre with ethier on he went straight to Mark Ellis on deck and made a few motions that resembled a glove tip…pure speculation but he seemed to be passing along something he saw…it would make a lot of sense because that is the only way AJ Ellis should be hitting a ball that far…

  8. 2013 – making 2012 look like it was fun since April 2.

  9. Re: “Worse still, there doesn’t seem to be a simple fix here….”

    Wait a minute….. he had shoulder surgery right?

    Weighted balls!

    A return to peak velocity could fix everything.

  10. I’m no doctor, but I think Josh Johnson may be a left handed pitcher

  11. Does anybody think it could be the fact that he had to be convinced (at least his wife did anyways) to come to Toronto in the first place? Then shit the bed a few starts and is now in a mind frame where he could care less, maybe even facilitate a trade/release with his performance?

    I dont know JJ that well as a player, was he ever worth the 98 rating he had in the MLB games? Has he ever won more than 15 Games? More than 10?

    • inb4 look it up

      I could look it up, but I’m lazy, and eating my lunch.

      • You’re too lazy to look up whether he’s ever won more than 15 games for the Marlins and is worth a 98 score on a video game? Laziness seems like the least of your problems.

        • Tell me then, whats the most of my problems?

          • also, 15 games once, and 10+ 3 times (including his 15 win season. Doesnt really warrant a 98 in any game in my opinion. There, I did my research. Fuck you.

    • I was going to attack your argument that and say that this is a free agent year, and he has too much to lose, until I noticed that he’s made 41 million in his career already.

      I’m not saying that JJ’s mind set is “fuck this”, but if I had pocketed that much coin and had a fun run being a pro ball player for 10 years, I’d say “fuck this”.

      • ya, but not really the mindset of a pro athlete. You usually don’t get to be that good if you have the disposition to respond in that sort of way.

      • 40+ mil or not, only someone with a mental illness would deliberately piss away 100 million for playing baseball.

        • 100 mil? Where’s that figure from? How is he pissing away money, when he’s getting what his contract says he’s getting? Besides, there will always be a team that’ll pay for the hopes of someone being as good as they used to be. Case and point, every pitcher we aquired from Miami last year.

    • I think it’s possible he doesn’t want to be in Toronto and that could be impacting his play. Whether it’s subconscious or not. If he does play poorly enough, once the season’s over the Jays don’t even consider the option. Then he’s gone.

      Along that line of thinking, why wouldn’t he pitch great and ride out of town as a trade chip? If he was pitching well, the team would be better, and even if only marginally so, he would all but guarantee his option gets picked up in 2014.

      Stranger things have happened.

      Or maybe JPA just can’t call a game.

      • Neither.

      • If all he wanted was to get out of town and he could just choose between dominating and pitching like shit, he would dominate, since that way he could get traded or turn down a qualifying offer after the season (having been forced to spend half of 6 months in this wasteland) and take over 100 million to play elsewhere, or even take less than the biggest offer to play wherever he wants.

    • Oh come on

  12. What I’m not looking forward to is somehow the Rays picking him up next season and then he’s going 5-0 against us with 3 complete game shut outs.

  13. Actually curious – how much blame does Walker get for this mess? Would an effective pitching coach help turn things around?

    • Thats the same question my wife asked about the Jays last night… so…. thats how bad your question is.

    • Go to Dave Duncan and offer him 3 million a year. Considering the investment already the Jays are committed to, extracting as much performance out of these guys as possible is the best route.

      To get around the problem not allowing coaches to move laterally to other organizations, offer him an honorary title of assistant GM.

  14. Looks like JP shut his twitter down.

  15. Here’s a question, why is Ricky Romero still in the minors? He said weeks ago he’s gone back to his old mechanics, so what is he “working on” that he needs to be in the minors? AA said recently that he wants to see Ricky “dominate” the league before bringing him back but that statements seems a bit ridiculous. Ricky’s pitching in AAA, not against the local high school team. Does AA relieve believe that if he sent any of the other jays starters down right now they would dominate that league? I hope he is not that delusional. Sure Ricky got destroyed again in his last start, but now that this season is a wash, it doesn’t really matter if Ricky comes out and walks 10 batters in the first. He’s either good enough or he’s not, it would be nice to find out before next season starts.

    • I assume this post was a bad attempt at humour? RR makes JJ look like Pedro right now.

      Maybe RR doesn’t need to dominate but he needs to pitch past the 1st or 2nd inning more than every other start.

    • Ricky is butthurt, as a result his pitching sucks. He fell apart like a house of cards last year when he was the ace and the only guy not hurt at the time. The team needed him to set an example and he shit the bed with king like authority. As a result he lost his ace position in the rotation and then the butt hurtness began. If he comes back up there’s nothing that suggests that he will do anything good at all.

  16. Seems like a miserable trade with the Marlins at this point due to the terrible’ness of JJ and the whatever’ness of Buerhle. However, I think I would still be excited to have one of the top 3 SS’s in baseball in exchange for Norris and Marisnick on its own .. with the chance that JJ and MB are useful assets moving forward being a small bonus.

