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Wasn't it nice to see a two-run ninth-inning lead protected without the usual hammering tension? Jason Frasor might have just been filling in for Miguel Batista, but I'd personally be happy to see him fill in a few more times before the season's done.

It's Pinch-Hit Wednesday again, and coming off the bench today is longtime Bauxite and Blue Jay Way regular MatthewE, with some further reflections on the Toronto bullpen. Take it away, Matthew!


Something happened here that you may not have noticed. We're now most of the way through September, and the Jays still have the same bullpen they started the year with. Scott Schoeneweis, Miguel Batista, Vinny Chulk, Jason Frasor, Justin Speier and Pete Walker were on the roster Opening Day, and they're still here today. They haven't been sent down. They haven't been injured. They've just pitched and pitched and pitched. And they're the reason why the Jays have a better bullpen than anyone else in the division:

Team ERA

Toronto 3.95
New York 4.03
Baltimore 4.22
Tampa Bay 4.99
Boston 5.38

To be sure, it hasn't been a six-man pen the whole way. League, Gaudin, Whiteside and other pitchers have shown up to take their lumps. But those guys were always at the back of the line to come out and pitch. And of course, Walker (and more recently, Scott Downs) took a few turns as a starter. All of that is just details.

When was the last time this happened for the Jays? To have the same six relievers, day in and day out, all year? I guess the closest recent comparison was the 2001 pen, with Koch, Quantrill, Borbon, Plesac, File and Escobar. Anyway, next time someone blames injuries for what looks like a disappointing finish to 2005, don't buy it. These Jays have been unusually healthy in some ways.

One thing I've always liked to pay attention to is the Jays' career saves list. Henke and Ward are almost uncatchable, for all intents and purposes, at the top of the list. But lower down, it's not hard to move up quite a bit. Coming into this season, Jason Frasor held down the # 10 spot with 17 saves, but over the past few months Miguel Batista has blown past him with his 28 saves. That ties him with Randy Myers for 8th place, knocking Darren Hall down to 10th and Frasor out of the top ten altogether.

That brings us to tonight's game. With Batista either unavailable or undesirable, Frasor pitched a very comfortable ninth inning to pick up his first save of the year. Only a couple more, Jason! Darren Hall is in your sights!

Yuniesky Betancourt and Yorvit Torrealba hit back-to-back for the Mariners tonight. I know they're the only Yunieskys and Yorvits to play major-league baseball. But I don't know whether, as seems likely to me, they're the only guys with first names starting with "Y" to hit back-to-back in the majors.

Josh Towers picked up his 12th win despite not striking anybody out. I've decided that Josh Towers is John Cerutti. We've had almost three decades of Toronto baseball; that's enough to start looking for parallels. Who else should we compare Towers to -- the homer-prone swingman, good for about ten wins a year, who eventually graduated to a full-time spot in the rotation? The only thing spoiling the Cerutti comparison, of course, is that Towers isn't left-handed. And, I guess, Towers has better control. Neither of them struck out a whole lot of guys; Towers' K numbers are up this year, but Cerutti had a couple of years like that, too. Roger Angell, to the best of my knowledge, never wrote about Towers.

Anyway, Josh is probably hoping that this similarity doesn't last (not that I think he's aware of it), as Cerutti only had about five decent seasons, and Towers is currently on his fourth. There's some hope, however: Cerutti's best strikeout years were his first couple, and Towers' best is right now. It looks like he's getting better.

Where would this team be without Towers? A full season for a starting pitcher is 32 starts. Since J.P. Ricciardi took over, almost four years ago, only three guys have had significantly more starts than that--Halladay (110), Towers (60) and Lilly (55). Only three guys have had any starts at all in more than two of those four years--Halladay and Towers again, and Walker. That's an important contribution for a guy who really wasn't supposed to make it at all. There was a perception in '03, when the Jays picked him up, that Brandon Lyon had been dumped to make room for Towers, and I didn't like it at the time. I'm okay with it now.

I think I'm on to something with these comparisons. Only problem is, you think there ought to be a good comparison for a guy, and it turns out there isn't. Look at Orlando Hudson. Who else have the Jays had who's a defensive standout second baseman who hits just enough to get by? Damaso Garcia? Can't be -- I'll take Hudson's glove over Garcia's any day of the week, and I can't see Hudson ever burning his uniform.

