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So I'm contemplating the Jays bullpen and a strange thought came to me. A Thought I do not remember ever experiencing before.

I think I trust Jason Frasor.

(Frasor has long been my bete noire - everybody should have one - and he smartly stepped into the role after Justin Speier left town).

Well, once I got over the novelty, I began to think - just how much do I trust Mr Frasor? As much as I would trust Tom Henke in his prime? Scott Downs today? Obviously not. As much as I'd trust B.J. Ryan?

Probably a little more. Can I quantify this feeling, somehow?

Well. I need a scale for this. Nothing too scientific, nothing that would require some actual work and analysis. Something....  crude and intuitive. Like this:

Magpie's Levels of Trust

Scott Downs - 90% (This is about as high as a guy like Downs can go for now. A great pitcher having one of many great seasons - Mariano Rivera or Tom Henke - can kick my level of trust up to 95% or so. That's not Downs. He's a good pitcher having a great year or two. Think Duane Ward.)

Jason Frasor - 75%
(Actually, he probably deserves about an 80% - but it's Jason Frasor! This is so hard for me!)

Jesse Carlson - 70% (I guess somewhere in the back of my mind, I keep expecting the coach to turn into a pumpkin.)

B.J. Ryan - 65% (Tolerable, and he's been raising the level in each of his last few appearances.)

Shawn Camp - 60% (This probably works out to 80% if the batter is RH, and 40% if he isn't. The Scott Richmond of the bullpen!)

Brandon League - 51% (Yeah, I'm somewhat concerned. If you slip below 50%, it's time for a trip to the minors. If I grade someone below 50%, I am saying Get this Fellow Out of the Pen.)

Bill Murphy - 50% (It's the default setting. If you get promoted to a major league roster, this is where you go until you prove otherwise. One way or another.)

I'll tell you this much - this crew beats the hell out of the Yankees bullpen. Or Boston's.
A Bit of Idle Gossip | 38 comments | Create New Account
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Jdog - Tuesday, April 21 2009 @ 02:47 PM EDT (#198737) #
That is exactly how i feel with regards to the bullpen right now as well.

Brandon League seems to be a much better 2nd half pitcher, he always seems to be in a good groove come the last 3 months of the season, and the stats seem to back this up.
92-93 - Tuesday, April 21 2009 @ 02:49 PM EDT (#198738) #
No mention of the new circle changeup, or whatever the heck it is?

What I'm most impressed with is the April 16-18 stretch. Frasor has always been good when he has rest, but historically he's been awful if he doesn't have 2 days rest.

So, using hindsight, was the Frasor trade Werth it?
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 21 2009 @ 02:52 PM EDT (#198739) #
Do you remember 2003?  Aquilino Lopez was the closer. Pete Walker, Jason Kershner and Trever Miller had roles and performed them tolerably.  And then there was Jeff Tam and Tanyon Sturtze.  If Rivera/Henke were 95s, what would the MLT (Magpie's Level of Trust) be for Tam and Sturtze? 25, 30, 35?  Just wondering.

With Frasor's change-up, I am totally comfortable with him sharing the #5 spot in the rotation with Tallet if that is what ends up happening.  The return of the swingman. 

Magpie - Tuesday, April 21 2009 @ 02:53 PM EDT (#198740) #
So, using hindsight, was the Frasor trade Werth it?

Sure. A perfect trade. Both teams got something useful and neither gave up anything that will cause them to lose sleep.
Magpie - Tuesday, April 21 2009 @ 02:57 PM EDT (#198741) #
If Rivera/Henke were 95s, what would the MLT (Magpie's Level of Trust) be for Tam and Sturtze?

Tam - yeah, probably about 35. And the team soon came to the same conclusion. Sturtze, though - I think he was about a 50, mainly because by the time he came out of the pen, the game was already lost. It just didn't matter...
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 21 2009 @ 03:08 PM EDT (#198744) #
It's funny.  You look back at the 2003 team, and the talent here looks to be as good or better than that club.  Sure, there's no Delgado, but there are other plusses, not the least of which is the bullpen.
Ryan Day - Tuesday, April 21 2009 @ 03:23 PM EDT (#198745) #
The Dodgers didn't even get that much out of Werth - a pretty good 2004, then two years of injuries before releasing him. The Phillies probably like the deal.

Though Werth's career 291/376/544 line against lefties would be nice to have around.

