Posts Tagged 'dustin mcgowan 2012'

Brett Cecil Demotion Highlites Blue Jays Questionable Starting Rotation

If there was an area a team needed improvement the most to potentially contend in the 2012 MLB season I would think the Toronto Blue Jays rotation would rank near the top of the short list.  With Jays nation abuzz with energy and excitement seeing the young team play with confidence in spring training one can’t help but think how far this team could go if they had added a starting pitcher or two to solidify the rotation.

With the news today that Brett Cecil has been option to AA and in his place oft-forgotten prospect Joel Carreno called up to take his place a giant spotlight has been shined on a glaring weakness.  Ricky Romero is a fine starting pitcher, and while he is not flashy, he is a real grinder.  He has the true talent of a number two but the dogged determination of an ace.

After that, while there is some definite upside, all bets are off.

*Speaking of bets, ranks the Toronto Blue Jays as the 8th most likely team to win the World Series in 2012, just behind the Tampa Bay Rays. 

Over/under set at 81.5

We have discussed Brandon Morrow in detail but to summarize he is an electric talent but riddled with question marks.  Is he simply the AL version of Ricky Nolasco?  A pitcher with fantastic peripherals and average results or can he put it all together in 2012?  The fact even our number two pitcher in the rotation has such question marks shows how fragile the group is.

Brett Cecil was slated to be our number three pitcher, he of the ZIPS projected 5.00+ ERA, 6.50+ spring ERA and current ticket holder of a bus to AA Dunedin.  I had very little confidence in Cecil heading into spring training, less now obviously.  His velocity was down, confidence seemingly back but result not matching the renewed efforts.

His replacement is an interesting guy in Joel Carreno, a seldom discussed prospect who has looked good in stretches for both the Jays in 2011 and as a starting pitcher in the minors.  He was lights out in the pen last season in the majors (15.2 IPs, 1.15 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 3.5 K/BB) and has an intriguing combination of pitches.  But still, he is a crapshoot at best, especially slotted (for now) as a number three starting pitcher in the AL East.

Henderson Alvarez is another guy with underwhelming statistics (strikeout numbers) but a pitcher I do actually like and have confidence in going forward.  He attacks the zone with a solid fastball and can keep it on the ground and hopefully out of the ballpark.  Again, he seems solid but to count on him for 200+ quality innings seems like a reach.

Finally how could you mention Jays starters and questionable without discussing Kyle Drabek, the teams number one (or two) rated prospect from a season ago.  After his sizzling debut versus the Seattle Mariners Jays fans were ready to forget about old’ Roy (ok, not even remotely true) but his season quickly came crashing into AL east reality. 

In short, he stunk.  He stunk badly.  However as bad as he was (did I mention he was bad?) Drabek is still a young guy with a big fastball and a competitive spirit.  I wouldn’t expect an ERA below 4.00 but if he can give the team 160-175 innings with a 4.50 ERA and 1.35 WHIP that would be a welcome addition as a number four/five starter.

Dustin McGowan will begin the season on the disabled list and given his long injury history is another long shot candidate to add any tangible value.

Much of what I have written should come as no surprise and Alex Anthopoulos is no fool.  He knew coming into the offseason the serious question marks surrounding the team’s starting pitching and if you believe the rumours he was interested in acquiring at least one or two of Gio Gonzalez, Mat Latos, Yu Darvish, Matt Garza, Edwin Jackson and Roy Oswalt.

While I still don’t think 2012 is our season (though stranger things have happened) I am excited for the day when our robust offensive attack is matched by an equally impressive young starting pitching crew.  Five above average starters are needed to compete in the ruthless AL East against the three terror squads located in New York, Boston and Tampa Bay.

Blue Jays Extend Dustin McGowan

The team announced the deal, which will pay McGowan $1.5MM per season in 2013 and 2014 and includes a $4MM club option for 2015 (with a $500K buyout).

Dustin McGowan, who arrived at Spring Training without a guaranteed spot in the Blue Jays’ rotation, now has job security for at least two years. The oft-injured right-hander has agreed to terms with the Blue Jays on a two-year contract extension with an option.

McGowan is currently dealing with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

“I went out, and in that second inning, I couldn’t push off of it,” McGowan said. “It was almost like picking my foot up and throwing, and I thought, ‘All right — I might as well stop right here before I do something to my arm.’

