The Toronto Blue Jays are in need of bullpen arms. Or are they? Jays From the Couch think relief pitcher Matt Dermody should receive strong consideration
I posted “Developing Relief Pitchers Key to Blue Jays Success” back on August 19th. I still stand by it. In order for the Toronto Blue Jays to be a successful team, they will need to develop their bullpen rather than sign a bunch of free-agents.
This off-season has seen the market value of relief pitching continue to rise. So far we’ve seen ex-Blue Jays Brett Cecil (4yrs/$30.5M) and Joaquin Benoit (1yr/$7.5M) plucked from Toronto’s roster. Ex-Blue Jays Marc Rzepczynski (2yrs/$11M) and Jesse Chavez (1yr/$5.75M) have also landed some dough in this new landscape.
The Blue Jays have a hand full of cheap bullpen arms with and without Major League experience. Many of these bullpen arms have multiple years of team control and minor league options, this provides the front office with some flexibility.
We’ve already looked at Ryan Tepera (link), Danny Barnes (link), Bo Schultz (link). In the attached polls, 79% of those who voted felt that Ryan Tepera would solidify himself in the Blue Jays bullpen this year, where as, 86% felt Schultz would do the same.
Let’s take at look at the next potential internal bullpen candidate: Matt Dermody.
Matt Dermody made his Major League debut on September 3rd, 2016 against the Tampa Bay Rays. Dermody pitched two thirds of an inning, allowing a single and a Logan Morrison double, while striking out one.
The left-handed Dermody is a rarity, being drafted 4 times. Being drafted in 2009 (Pirates), 2011 (Rockies), 2012 (Diamondbacks), and finally Blue Jays (2013).
As a member of the 2016 Dunedin Blue Jays, New Hampshire Fisher Cats and Buffalo Bisons, Dermody was a perfect 3-for-3 in save opportunities, all with the D-Jays. Over three minor league levels Dermody amassed a record of 3 and 1 with a 1.82 ERA, walking 8 and striking out 47 over 54.1 innings.
He pitched 3 major league innings over 5 appearances, finishing with a 12.00 ERA, no walks and 5 K’s. Matt Dermody was unable to register an out in his final 2 appearances, allowing a hit to the only batters he faced. He allowed a home run to the final batter he faced in 2016.
Bread and Butter
According to Brooks baseball (link) Matt Dermody relies on a 85 mph slider, 92 mph 4-seam fastball and a 92 mph sinker, with the odd 82 mph change.
In 2016, Dermody threw his slider 40.43 % of the time and his four-seam fastball 37.23% of the time, with his sinker and change making up the other 22%. He relied heavily on his slider when ahead in all counts, but abandoned it when behind with 3 balls. Choosing to rely on his fastball instead.
His fastball and change runs in on right handed batters, with solid sink. According to Fangraphs (link) his slider has very light horizontal (-0.5) or vertical (2.7) movement, resulting in a movement score of 3.1. His fastball (11.8) and change (13.8) received much better movement scores.
The 6’5″ lefty was hit hard 50% of the time, while only inducing soft contact 20% and medium contact 30%.
I decided to look at his MiLB split, rather than focus on his MLB service time, as the latter represents too small a sample size. Dermody held LHB to .292 batting average while posting a .424 BABIP. He held RHB to a .261 batting average while posting a .298 BABIP. Clearly some luck was at play for (or should we say, against) Dermody in 2016.
Strike Zone Command
According to Fangraphs, Dermody has the best command of his slider, throwing it 25 times, 22 for strikes and 3 for balls. While his fastball command was 50/50, but produced 80% groundballs and just 20% line drive contact; however, it produced just 6.3% swing and miss and contact was made on 81.8 % of the time. His slider generated swings 72% of the time, with 44% swing and miss and only 38.9 contact%.
The 26-yr-old LHP won’t be arbitration eligible until 2020 and won’t see his first Free-Agent years until 2023 off-season. This provides the Blue Jays with 2 cost controlled years, followed by another 3 seasons where they can retain his services without needing to overpay.
Despite a small sample size, during a pennant race, at the end of the season that saw him throw the lowest amount of innings since his rookie season in 2013, the LHP looks like he could use some more time in the minors. The 28th round pick has minor league options; therefore, will likely to start the year as a member of the Buffalo Bisons bullpen. However, with LHP Brett Cecil off to St. Louis and Aaron Loup struggling the past two years, it’s possible he grabs the LOOGY role with a good spring.
*Featured Photo Mandatory Credit: Kris Robinson UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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