Jevant - Tuesday, April 21 2009 @ 03:29 PM EDT (#198746) #
My money would be that the Dodgers do NOT like the deal, the Phillies are quite pleased, and the Jays are I'm sure pleased as well.  Although I know the Phillies would never give the Jays Werth for Frasor right now, Frasor has been somewhere between adequate and good for the duration of that trade, and Werth has been all over the map (with more non-helpful years than helpful ones).
Ducey - Tuesday, April 21 2009 @ 03:43 PM EDT (#198749) #

I was thinking this about Frasor too!  The other day when he appeared in three straight games (I think) I expected he would blow up for sure.  The changeup seems to have made a big difference.

I always trusted Ward more than Henke becuse he had nastier stuff.  I couldn't understand Henke's sucess with just a straight fastball and forkball.  Of course it was 95 mph and the forkball usually wound up staring in the zone and finishing in the dirt, but still, you had figure someone would be sitting fastball in the first three pitches.

I have no trust in League right now.  He is all over the place and he has those crazy glasses.  He looks like some weird cyborg who needs some adjustments to his circuit boards.

braden - Tuesday, April 21 2009 @ 03:52 PM EDT (#198751) #

My trust scale ranges from Ward to Ligtenberg. 

Fortunately, nobody on the current team, not even League, ventures anywhere near Ligtenberg territory.

John Northey - Tuesday, April 21 2009 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#198754) #

Ward in his prime was as close to100% as I've seen.  Henke was just below that, followed by Mark Eichhorn (an old favorite of mine).  Downs makes me nervous for some reason - can't say why as he is effective but I always feel like he is one day away from becoming a poor pitcher.  Eh, whatever.  Todays pen I feel safe with a 2 or 3 run lead, and not too scared with a 1 run lead which is a great thing.

Geoff - Tuesday, April 21 2009 @ 04:04 PM EDT (#198755) #
Speaking of idle gossip, all should be aware that Vernon has outed Aaron Hill as a racist.

It's unfortunate as Vernon says, but Aaron is on the road to recovery.

For more amusing Spring Training hijinx, check out this interview where Michael Bourn answers the timeless question, "What is baseball?"

And I wonder where Schoeneweis ranks in the level of trust. I trusted him to fail like I would trust Shea Hillenbrand to save more animals with his love than games with his bat.

Matthew E - Tuesday, April 21 2009 @ 04:19 PM EDT (#198756) #

For 2003, don't forget Doug Creek.

I really thought the 2004 bullpen was going to be a strong one. They started the year with Aquilino Lopez, Jason Kershner, Terry Adams, Justin Speier, Kerry Ligtenberg and Valerio de los Santos. All of those guys should have been good or at least okay, and instead, none of them were (although Speier managed to keep his job and pitch well in subsequent seasons). If it hadn't been for Frasor and Chulk I don't know what they would have done.

The Jays have never had a pitcher I trusted less than Carlos Almanzar. I'd rather have Armando Benitez back than Almanzar. I'd rather have Jim Acker's final season.

Thomas - Tuesday, April 21 2009 @ 04:25 PM EDT (#198757) #
Magpie, how would you rate Tallet, if he was in the bullpen, on your trust meter?
Magpie - Tuesday, April 21 2009 @ 08:00 PM EDT (#198761) #
Tallet? Has risen in my estimation - say from about 60 to about 72!

Ward and Henke? Well, from 1988 through 1990, Ward was Jason Frasor (a thrower with a good arm) and Henke, as always, was Mariano Rivera (one of the greatest relief pitchers in major league history). Simply no comparison. But Ward took a huge, huge step forward in 1991 (c'mon Jason! Maybe you can do it too!)
JohnL - Tuesday, April 21 2009 @ 09:18 PM EDT (#198762) #
But Ward took a huge, huge step forward in 1991 (c'mon Jason! Maybe you can do it too!)

That's how I remember Ward's career, and without trying to verify by any stats, my recollection is that he in fact seemed to make that progression around the time he (temporarily) took over the closer's role, when Henke went on the DL for a month or so early in the season.

He stepped into big shoes, and surprised a number of people with how well he pitched. He kept up the quality after Henke came back.

So, depending on how Ryan does, maybe that's a parallel for Frasor??
Waveburner - Tuesday, April 21 2009 @ 09:30 PM EDT (#198763) #
Did Texas really just use their closer as a LOOGY? Weird. Speaking of which, what's with balls bouncing off Roy's shins when they play Texas?
Magpie - Tuesday, April 21 2009 @ 09:42 PM EDT (#198764) #
That's exactly what happened. Henke hurt his hamstring in April, running in the outfield between games. Ward stepped in and was almost as good as the Mighty Tom himself. (Henke saved 32 games with an ERA of 2.32; Ward saved 23 games with an ERA of 2.77 - ERA+ was 182 for Henke, 153 for Ward.)

