Toronto Blue Jays pitching coach, Pete Walker, listed internal lefty relief options, which does not provide much in the way of relief to fans
For a while now, we’ve been trying to figure out exactly who would fill out the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen, specifically in the lefty role. And, the current answer may not exactly give you a sense of relief (see what I did, there?). Pitching coach, Pete Walker, told Scott MacArthur his thoughts:
— Scott MacArthur (@ScottyMacThinks) January 30, 2017
Those are some interesting names to consider. Tim Mayza is a 25 yr old who made it as high as AA New Hampshire in 2016. After having success in Dunedin to start the season, he saw his numbers inflate with the promotion. Where he walked 15 batters in his 48 innings in Dunedin, he walked as many in 15 AA innings. That’s a walk rate of 20%. His WHIP jumped all the way to nearly 1.7. He’s mainly a 2 pitch hurler, with a fastball slider combo. It seems as though the organization is keen on using him as a reliever moving forward, but considering him as a bullpen option right now seems a bit premature.
Matt Dermody is a name that really won’t surprise many folks. He threw 3 innings for the big league club in 2016 and did not walk anyone, which is encouraging, especially out of the bullpen. His success started in A+ last year and he carried it all the way up to AAA with him. In fact, his strikeout to walk ration was very lopsided in the way you want it to be and it wasn’t until AAA that those evened out.
Of course, he only spent 16.1 innings in Buffalo, so we shouldn’t be too worried about an even K/BB rate. Though, batters did hit .314 against him. The FB, SL, CH combo are in line with a guy out of the bullpen, though they are not radar exploding offerings. In the brief MLB time he did see last season, 8 lefty batters hit .571 with an OBP of .625, which doesn’t mean a whole lot, but certainly is not encouraging. Luckily for him, big league coaches, etc know better than to put too much stock in that stint.
Brett Oberholtzer is a very interesting option as a lefty reliever. It would appear that his starting days are behind him, given that he only started 2 games in 2016 and has seen his number of starts decrease over the last few. His FB velocity is at about 89mph, which is not super exciting, but it is about where it has been his whole career. For that career, lefties are hitting him to a tune of .290/.322/.464, which is not encouraging. That is not to say that he- or any of the other options listed- will be only called upon to deal with lefties, but it is certainly going to play into the decision making this spring.
There will be a lot of decisions to make in the next few weeks for the Blue Jays. At the forefront of this bullpen discussion is the decision to try and add more arms to the equation. The above lefties, and Aaron Loup (who is a known commodity), represent somewhat shaky certainty. That is not to say that dipping into free agency to bring in an arm like Jerry Blevins or Boone Logan will provide any more certainty. We should also note that younger internal options exist in the form of guys like Ryan Borucki. In all likelihood, the real answer to the Blue Jays bullpen question won’t reveal itself for quite a while. And, when it does, it may not be a permanent answer. We very well could see a revolving door, so to speak.
IF the Toronto Blue Jays are looking internally for lefty relief options, they have some. There are options available to them, as Pete Walker says. The question remains just how much confidence these options provide.
*Featured Image Credit: kdemerly UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.