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Sportsnet's Shi Davidi reports the Blue Jays have demoted Kyle Drabek to AAA Las Vegas.  Getting the call to the bigs is fellow righty Zach Stewart from AA New Hampshire.  A tip of the cap to Bauxite smcs for the heads up.  The linked story from above also features audio from general manager Alex Anthopoulos about Drabek's demotion.

Zach Stewart and Kyle Drabek.  Photos courtesy of Zimbio.

This news is surprising considering Jays manager John Farrell said Drabek was not going to be demoted before his start against Boston Sunday.
"There has been no discussion of sending Kyle to triple-A or to suggest that what he's dealing with in his own maturity right now was leading to that. That needs to be squelched right now."
Drabek went 4-5 this season with a 5.70 earned run average for Toronto.  The Jays #1 prospect entering the season after three starts last September, Drabek began 2011 by earning his first major league victory by pitching a one-hitter and allowing just one run over seven innings against the Twins at the Dome April 2.  His ERA was 1.29 at that point but it has gone up, thanks to a high walk rate in which his K-BB total was 48-52 in 72 2/3 innings.  His ERA was 15.30 in his last three starts, winning only once.

Stewart is the last hope that the Jays do not come up totally empty-handed in the Scott Rolen deal.  A third-round pick out of Texas Tech in 2008, Stewart was traded to Toronto at the 2009 major league trade deadline for Rolen along with infielder Edwin Encarnacion and since departed right-handed reliever Josh Roenicke.  The 24 year-old from Wichita Falls, Texas began his pro career as a reliever in 2008 by splitting time in A-ball at Dayton and Sarasota, where he posted a combined 1-4 record but with a 1.09 ERA, striking out 36 batters in 33 innings.

In 2009, Stewart climbed another two rungs up the minor league ladder as he spent time in A, AA and AAA with Sarasota, Carolina and Louisville in the Reds system and Las Vegas in the Jays system after being traded.  He was strictly a starter at Sarasota and Carolina but was sent to the pen in Louisville and Las Vegas.   His composite totals for 20090 were a 4-1 record, a 1.89 ERA and 93 Ks in 105 innings.  As a result, Stewart was named the Jays top prospect according to Baseball America before the Roy Halladay-Kyle Drabek deal was completed. 

The 2010 season saw Stewart take a step back to New Hampshire where he won 8 of 11 decisions and posted a 3.63 ERA and whiffed 106 batters in 136 1/3 innings.  He was rated the Jays #5 prospect by Baseball America for 2010.  Stewart battled for a spot in the starting rotation during spring training but he did not make the cut as he was assigned to New Hampshire to begin 2011.  Stewart had a slow start to the season but has bounced back by going 1-0 with a 2.37 ERA in his last three starts.  Overall, he was 4-3 with a 4.39 ERA with the Fisher Cats.  In a scouting report from, his fastball averages between 90-96 miles per hour and he also throws a slider and a changeup. 

Jays pitching coach Bruce Walton had this to say about Stewart.
"He has such a quick arm.  It's explosive -- the way he can sink and slide the ball."
Stewart may get to face his former team, the Cincinnati Reds, when the Jays begin interleague play this weekend.  It's believed Stewart will take Drabek's scheduled start when the Jays visit the Reds Saturday night at the Great American Ballpark.

Stewart Gets The Call, Drabek Takes The Fall! | 17 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Gerry - Tuesday, June 14 2011 @ 04:01 PM EDT (#236762) #
I am surprised that Stewart is the one getting the call.  I would have thought Cecil or Mills would rank ahead of him.  But Stewart did need to pitch in the big leagues this season so the club could understand what they have in him.
Kelekin - Tuesday, June 14 2011 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#236764) #
I expect to see six or seven more players have options burned by the end of the year. ;)
lexomatic - Tuesday, June 14 2011 @ 04:24 PM EDT (#236765) #
Like others have expressed, I'm surprised. If he doesn't stick, this is not a good move.

Also according to
"When he works in the bullpen between starts, all is well, he said. When the spotlight goes on, it all goes south. He said he simply cannot explain it."

Someone (Drabek) needs a sports psychologist. His problems are in his head obviously, and I guess the repeated failure has gotten to him. Hopefully he works it out, and comes up a better pitcher. His stuff is filthy, but that's never been enough for anyone.

krose - Tuesday, June 14 2011 @ 04:33 PM EDT (#236768) #

For those who might be interested in Richard Griffin's take.