Ward was even better in 1992, Henke's final year as a Jay, and for the first time ever actually pitched better than Henke. Not by much, mind you - Henke saved 34 games with an ERA of 2.26 and an ERA+ of 181. Ward's ERA was 1.95, his ERA+ was 210, which was the best figure of his career.
Magpie - Tuesday, April 21 2009 @ 09:47 PM EDT (#198765) #
Nice outing for League. He, and I, needed that!
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 21 2009 @ 09:49 PM EDT (#198766) #
I was going to say "53" and leave it at that.
natan79 - Wednesday, April 22 2009 @ 12:01 AM EDT (#198769) #

Did Texas really just use their closer as a LOOGY? Weird. Speaking of which, what's with balls bouncing off Roy's shins when they play Texas?

Their closer this year is Francisco

sduguid - Wednesday, April 22 2009 @ 01:40 AM EDT (#198771) #
I missed a lot of the game because i was watching the Canucks.

One of the first times I switched over for a moment, I saw someone on the ground with a huge pile of people gathered around.  I couldn't see who it was.  Not that I want anyone to be injured but my first though was "Don't be Halladay!"

The next time I switched back was just in time to see a ball hit Halladay's leg.

I was too scared to check back again until the 9th...

Glevin - Wednesday, April 22 2009 @ 08:33 AM EDT (#198776) #
"Did Texas really just use their closer as a LOOGY? Weird. Speaking of which, what's with balls bouncing off Roy's shins when they play Texas?

Their closer this year is Francisco"

And they still used him poorly. Wilson came in with one out and Lind, Rolen, and Overbay coming up. It made complete sense to let him try to get through those three batters. A runner on 1st, 1 out, and up 1 run is not enough reason to pitch your best reliever 1 2/3 innings. I doubt he's available tonight. The ball really seems to be jumping out of the Dome. Cruz killed his HR, but Kinsler's looked like a lazy fly ball. Halladay was pretty unlucky as he really only gave up three hard hit balls all night. A few bloop hits really hurt. Nothing to worry about there.

natan79 - Wednesday, April 22 2009 @ 10:11 AM EDT (#198779) #

Agreed.  I was shocked when they puilled C.J. Wilson after just one batter.  Perhaps the manager has very little faith in him this year. 

 If Purcey can settle down and find the strike zone, tonight's game might be bearable.

AWeb - Wednesday, April 22 2009 @ 03:06 PM EDT (#198782) #
On the idle gossip theme...

Random note noticed while looking at baseball reference - there are now more players between 500-599 Hrs (19) than there are between 400-499 (18). It's of no importance, I just found that odd. Assuming Guerrero and Giambi hit a few more each this year, both reach 400, but if Delgado makes it to 500, that group will still be ahead at the end of the year (until someone exits out the top end, Thome or Rodriguez, or Andruw Jones finds full-time playing time again).

Despite the relatively high-scoring run environments enjoyed by many of the current players, very few have managed to score a lot of runs (that is, more than their RBI totals, and/or ranking highly in the all-time leaders). Of the most recent guys, only Jeter and Lofton stand out as having made a career out of scoring runs, rather than driving them in. With Lofon apparently done, and Biggio and Rickey recently departed, who (aside from Jeter) is a premier "get on base and get driven in" guy likely to show up on the all-time runs scored list? I can think of a few young guys (Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Pedroia) who might qualify eventually, but everyone else is a slugger who will drive in just as many (or all most).

Matthew E - Wednesday, April 22 2009 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#198786) #
Ichiro Suzuki?
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 22 2009 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#198787) #
According to BBRef, the only active player under age 30 to have scored 600 runs is Albert Pujols. 