What other veteran switch-hitting iron men have the Jays had at catcher? Is Alex Rios the new Junior Felix? Is Miguel Batista the new Paul Quantrill? Here's one I kind of like: Ted Lilly is a talented but inconsistent lefty, came up with the Yankees and gets hurt a lot. Sounds like Al Leiter to me, vintage 1993-1995.

Try to come up with your own -- it's easy and fun!

The Insidious Six | 27 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
DiscoDave - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 09:30 AM EDT (#128460) #
I said it in another thread, but A.Hill = J.Kent c.1993 & could Hill be the replacement for Koskie who this season looks alot like K.Gruber c.1993.

Or i could be crazy:)

I actually would like Hill to move to 2b, i think he has more value there. Koskie will be ok next season once his ailing thumb heals. Think Nomar when you look at wrist/hand injuries, they take along time to heal.
Craig B - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#128462) #
Dave, Hill reminds me of Jeff Kent too.
Jacko - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 10:10 AM EDT (#128463) #
Hill's swing is all Molitor. I would not be surprised at all if he wins a few batting titles before his career is over.

Wells is a souped up version of Joe Carter.

Downs reminds me of Chuck Finley.

Mike Green - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 10:28 AM EDT (#128465) #
Catalanotto at the plate reminds me of Mulliniks. Thankfully, none of the current Jays remind me of Garth Iorg.
Jonny German - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 11:06 AM EDT (#128470) #
E Hinske = E Sprague? That's a painful thought.
slitheringslider - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 11:25 AM EDT (#128472) #
Alex Rios = Jose Cruz Jr.

I hope I am wrong
Wildrose - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 11:41 AM EDT (#128474) #
Nice little story on Canadian Peter Orr linked over at Primer, sometimes we forget, that at the lower echelons of MLB, it's a daily struggle, just like it is for most of us.

My comp is Justin Morneau/Fred MGriff.

Chuck - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 12:36 PM EDT (#128476) #
Alex Rios = Jose Cruz Jr.

While they may share the trait of unfulfilled potential, their profiles as hitters are very different. Cruz derived value from walks and homeruns (though maddeningly never at the same time) whereas Rios's value, such as it is, is derived almost entirely from batting average (i.e., the ability to hit singles).

rtcaino - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 12:39 PM EDT (#128477) #
Alex Rios' batting average is currently .259
AWeb - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#128478) #
Gabe Gross = Rob Ducey

Bat left, throw right, never really given a chance to take the starting job and go with it.
Thaskins - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 12:45 PM EDT (#128480) #
Re: Hill playing 2nd base. Based on what Iíve seen this year, Iíd much rather see Hill at SS and Adams at 2B. Itís hard to get an idea statistically because Hillís moved around the diamond a lot but he seems to have enough range to play SS and has a great arm. Adams on the other hand, has an average arm and good range. It would be a step down defensively going from Hudson to Adams but I really think Hudsonís value is pretty high (especially if he wins a gold glove in Ď05) right now and he could/should be dealt. I love him. But, he is a little injury prone and heís not really all that young. Plus, I just donít see him turning a big corner offensively. His career line of .270/.328/.418 seems about right to me. The potential OBP of Adams then Hill at the top of the lineup makes me drool. . .
Chuck - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 12:51 PM EDT (#128481) #
Alex Rios' batting average is currently .259

Yes, I know. That's why I used the "such as it is" qualifier.

Rios did hit a single-driven .286 last year and when his average was up this year, it was mainly singles. Even now that his average is down, it's not suddenly a sign that power or batting eye has been added to his repertoire in lieu of average. He's still just a singles hitter, just hitting fewer than before.

Chuck - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 01:02 PM EDT (#128482) #
Unrelated to this thread, anyone have any idea what's up with the Christina Kahrl business at BP? This has been going on a while now.
Thaskins - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 01:06 PM EDT (#128483) #
Speaking of dealing Hudson. I was interested to see who might need a young 2nd basemen and a CF as I think Hudson and Rios are the most likely to be dealt in the off-season. Using VOPR (or lack there of) as a measuring stick, this is what I came up with:

Minnesotta: Punto/Rivas??? Ė Opening in RF if Jones does not come back.
Colorado: 339 ABís of negative VORP for Aaron Miles, they could use a CF and RF
Kansas City: Ruben Gotay isnít going to work. Opening in RF and LF
Mets: Cairo and Matsui? Guhh. No real room in the OF unless Floyd or Cameron is traded though.
Washington: Jamey Carroll, negative VORP in 322 plate appearances. Spivey? Nope. Could use a real CF.
Seattle: Maybe at 2nd base. Open spot in LF if Ibanez is DHíing.