  17. I was watching the Dodger’s broadcast last night (which, although disappointing with no Vin Scully, was still extremely refreshing), and they seemed to think that JJ’s problems stemmed from his complete unwillingness to throw inside to any batters.
    Naturally, he plunked the next batter (Uribe) in the arm, as if to prove their point.

    I’m not inclined to agree that it’s his ONLY problem, but I would probably agree if it were suggested that this fact, coupled with the fact that his location has been atrocious for long stretches during all of his starts (with the exception of a few), certainly is a contributing factor.

  18. So how many starters do the jays need for next year at this point. As of now there’s Dickey, Buerhle and Morrow. With how everyones played (and facing the fact Dickey may never get to what he was given his age) it seems to me they need a 1 and a 2/3, are there even any free agents that fit the profile? I don’t think another trade is an option unfortunately.

    • I think Buehrle will be “traded” i.e. given away with the Jays paying a third to half of the remaining salary. I don’t think they’ll do a full scale fire sale but I do think they will do what they can to shed salaries where they have no chance of getting anything close to fair value back.

      Morrow won’t be back this year and I don’t see him giving us more than a couple of starts next year. The guy’s made of glass.

      Your likely 2014 rotation would then be Dickey, Happ, Hutchison, Romero, Drabek — not necessarily in that order. Sounds a lot like 2012 actually.

    • The answer isn’t coming from free agency. Dickey can certainly be better, and Morrow could be the 1 you’re looking for, but yes, big question marks all. Esmil Rogers might be on his way to earning a place in that conversation too. Buehrle might be gone, if they can find a taker somewhere that he’d rather be. So… it’s fluid. Don’t get hung up on 1s and 2/3s and stuff. They just need good pitchers.

      • Like I said yesterday, why would you look to get rid of the one guy who goes 6 innings every 5 days, with the clusterfuck that is the rest of the rotation (notwithstanding Ismael, on whom the jury should still be out). It’s not like you’ll get much back for Buehrle given the contract. OK, sure, move him if you’d actually get something MLB-ready and good back.

      • 100% correct Stoeten. They just need good pitchers. I would add a MLB quality catcher, 2nd baseman and no Lawrie. He’s got promise but he’s too much of a distraction with his intensity that he seems to give the opposition extra incentive to win ball games. It’s too bad really, he’s great at 3rd defensively but how do you get control of this emotional side in a way that lets him compete but not piss people off on both sides of the field? He may mature but he may not either.

  19. I cannot wait for this season to end.

    Mostly because the last week of the season is going to be so great when:

    The Jays get swept by the O’s Sept 24 – 26.
    followed by
    The Jays get swept by the Rays Sept 27 – 29 while the O’s simultaneously sweep the Red Sox.

    Thus eliminating the Red Sox from the playoffs and Tampa and Baltimore head to the post season.

  20. can you imagine if the jays somehow locked up cano?
    reyes, cano, jose , edwin, melky

  21. What happens if he isn’t worth $14 million? Do the Jays offer him $30/3 (for example), and allow him to entertain offers from elsewhere? It seems to me that offering him a qualifying offer could backfire because he could take it, laugh all the way to the bank, and the Jays will be stuck with an overpriced, mediocre pitcher.

  22. Great post, these kind of articles are the reason I keep coming back.

  23. Stoeten, why did you say pay no attention to situational stats?

    • Because they’re meaningless. The sample is small and noisy and there is no special skill when it comes to hitting in the clutch. Good hitters hit well, regardless of the situation, and over time that will be reflected in the numbers. Same thing for poor hitters. So you look at how good they are overall and don’t bother for a second with RISP junk.

      • Thanks. What I don’t get is why most of the teams the Jays are clumped with on offense remain in that group when you take situation into account, while the Jays fall to second from the bottom. I’m also finding it hard to disregard situational stats when it lines up so clearly with what I’m seeing (and my narrative, I admit) – mainly failure to make contact with a runner on 3rd and less than 2 outs…

        • How so? Looks to me like the Jays are slightly below league average overall, slightly better (compared to league average) with runners on/in scoring position, and slightly above league average with RISP and 2 outs. The only narrative that would seem to support is that they are comparatively clutch. Yeah, RISP is meaningless garbage.

  24. For God’s sake why couldn’t Selig have voided this trade when he had the chance? I think from now on , I’ll pretend the trade was Reyes for Marisnick. There, I feel better already.

  25. For God’s sake why couldn’t Selig have voided this trade when he had the chance? I think from now on , I’ll pretend the trade was Reyes for Marisnick. There, I feel better already.

  26. here’s a stat you forgot

    2012 road era 4.94, 5.90 ex mets

    vs +500 teams 4.43 eta

    he was never good against good teams which is what he’s facing the AL east

  27. I was able to go onto Brooks and download Josh’s stats for this season. I decided to focus on his pitching since the injury for 850 pitches.