Other mid-to-late career players who might run up good career runs scored totals without driving in many would include Johnny Damon and Jimmy Rollins.  Brian Roberts might if he really turns on the jets and Wieters hits like WIETERS.
Glevin - Wednesday, April 22 2009 @ 08:49 PM EDT (#198790) #
One thing quickly obvious about Texas is how silly their lineup is.  Their best two hitters are Kinsler and Hamilton who they hit first and third which is great. Michael Young at #2 is fine as well. However, the rest of their lineup seems insane. Nelson Cruz who has slugged something like .650 since he was called up by the Rangers last year, is hitting 7th behind Andrew Jones, Blalock, and Marlon Byrd. Hitting Chris Davis 8th seems weird to me as well, but Andruw Jones cleanup? The guy slugged .249 last year. I'm noticing a lot of very strange lineups this year though.
Mike Green - Wednesday, April 22 2009 @ 08:51 PM EDT (#198791) #
It won't show in the ERA or quality start department, but that was a decent outing from Purcey. 
CeeBee - Wednesday, April 22 2009 @ 09:55 PM EDT (#198792) #
Won't show in the Win column either thanks to shoddy defense and a fireman not putting out the fire.
Chuck - Wednesday, April 22 2009 @ 10:14 PM EDT (#198793) #

I'm noticing a lot of very strange lineups this year though.

Agreed. I'm noticing a lot of LHB batting in the middle of the order against LHP when maybe they shouldn't be in the lineup at all. Hank Blalock, for instance, has a career .657 OPS against LHP in almost 1000 PA. So he bats 5th against Purcey, ahead of Byrd and Cruz. It's not like the Jays are lean in the LH reliever department and Blalock will eventually see a RHP.

On another note, the decision to pinch-run Snider for Lind, rather than using McDonald, makes it easier for Washington to not have to worry about losing the platoon advantage against a swath of RHB from Rolen to Wells, an 8-man stretch,

Chuck - Wednesday, April 22 2009 @ 10:23 PM EDT (#198794) #
Never mind about Washington not having to worry about losing the platoon edge knowing that Gaston won't pinch-hit for his RHB. Washington has decided for himself to forego the platoon advantage and has brought in Wilson (albeit as an injury replacement).
timpinder - Wednesday, April 22 2009 @ 10:50 PM EDT (#198795) #
I've seen more than enough from B.J. Ryan.  He needs to stay away from 9th, 8th and even 7th inning duties.  He cost the Jays a win (maybe) and he cost Purcey a win (which just cost me 5 points in my fantasy pool).  Downs needs to close and Frasor needs to set-up until Ryan can get his "fastball" above 85 mph.  Ridiculous.
scottt - Wednesday, April 22 2009 @ 11:04 PM EDT (#198796) #
Frasor goes 3-0 and Purcey remain 0-1.  BJ's ERA? 11.12 2-for-4 with saves.

All in all, the damage was limited. I think anybody but Ryan and Frasor is available tomorrow. Gotta try to wear Millwood down and get to that bullpen.
Oh, well. You never know.

Magpie - Thursday, April 23 2009 @ 12:06 AM EDT (#198798) #
Ryan's fastball tonight started out at 87 and 88, and was up to 89 by the end of the inning. That's not the problem. He keeps hanging sliders, which is one problem - and he keeps pitching like an idiot, which is the other one. Hit the 8 hitter? Walk the 9 hitter? With a three run lead?
Magpie - Thursday, April 23 2009 @ 12:12 AM EDT (#198799) #
Now for the good news. Alex Rios came up in the second inning, having fouled out harmlessly in his first at bat. After taking a strike, he ripped a fastball foul. Then he absolutely crushed an off speed pitch. He was out in front of it, and pulled it foul, but the sound of the contact made you jump up and pay attention. It said "I'm back... I've figured it out..." I spent the rest of the game waiting for him to go deep. Maybe tomorrow.
Anders - Thursday, April 23 2009 @ 12:22 AM EDT (#198800) #
Back on the reliever confidence measurement, I can say with some confidence that the Jays reliever I have had the least amount of confidence in over the years was Tanyon Sturtze. Maybe he wasn't actually that bad as a Jay, but I remember the nickname - Ten-Run Spurtz, and that's all one needs. Looking back at the 6 era, 1.7 whip, 1.2 k/bb however... yeah.
AWeb - Thursday, April 23 2009 @ 07:52 AM EDT (#198806) #
Another random tidbit - Lind is on an 8 game hit streak, but his OPS has dropped every game except the first one. I wonder if that's some sort of record - most consecutive games with a hit while also lowering your OPS (and average too, actually)...he's up to 7 in a row now, and could go for a few more. Hopefully this is what Lind will look like this year when he's not going well - still getting hits, but not hitting for power. Beats the second half of last year....

Also, would it have killed the Red Sox to have wallowed below .500 for a few weeks? The AL East - already 8 games above .500. Still, it will be all the more satisfying to win, right?
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