There are some other teams who could just use a 2B or an OF but I decided to look at this as a package deal. Now, I guess the question Iíll throw out there is, whoís an available big bopper who the Jays could target?
Jim - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 01:10 PM EDT (#128484) #
There was an article in the Washington Post you might dig up on Google.
Paul D - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 01:14 PM EDT (#128485) #
Unrelated to this thread, anyone have any idea what's up with the Christina Kahrl business at BP? This has been going on a while now.

I'm not sure if there's a politcally correct way to say this, but Chris Karl had a sex change operation and is now Christina.

Chuck - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 01:24 PM EDT (#128487) #
Chris Karl had a sex change operation

Wow. Good for him, er, her. Live and let live and all that. I'm not exactly sure how I missed this story.

Mike Green - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 01:27 PM EDT (#128489) #
Here's the story. "Gender reassignment surgery" is the technical term.
Craig B - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 01:30 PM EDT (#128491) #
Um, as far as I know, Chris hasn't had the surgery part yet. But I don't know. She prefers to be a woman, anyway, is the upshot of it all.
Tyler - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 02:16 PM EDT (#128493) #
I am so confused. I read a while ago that she was a woman and assumed that she was using Chris so as to avoid having to put up with gender related BS associated with being a female writing about baseball. This is something entirely different altogether.

Whatever makes her happy I suppose, although I guess this means that the Keith Law career path is out.
Jim - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 02:29 PM EDT (#128496) #
I believe Christina is a man living as a woman, and that surgery has not happened. There is a huge thread on Primer about it somewhere in the past year as well.
Tyler - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 02:37 PM EDT (#128497) #
I'm amazed I missed that thread and incredibly amazed that I have yet to see reference to it with the amount of time I waste over there. That place doesn't generally restrain in a good deal of self restraint.
Jabes - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 03:22 PM EDT (#128505) #
Wells = Joe Carters Bat + Devon White's Glove

At that ain't folks, ain't so bad. He's still younger than Andruw Jones and Carlos Beltran, decent comparables.
Ducey - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 03:29 PM EDT (#128506) #
Not sure where to put this but seeing the discussion has included the status of someone's sex change, I figure the range of topics is fairly wide open.

BA is doing a minor league review and did the Appy league (which includes Pulaski):
Jessie Litsch finished 6th. He is 20 and a 24th round draft and follow from 2004. Here is a discussion about him and others (Stone, the Gonzales, Butler) and even a question from Marty Peavy:
Rich - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 04:59 PM EDT (#128522) #
I have my doubts about Hill's longterm future at shortstop, given his build. He is already quite thick in his lower body, and will probably only get bigger as he ages; I'm skeptical he can retain the kind of range needed to play short with that kind of build (not to get all scout-sounding).

If you think of all the quality defensive shortstops in baseball, there isn't one that comes to mind who'd be characterized as "stocky".

As far as a comp, Hill's swing is a dead ringer for Jeff Kent's - compact and ready to kill hard stuff on the inner half.
Mike D - Wednesday, September 21 2005 @ 06:55 PM EDT (#128531) #
My comp is Justin Morneau/Fred McGriff.

I would have agreed earlier in the season, Wildrose. But Morneau provoked my most recent "Good grief, are those really his stats this season?" moment, when a player's production has been vastly out of line (either positively or negatively) with how I perceive his abilities. The Twins have fallen off my radar, since the Jays haven't played them in four months or so and they haven't contended.

Justin Morneau, MIN
May .222/.301/.456
June .230/.318/.419
July .213/.311/.416
August .204/.241/.350
September .255/.328/.473

How is this possible, given Morneau's swing and his power?!? I know he's been battling bone chips in his elbow, but dude, if you're putting up numbers like your August line, you gotta take some time off.
Wildrose - Thursday, September 22 2005 @ 01:20 AM EDT (#128561) #
You're right Mike he's really struggled. Jeff Blair has speculated that his confidence is shot after being brow beaten by many of the veterans on the Twinkies. You have to wonder if there's any lingering concussion issues from his early season beaning.

I'd love to see him in a Jay's uniform, but the cost will be very high.
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