“I’m smart enough to know it’s going to change if I can’t push off, [because] I’m going to have to change everything in my delivery.”

Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the connective tissue that begins at the heel of the foot and extends toward the sole. It can be very painful and sometimes becomes a nagging problem that is difficult to treat.

Analysis: The twitter verse blew up with varied opinions, some strongly opposed.  My take is this is much ado about nothing at that minimal salary.  Let’s see if McGowan can regain past form and give the Jays a steady backend rotation option for the next two seasons.

Pretty sure he can put up the 0.8 WAR needed over the life of this contract to make it worthwhile for the Jays.

Fangraphs Ranks Blue Jays Rotation #19

Fangraphs continues its positional power rankings with the big one, the starting rotation.

This series was a lot of work, but it was also fun to go through each organization and look at some of the interesting projections that ZIPS has spit out for various starters. The projections listed below are a combination of rate stats projected by Dan Szymborski’s system combined with my estimation of innings pitched and then a calculation of WAR based on the combination of my quantity estimate and Dan’s projection of quality. These aren’t intended to be exact projections, which is why we’ve rounded to the nearest half win, but I think they’re probably going to fair pretty decently – I did do my best to ensure that the total IP and WAR projections lined up very closely with league totals from last year, and I tried to figure out the seven or eight most likely starters for each franchise – the depth chart information isn’t always crystal clear for every team, so I had to make some guesses, but I think the selections are reasonable in most cases.

Player TM IP BB/9 K/9 HR/9 WAR
Ricky Romero TOR 210.0 3.4 7.3 1.0 3.5
Brandon Morrow TOR 170.0 3.8 9.6 1.0 3.5
Henderson Alvarez TOR 150.0 1.8 5.2 1.2 2.0
Brett Cecil TOR 150.0 3.1 6.3 1.5 1.0
Kyle Drabek TOR 100.0 5.3 5.4 1.3 (0.5)
Carlos Villanueva TOR 75.0 3.1 6.8 1.2 1.0
Jesse Litsch TOR 50.0 3.0 6.2 1.4 0.5
Dustin McGowan TOR 50.0 4.2 6.7 1.2 0.5

With Romero, Morrow, and Alvarez, ZIPS sees the makings of a strong rotation going forward, but the lack of quality at the back-end looks to be a real problem this year. That said, there is some talent there, and it’s not completely out of the question that a guy like Drabek could find the form that made him a real prospect a few years ago. If the Blue Jays want to contend for the second wild card, though, they’d do well to get a solid veteran who would raise the floor of what they could expect from their #5 starter, and keep an implosion from the young kids from ruining their season.

The Jays ranked #19 on the list, ahead of only the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East. 

The top five rotations were 5) Cleveland Indians, 4) Detroit Tigers, 3) Tampa Bay Rays, 2) Philadelphia Phillies and 1) Los Angeles Angels.

Rounding out the AL East the Boston Red Sox ranked #12 and New York Yankees #7.

That wrapped up a very interesting series.

Dustin McGowan Is Out Of Options

A quick blurb from Ben Nicholson-Smith at MLB Trade Rumours as he discussed players on the Blue Jays that are out of options and will have to clear waivers if they are going to be sent to the minor leagues. 

 Rajai Davis, Luis Perez, Sergio Santos and Luis Valbuena. Jeff Mathis and Dustin McGowan have five-plus years of service and are out of options.

Analysis: Most of these players will either be almost guaranteed a spot on the opening day roster (Davis, Santos, Mathis) or the Jays will not be afraid to expose to other teams (Perez and Valbuena).

However, Dustin McGowan would make an interesting gamble by a team looking for a talented, yet troubled right arm.  McGowan actually made some progress and pitched a few innings for the Jays in 2011 and is a wildcard rotation contender.  I am sure the Jays would not want to lose him and potentially see him blossom elsewhere, like Chris Carpenter.

In other Blue Jays news the team announced they’ve designated outfielder Darin Mastroianni for assignment to open a 40-man roster spot for reliever Francisco Cordero, who recently signed a 1-year, $4.5 million dollar deal.

A former top 25 prospect for the Jays, Mastroianni, 26, hit .268/.353/.377 in 562 plate appearance last year across Double and Triple-A, making his big league debut for one game in August.  Mastroianni mostly played center and left field in the minors

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