Gerry - Tuesday, June 14 2011 @ 04:41 PM EDT (#236769) #
I mentioned earlier in the week that I saw Bruce Walton on TV talking with Drabek in the dugout after he had been lifted from his last start.  It looked to me that Walton was lecturing, as opposed to nurturing, Drabek.  I thought that Walton had become tired of either Drabek's actions or his attitude.
krose - Tuesday, June 14 2011 @ 05:08 PM EDT (#236770) #
I saw that interaction as well Gerry. Kyle's reaction reminded me of a typical young man who is not yet ready to take responsibility for results. Shows how uneven personal development can be. Unusually high skill development as a 23 year old pitcher, but somewhat normal emotional development when faced with failure.
smcs - Tuesday, June 14 2011 @ 05:12 PM EDT (#236771) #
Stewart starts Thursday afternoon. Reyes and Morrow (I think) get bumped back a day.
brent - Tuesday, June 14 2011 @ 05:16 PM EDT (#236772) #

I am glad stewart is up. I want to see these players given a chance to play this year.

krose - Tuesday, June 14 2011 @ 05:24 PM EDT (#236773) #
Giving Stewart a call up at this point in the year will provide the team with another high potential pitcher who has had some experience at the MLB level. That experience is another step in Stewart's development for next year. Romero, Morrow, Cecil, Drabek, Stewart, McGowan, Litsch, Reyes, Villaneuva, and Mills all become major league possibilities, who have MLB experience, for next year.

92-93 - Tuesday, June 14 2011 @ 05:42 PM EDT (#236776) #
2009 : 105.0 innings
2010 : 136.1 innings
2011 : 69.2 innings

So what's Stewart's best case scenario? 13 starts takes us to the beginning of September.

13 x 6 innings per start = 78 innings. Add that to the 70 he's already thrown and you're approaching 150 IP with another month to work out of the bullpen and perhaps give someone else a September audition in the rotation. Unless the Jays ignore their innings increase rule he can't spend the rest of '11 in the rotation.
Kelekin - Tuesday, June 14 2011 @ 06:00 PM EDT (#236779) #
I imagine innings limits are the last thing we need to worry about.  Let's see if he can perform well enough to stick first.

Hodgie - Tuesday, June 14 2011 @ 06:28 PM EDT (#236780) #
Anthopoulos was on the Fan with Jeff Blair today to talk about the demotion. You can listen to the audio here.
krose - Tuesday, June 14 2011 @ 06:48 PM EDT (#236781) #
Thanks Hodgie. Interesting that Blair expected Farrel and got AA.
katman - Wednesday, June 15 2011 @ 03:44 AM EDT (#236802) #
Taking the Hellickson/Bucholz approach with Drabek isn't the worst thing in the world. As for Stewart, he seemed like he was frustrated at remaining in AA. I don't mind calling him up here, where he can either succeed or get a real understanding of what he needs to work on in the minors.

If Stewart doesn't succeed, the fact that reports say Mills is locating everything better indicates a change to me. I remember another guy who could do that at an even higher level, and if Mills has made a step change, I'd like to see him up at some point and find out how that plays.
scottt - Wednesday, June 15 2011 @ 09:30 PM EDT (#236858) #
Romero and Villanueva to a lesser degree have shown Steward what is expected of him.

Flex - Thursday, June 16 2011 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#236879) #
Nice job by Stewart today. Nothing over-the-top "wow" but a very efficient, solid performance. He sure didn't look out of place.
bpoz - Friday, June 17 2011 @ 09:21 AM EDT (#236902) #
I want to congratulate & praise the fans who write in or speak to the talk shows, on well thought out & expressed opinions.

The caller to M Wilner's post game show after Drabek's Sunday outing spoke very well. He said that Drabek was struggling & should be demoted, and then explained his reasoning. Throwing more balls than strikes and walking more hitters than striking out them.This made sense to me.

I think I understand Farrell's answers to some questions. When asked about considering a demotion for Drabek, the manager should NOT say yes, maybe or probably, the answer should be NO. And Farrell did say NO. The player does not need distractions, threats or negativity before taking the field, therefore NO is the only answer IMO.

I respect M Wilner & many in the media. IMO they are sincere and do a good job.
Stewart Gets The Call, Drabek Takes The Fall! | 17 comments | Create New Account
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