Blue Jay Way
June 17, 2006
I'm not a big fan of schadenfreude but I must admit I have felt some
satisfaction in watching Casey Janssens's last couple of outings.
I don't want to see him fail. It's just from what I've seen,
there really wasn't any reason to expect him to succeed. Or at
least to continue pitching as well as he had in April and May. I
could have sworn that I wrote about him shortly after he was called
up. Then again, I
thought I had written about the how deceptive minor league numbers can
be. As it turns out, I had
written about that topic just
a month ago but simply couldn't find
it. Thanks to those of you who suggested I must ne losing my
mind... you might be right.
Anyway, I thought I had written about a month ago that I didn't think
Janssen would be long for the Blue Jay rotation because he didn't fool
hitters with his stuff. More precisely, that hitters didn't swing
and miss. He got strikes primarily by getting fouls and
calls. That works in the short term, but eventually hitters will
get his timing and start hitting him... hard. Just looking at his
last two outings, against the Orioles and Marlins of all teams, that
appears to be happening now. Put another way, he's given up at
least 4 earned runs in five of eleven starts. Take out his two
starts against the Angels, which came fairly early in his major league
tenure, and his ERA is 6.24 and WHIP is 1.567. How's his style
gonna play against the division rival Yankees and Red Sox against whom
he's yet to face? My guess is not well. Sure, his K/BB rate
is nice, but so was Josh Towers and we see how well that has turned
out. Casey Janssen's time in the Blue Jay rotation will be coming
to a close very soon.
Niether Towers or Ty Taubenheim will be taking his spot
either. AJ Burnett's return will take one of the spots not
currently occupied by Roy Halladay or Ted Lilly. By the way,
anyone noticing that Lilly has 20 Ks over his last two outings?
He still has the problem with home runs, so his ERA will remain higher
than expected, but he's looking more confident recently. I'm not
comfortable recommending him for the second half yet because of the
homer problem, but if he can start keeping the ball in the park
particularly at home, he will be a fantastic stretch run buy.
If Gustavo Chacin arm troubles turn out to be serious, the guy I think
will end up with the rotation spot is Dustin McGowan. He pitched
out of the bullpen for the first part of the season before getting sent
down to stretch him out for starting and refine his command.
Since being sent down, he's
evolved into the kind of starter the Jays hoped he would become.
His first start in Triple-A Syracuse was cut short by a long rain delay
and he had one poor start shortly after. But three of his last
four have been borderline brilliant, punctuated by his last outing in
which he went six innings, allowed four hits (all singles) no runs, one
walk and nine strikeouts. All totalled, he's pitched 28 innings
with a 3.21 ERA, 1.3214 WHIP with 31 strikeouts against just 12 walks
since his demotion. Most importantly, he's taken significant
steps to reign in his home run rate. I imagine the Jays will give
Janssen and Taubenheim one or two more chances to prove they
belong. By then McGowan will probably be ready for his major
league audition as a starter.
Early on this season I thought Francisco Rosario would probably be the
one to get a shot in the rotation. And after a fairly strong
start, that looked like a pretty decent guess. But since giving
up a home run to Jamey Carroll in Colorado (May 19), he has had only
one outing in which he's not given up a run and struck out more than
he's walked. In ten outings, that's not good. I expect
he'll be sent back down fairly soon unless he turns things around very