Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Blue Jays Report Card - Part I: The Arms

Roy Halladay - An absolute delight to watch. Truly one of the best pitchers of his generation. Works fast, never gives an inch and always bounces back from a bad pitch, inning or game. People have been touting Cliff Lee as the probable AL Cy Young winner, but from here it looks like Doc should be preparing his second acceptance speech. Grade: A+

A.J. Burnett - Let's be honest, J.P. didn't need to announce last night that he was keeping Burnett. Doc had already made the decision for him with his All-Star game comments about possibly wanting out if the organization wasn't committed to winning. Unless the Jays found a way to get a ready-for-prime-time prospect back, one to either take A.J.'s spot in the rotation or play short stop, there was no way they could justify a deal. And that type of player was never going to be on the table. Either way, Burnett is gone next year and combined with McGowan's injury it's going to leave a huge void in the rotation.
Grade: B

Shaun Marcum - I love him as a third or fourth starter but not so much as a number two. And that's what he'll be in 2009 if we don't replace Burnett in the free agent pool. Or via trade. Back to Marcum: he racked up 11 quality starts in his first 13 appearances and somehow only came out with 5 wins. Well, we know how (worst...bats...ever) but the point is he's pitched much better than his record indicates. Grade: A-

Dustin McGowan - Never really got back into last summer's groove where he established himself as a true major league starter with considerable upside. With the injury history he has (Tommy John surgery in 2004) I just hope we haven't already seen his best.
Grade: C+

Jesse Litsch - Young "straight-peek" had a really incredible run followed by a mostly horrible one, but I was surprised to see him get sent down. He started to get hit hard and also struggled with his control but his ERA was still a reasonable 4.46. It's basically the first trouble he's had as a big leaguer, and at 23 years old, what did the team expect? When he debuted early last year it was obvious the Jays never intended to keep him around. He pitched for his big league life most of the season and still had to come into spring training this year and prove it wasn't a fluke. I don't think Riccardi believes in the kid. I do Jesse, I do. Grade: B

B.J. Ryan - Not sure I entirely trust him anymore. I still think B.J. is a quality closer and his performances have been solid after coming back from injury, but when he's on the mound at Yankee Stadium or Fenway I don't feel like it's lights out. That meltdown in Anaheim on June 1st (after a back-breaking loss the night before) and then his next appearance when Giambi crushed one in the bottom of the 9th (and started his awesome mustache) was the turning point of the season for Toronto. From 31-26 and 3 games out of first (and delusional fans dreaming of the playoffs - whoops) to yet another hollow September. It's not all your fault B.J., but the most damage was done on your watch. Grade: B+

Scott Downs - He's been fantastic. Again. Only three poor showings in 44 appearances. Incredible. And two of those were way back in April. Grade: A+

Jesse Carlson - Emerged out of nowhere (7 years in the minors with 4 different organizations) to become a valuable lefty. You have to wonder if it makes sense to keep both him and Downs, because it seems a bit redundant. Maybe it's time to cash in and move Downs. Grade: A

Brian Tallet - And when you have another good lefty who can step in and give you more than an inning if needed or be a situational guy, wouldn't it make sense to to bolster another position? When you factor in Accardo returning, is there really a need to continue with 4 lefthanders? Grade: B

Shawn Camp - Been getting a lot of work since the All-Star game and has responded very well. At 33 and coming off a disastrous year in Tampa and a mostly forgettable five year career, getting anything out of Camp has to be considered a bonus. Grade: B+

Jason Frasor - Gotta love Cito giving Frasor his umpteenth chance to prove he should be more than a mop up man, showing everyone on the roster that he wiped the slate clean. However, on this one Gaston could've asked around and quickly found out the guy should be stapled to the bench in any key situation. Grade: C-

Brandon League - Speaking of umpteenth chances, ladies and gentlemen, the flame-throwing, rock-star coiffed, tattoo covered Brandon League! He's a big-time prospect with electric stuff who can't find the strike zone under any kind of pressure. But he can throw 98! Grade: C-


  1. Well, I do love the stat that Halladay has more complete games than all but a few major league TEAMS.

    He needs at least 6 more wins, however.

  2. You need to give Brandon League a little more credit than a C -. He's thrown faster than 98 (by the way), he's got strike outs on countless top players in the league, and yes: he does know how to find the strike zone. He's not the best in the but he's still young, talented, and above average.