Archive for the ‘Kyle Drabek’ Category

Well that is certainly a relief, even more question marks? Amidst the Nats battering Kyle Drabek around the yard for the better part of 4+ innings, the Jays young right hander (who now has walked 47 and struck out 47 batters on the year) stomped off the mound during a fifth-inning at bat against Mike Morse.

Trainer George Poulis and manager John Farrell rushed to the mound to examine Drabek, with Farrell placing a fatherly (presidential?) hand on Drabek’s right shoulder. After the game, the assembled press horde learned of a “popping” sound in Drabek’s right elbow. Yikes. Tests are scheduled for later in the day.

Though Drabek claimed to not be in pain/felt different pain than prior to his Tommy John procedure in 2007, the only thing more worrisome than Drabek’s health is his actual performance. As stated above, he got roughed up by Washington in a big way, feeling the full power of their Natitude.

Nine of the 21 hitters he faced reached base, with one home run and a series of loud line drives punctuating the screams of the approximately ninety-thousand school children in attendance today. Fooling nobody, a wise man tweeted.

If he’s hurt, it might serve to only prolong the inevitable. Though he looked like a candidate for right-arm shittiness diagnosis, what good is giving him time to think about what he’s done? Similarly, sending him to Vegas or to the pen accomplishes little at this point. Is giving Kyle Drabek all the rope he needs to prove he either can or cannot hack it a bad thing?

Some will suggest he’s already proven that he, in fact, cannot hack anything. Too many walks and too many line drives to compete as a big leaguer. The stuff is nice but when has he missed bats or posted noteworthy results above the high-A level?

As we await the results from whatever tests, it is safe to say that whatever “fixed” Kyle Drabek early in the season has been undone. Since his great start against the Rangers on April 30th, Drabek hasn’t walked fewer than three batters in a start, recording more Ks than walks only twice in seven starts (and they were both 5K/4BB outings.) Might a career in middle relief be in the offing? Wade Davis wants to have a chat, Kyle.

Take a Bow, Kyle Drabek

In the run-up to last night’s game against the Rangers, I repeatedly expressed reservations about Kyle Drabek’s chances against the formidable Texas lineup. Even without Josh Hamilton, the Rangers are, one through nine, the best team in baseball.

Kyle Drabek has been a bright spot for the Blue Jays in 2012 in that he has not sucked awfully. He looks better which, considering how spectacularly bad he was in 2011 and how down on him most fans and writers seemed to be, is a small victory. That said, he didn’t seem nearly as “good” as we were repeatedly told.

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Gregor Chisholm lays the following tweet on us:

Not exactly surprising news, but actually… potentially great news.

No, not because of any sort of newfound ill will towards McGowan and his contract, or his guaranteed rotation spot when healthy, but because it potentially extends the battle for the Jays’ last spot between Brett Cecil and Kyle Drabek.

I don’t think Drabek looked quite as good yesterday against the Yankees as some of the reports on him suggested– getting bailed out of one inning on a great throw to the plate from Colby Rasmus, and having Andruw Jones hit him hard, but foul, in the fourth, after a hard A-Rod double and a walk to Ibanez– but he looked plenty OK. And while I’m well aware that velocity isn’t everything, and that I’m basing this view on scant looks and whatever information has come out of camp, I’d bet on Drabek having better success right now in the big leagues than Brett Cecil.

I don’t know that the Jays will be willing to make the switch by the time McGowan gets back, but anything Drabek can do to show that he’s progressing beyond last year’s disasterfuck is probably a good thing, in terms of letting the club feel confident in pulling the plug on Cecil once he starts repeatedly getting his ass handed to him.

Speaking of, Cecil pitches today, but it’s in a minor league game, in order to hide him from the OriLOLes [note: really?], who he’s scheduled to face early in the season. Ryan Tepera, who is apparently a real thing, gets the start for the Jays Major Leaguers, with eight of the club’s nine Opening Day hitters in the lineup against Baltimore’s Dana Eveland.

After yesterday’s heavy dose of realism, Jays fans demanded that Keith Law, the obliterator of all their little hopes and dreams, come forth and defend his absurd views on Dustin McGowan!

Or… probably it was just his contract with TSN Radio. Or maybe they just asked.

Either way, KLaw hit the airwaves– the free, public airwaves that I can quote anything from with a clear conscience, I should add– this afternoon and elaborated on what he saw yesterday when he took in the epic Grapefruit League tilt between the Jays and the Astros in Kissimmee.

And, actually, he skipped a lot of the stuff about McGowan. Or… probably I just tuned in a little too late to catch it.

What I did hear was pretty seriously awesome, especially where two the players I’d like to see the Jays not dick around are concerned: Kyle Drabek and Travis Snider.

He also talked Anthony Gose, Travis d’Arnaud, about the back of the rotation in general, and followed up his piece from yesterday with some activity in the comments.

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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.

Far be it from me to actually give too much of a shit about the ins and outs of every spring training game– especially those with three weeks still to go until Opening Day– but with both Dustin McGowan and Kyle Drabek pitching today, at the very least their performances warrant some scrutiny. Y’know, as much as anybody’s performance does at this point in the spring. Or in a game against the damn hopeless Astros.

ESPN’s Keith Law was at the game and tweeted out some stray observations, including an assertion that McGowan, who pitched first, looked “very ordinary so far.”

That, however, was early on, and by the end of the outing, McGowan had come around.

The Fan’s Mike Wilner echoed the sentiment that McGowan improved as his day went on. “He looked very good after the first inning,” he tweeted, “not so great in the first.” On the day McGowan went three innings, giving up one hit, an unearned run, walking one and striking out three, which on the whole is pretty successful. However, he threw 46 pitches, 27 for strikes, according to Wilner. That rate is close to the percentage of strikes he threw in his 21 innings in the Majors last year, which I think we can agree simply isn’t going to cut it– however, we’re talking about such small sample sizes here that just an extra strike or two one way or the other changes the way the rate looks pretty significantly. Still, it’s hardly doom and gloom, and any day that McGowan finishes where he’s still healthy remains, at this point, a pretty damn good day.

Not only that, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star points out that McGowan threw a bullpen session between today’s start and his previous one, the first time he’s been able to do so since since 2008.

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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.”