    Men off:

    Pitch type / # / % / Balls in Play / Hits / %

    CH 26 / 5.2% / 3 / 1 / .333
    CU 68 / 13.1% / 6 / 2 / .333
    FF 255 / 48.9% / 47 / 15 / .319
    FT 72 / 13.8% / 22 / 4 / .182
    SL 99 / 19.0% / 10 / 5 / .500

    Men on:

    Pitch type / # / % / Balls in Play / Hits / %

    CH 17 / 5.2% / 6/ 3 / .500
    CU 34 / 10.3% / 6 / 2 / .333
    FF 141 / 42.8% / 34 / 15 / .441
    FT 44 / 13.3% / 6 / 3 / .500
    SL 93 / 28.3% / 15 / 8 / .533

    So, my limited conclusion is that Josh is throwing more sliders (and less fast balls and curves) and that hitters are laying off the sinkers (FT).

    Josh’s out pitch for balls in play is the sinker (4 for 22) which likely leads to more ground balls.

    So I would put some weight on pitch selection for Josh’s woes with men on base, but clearly the hitters may be picking up on the fastball which they are putting into play but not the sinker which they are letting go.

    • Nice work!

    • How’d you find it on Brooks?

    • Odd, I get different results:

      Bases empty: Josh Johnson throws his four-seamer 41.8 percent of the time. Opposing batters swing through it 26% of the time.

      Someone on base: Josh Johnson throws his four-seamer 51.3 percent of the time. Opposing batters swing at the exact same rate, but only miss it 17% of the time.

      Which leads me to think he’s got A.J. Burnett disease — when things get tough, he reverts to trying to throw his fastball past guys instead of locating because that has worked for him his entire life to this point. BABIP is either pure luck or you’re not pitching in the way that all major league pitchers pitch.

      • Errr…my bad, I just flipped the columns. So much for THAT narrative. So with runners on he throws more offspeed stuff like most pitchers. But his curveball miss % on his Curveball crashes from 67% to 30%. And his 2-seamer gets rocked. Don’t really see the smoking gun here — kinda feel like it’s more of a command/location than selection issue.

  28. so there’s no such thing as a bad 1 year deal right

    so 3/15 is worse than 1/15 right?

  29. Is any of the mess the pitchers are in down to how the games are called by the catchers? On paper we should have at least 2 and possibly 3 really good pitchers and so far all of them are shitting the bed on a regular basis. I have to consider the possibility that some–not all by any means–but some of this crap is down to pitcher/catcher communication and pitch selection.

    • Nah.

    • I think that’s possible, but almost impossible to analyze. One thing for sure is that Buehrle has halved how many cutters away he throws to RHP and doubled the number of inside cutters. I know JP thinks the inside changeup made Dirk Hayhurst’s career, so maybe he wants to bust guys in on the hands all the time when Mark is better at backdooring.

  30. Why the fuck can’t the Jays catch a break? Seriously, it’s like a cloud of bad luck is just hovering over this fucking team constantly. Whats that Blue Jays, you went out and made your team significantly better on paper… not so fast, hang out for a second while I take a big steamy dump on that for you and your fans.

    Josh Johnson IS a good pitcher, straight up, there’s NO excuse that can justify his shittiness this season as I believe he has the raw skill and talent to be able to pitch well regardless of the catcher, pitching coach, team behind him, run support etc, he SHOULD be able to pitch his way to wins or at least a better fucking era and set of numbers than he’s showing now. If he had pitched well, even with the Jays woes this year that would have net the franchise a really nice package of prospects like Garza just net the Cubs. Seeing that trade hurts a little knowing what could have been.

    Gose,,, I am sick of hearing his name, So many fans fucking name drop this guy like he is an A grade top 10 prospect but clearly no one is following his progress because otherwise they wouldnt still believe that Gose could be a center piece in a trade for another team’s star player. He is on his way to becoming Willy Tavares 2.0 which is what I said about him a long time ago. But what pisses me off most about him is that all he needs is to be able to slap hit himself to a 275-280 average to be able to be a real effective major league ball player. His fielding is great, his arm is stellar, his baserunning is insane but that bat…. that bat I tell yah.

    The only benefit here is that the Jays could retain Johnson for a pretty relaxed contract and HOPE that he turns it around next season. That to me is a pretty lame ass upside.

  31. You think he would take a 2 year 30m, or a 3yr 45m deal? Because all the noise before this year was that he was heading for a 100m+ contract.

  32. [...] of Josh Johnson, Drunk Jays Fans takes a sobering look (see what I did there) about what comes next for the struggling Blue Jays [...]

  33. [...] and his ineffectiveness out of the stretch, which is something Andrew Stoeten of Drunk Jays Fans recently wrote about — so for the purposes of this piece, I'll focus on the other areas. I will say, however, that [...]

  34. [...] Johnson’s peripherals for this year, they’re very much in line with season’s past, although this post from Andrew Stoeten shows that he’s been terrible pitching from the stretch. Even as he sits with just one win all [...]

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