Today in not-terribly-surprising news– especially if you’ve listened to the podcast we just recorded, which… since I haven’t posted it yet, you haven’t– the Jays have shut Edwin Encarnacion down for the season.
Don’t believe me? Barry Davis of the Rogers-owned Rogers Sportsnet has the scoop on the tidbit from the Rogers owned Blue Jays from down at Rogers Centre.
Edwin Encarnacion has been shut down for season. Has been placed on the DL. #bluejays
As Drew noted on the aforementioned podcast that you haven’t heard, Edwin has been walking around looking like he’s in a little bit of agony lately, so… that’s not shocking. What is maybe a little bit shocking, though, was the tweet that followed from the Jays’ official Twitter account:
It’s really surprising how much the Jays could be making off of player t-shirts, but maybe it’s a good thing that they are left in the fans’ hands, because some of these are gold. Ever since the debut of TWIJM a couple weeks ago, y’all have been sending us links a ton of shirts. It also helps that the Blue Jays subreddit is a goldmine for these types of things (amongst actual good baseball discussion). Here are the ones that myself, Stoeten and Zubes have found to be the best. As usual, if you see any cool Jays merch, send it to me on Twitter.
JAYS WIN! shirt: My favorite so far. This is from the same guy who made the Kawasaki shirts. Also good that he left out the face of the 3rd outfielder, because that carousel wouldn’t make for a consistent shirt.
I’m certainly not suggesting that Brett Cecil is on the path towards developing a wipeout splitter, but in a strange twist, the former high-bonus 38th overall pick is following the career path of his new teammate: eight-year minor league veteran turned metal-elbowed Major League success, Steve Delabar.
Ken Fidlin of the Toronto Sun does some outstanding work in presenting the story, which explains that this off-season Cecil has been working with trainer James Evans, who developed the program that reinvigorated Delabar’s career, following what might have been a career-ending injury in 2009, largely by adding a few ticks to his fastball.
When the Jays announced it was Brett Cecil coming up to make Brandon Morrow’s start on Sunday, I wrote that a new perspective on sequencing, gleaned from the teachings of Sal Fasano, suggested Brett Cecil was well on his way to becoming a slop-tossing junkballer. Unable to count on his fastball due to declining velocity and command, he would flip breaking balls and changeups in at an uncommon rate out of desperation.
The Brett Cecil we saw Sunday afternoon was not quite that, I am somewhat relieved to report. Both Cecil and manager John Farrell mentioned his fastball command a key after the fact. The fastball was indeed the pitch Cecil relied on most en route to five innings of five strikeout, one walk, two run ball. A win and everything!
So Brett Cecil, after what can only be considered a successful run in the minor leagues, is back in bigs. Cecil made 10 starts between New Hampshire and Vegas, striking out 40 with only 14 walks in 49.1 innings. Only two home runs surrendered, which can only be a positive thing, right?
More than any other pitcher, fans and experts alike exhort Brett Cecil to ‘get the ball down’ in the zone. Usually it’s empty banter, something people say when they can’t think of something better. But for a pitcher like Cecil — he of the vanishing velocity — it seems a legitimate concern.
Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star wrote about Cecil this week, travelling to Vegas to speak with the Jays lefty. While his velocity remains in the upper 80s, Cecil seems to have worked on his sequencing during his time in New Hamsphire, working closely with current Fisher Cats manager Sal Fasano.
Fasano, a former catcher, worked with Cecil on his pitch selection strategy coming up with different ways to attack both left-handed and right-handed batters. Cecil said he had never thought about those kinds of strategies before and he’s seen a marked improvement in his pitching.
Kennedy also notes Cecil adjusted his delivery to create more deception, which tells us all we need to know about Brett Cecil at this stage of his career.
Cecil is now a full-blown junkballer, throwing soft trash up in any count. Pitching backwards and just doing what he must to keep hitters off-balance. Not a bad way to make a living except the margins for error are razor thin. A start against the Phillies on Sunday isn’t the worst re-introduction to the bigs. They are hardly an offensive juggernaut and might provide a soft landing spot for Cecil.
As for Drabek…I guess wait and see? It will be interesting to determine when he was actually hurt. Was Wednesday the first time or the worst time? Has he been battling this for weeks? While you never want to see anyone hurt, at least an injury might help explain away his awful run on the mound for the last six weeks or so.
Parkes always rolls his eyes at me when I link to the New Hampshire Union-Leader’s Kevin Gray, or his Gray Matter blog, because of, y’know, the whole Yu Darvish nonsense thing. But… whatever. Interesting content is interesting content, and the other day Gray posted a 12 minute clip of a recent conversation with demoted supposed-number-three-starter Brett Cecil– with some of catcher Brian Jeroloman’s insight tossed in for good measure.
“Cecil, who starts Thursday at New Britain, topped out at 87-mph in his most recent start for the Fisher Cats. (That’s an improvement of a few mph.),” Gray tells us. Wait… really???