Tag Archives: kevin gregg

About last night

Photo courtesy of Cubby-Blue by Tim Souers

Photo courtesy of Cubby-Blue by Tim Souers

Sure, the fashionable thing to do today is to blame the Jays as a team for blowing the game against the Royals last night. Toronto ran the bases like a pack of idiots, made questionable defensive decisions and the pitchers weren’t all that good either, so you can’t blame the loss on Kevin Gregg.

All of those things may be true, but I still blame Gregg.

And Cito.

Look, maybe the Blue Jays deserved to lose last night. But the fact is that they had the lead in the bottom of the 10th. Today, people seem happy to say “they deserved to lose!” but if the Jays hold on last night, today everybody’s saying “sometimes you need to win ugly. That’s the mark of a good team. This bodes well for the future!!1”

Anyway, the point is this: The Jays had the lead and 3G blew it. Uncle B.J.’s Wild Ride is only fun when the cars don’t come completely flying off the tracks.

Gregg couldn’t even hold on to the closer’s job last year IN THE NL CENTRAL. If Drew’s crystal ball is seeing things clearly, and I have no reason to believe it’s not, Cito needs to remove Gregg from the closer’s role about two months ago.

On the Yunibomber

Quoth Mike Wilner:

In the 7th, with two out and the tying run on third, Jason Kendall hit a ground ball into the 5-6 hole, past a diving Edwin Encarnacion.  YEscobar was there backing up, but for some reason he bare-handed the ball, again didn’t get much on the throw and again bounced it – but this time Overbay couldn’t make the scoop and the tying run scored.  If Escobar catches the ball with his glove, then he gets a better grip and has plenty of time to make a good, strong throw – the inning is over with the Jays leading 3-2.  Does that mean they win?  Not necessarily, because then Gregg comes in in the 9th instead of the 10th and who knows what happens, but Escobar needs to learn to make the safe, routine play when the razzle-dazzle isn’t necessary.

Normally I’m right there, nodding along to whatever Wilner’s on about. But this is different. I’ve watched this specific play about a dozen times now and, for the life of me, I cannot see how “making the safe play” leads to Yuni throwing out Kendall on this play. Escobar barehanded the ball because it was the only way he had a chance of making a play.

Seriously, watch the video. If Yuni gloves the ball and then has to transfer it to his throwing hand, does he come close to having a shot at the out?

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Sausage King of the ‘pen

So I’m in the middle of writing a post about Toronto’s three candidates for closer when I decide to take a gander at Twitter. I was greeted by the above tweet. If you’re the type of person who believes a team’s best reliever should be the team’s closer, then you might have to say that Cito is doing something right here. The explanation (or what I had written before I saw this tweet) follows:

A few days ago I slapped together a post about why I don’t think it’s so bad if Kevin Gregg becomes Toronto’s closer. I wrote it in such a way that assumed all 4 of my readers can read my mind. A commenter (Cole!) called me out and I briefly tried to explain myself in the comments. In the process of calling me out, Cole did raise another good question that made me stop and think:

Are Scott Downs and Jason Frasor actually better pitchers than Gregg?

Seems like everyone (myself included) is just assuming that Gregg’s the pits. I don’t feel like assuming things right now, so let’s take a look at some stats.

Career numbers:

ERA IP K/BB WHIP FIP
Frasor 3.78 355 2.13 1.28 3.8
Downs 3.92 509.1 2.05 1.4 4.23
Gregg 4.10 476.1 2.26 1.32 4.00

Over their careers, the three seem to be fairly even, although I’d put Frasor ahead slightly based on his WHIP and his FIP. But what a pitcher did years ago doesn’t really factor into how he’s pitching now, so let’s take a look at last year’s numbers.

2009:

ERA IP K/BB WHIP FIP
Frasor 2.50 57.2 3.5 1.02 2.99
Downs 3.09 46.2 3.31 1.26 3.33
Gregg 4.72 68.2 2.37 1.31 4.93

Frasor’s clearly got the best numbers of the three and Gregg’s clearly got the worst. Add in the fact the Frasor and Downs pitched in the A.L. East and Gregg got eaten up in the N.L. Central and the difference in the numbers seems even worse.

Based on the above, I’d say Frasor’s definitely the best of the three. But since the fireman/closer debate figured so prominently in the debate, let’s take a look at how they fared in high leverage situations.

Before I get to this, let me say that I’m no sabermetrician, so if I’m making a mistake with the stats here or using them in an inappropriate way, don’t be surprised. Basically what I’ve done is look at each pitchers’ WPA and how high the leverage of the situation was when they entered games*. I chose game leverage because to me, a fireman/closer/whatever should be entering at high leverage situations. If he does his job properly, the leverage should go down after that (right?).

Anyway, I took those stats and then I did some division.

Career:

WPA gmLI WPA/gmLI
Frasor 5.77 1.19 4.849
Downs 1.28 1.27 1.009
Gregg 0 .09 0

Last year:

WPA gmLI WPA/gmLI
Frasor 2.62 1.43 1.832
Downs -0.31 1.55 -0.2
Gregg -1.07 1.45 -0.3

And there you have it. Assuming I’ve handled the numbers correctly, Frasor is by far the best pitcher of the three when thrust into high leverage situations.

I don’t necessarily think that should make him the closer, but that’s just my take on Richmond’s Dilemma. Which I’ll explain later, if you haven’t read the comments on the previous post already.

*I based this on gmLI, which is, according to Tom Tango, “the Leverage Index when the reliever enters the game. Its use is mostly to show a manager perspective, as it indicates the level of fire that the manager wanted his reliever to face.”

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Putting the scouts to the test

Whatever you think of Rod Barajas stats-wise, you can’t argue that he seems like a good guy (unless you actually know him, I guess. I do not know him.) That’s why I’m happy to see that he’s finally caught on with another big league team. Like most who struggled a bit in the American League, I think he’ll do pretty well in the National.

For Jays fans, a happy consequence of the Barajas signing is that Toronto will get yet another pick in the 2010. In fact, the Jays are set to get a quite a few picks early on in said draft. According to the YES Network’s official blog, Toronto gets 10 of the first 126 picks. Those are picks are as follows:

11. Blue Jays

34. Blue Jays (for Type-A Marco Scutaro)

38. Blue Jays (for failure to sign ‘09 sandwich rounder James Paxton)

41. Blue Jays (for Type-B Rod Barajas)

61. Blue Jays

69. Blue Jays (for failure to sign ‘09 second rounder Jake Eliopoulos)

80. Blue Jays (from Red Sox for Type-A Marco Scutaro)

93. Blue Jays

113. Blue Jays (for failure to sign ‘09 third rounder Jake Barrett)

126. Blue Jays

I know we’re looking at a few years down the road before the success of this draft can even begin to be determined, but Anthopoulos’ scouts have their work cut out for them right off the bat.

Pepper (Does that work here?)

In a move that should surprise no one, J.P. Ricciardi is joining ESPN.

In news that may surprise some, no Toronto prospects — not even the ones the team got in return for Doc — managed to crack Baseball America’s Top 20.

On the team’s depth chart, Bluejays.com has already anointed Kevin Gregg as the team’s closer.

Oh my gawd! That’s Brad Wilkerson’s music! Thankfully, it’s coming from Philadelphia, not Toronto.

Some joker at NESN implies that losing “valuable clubhouse influence” Kevin Millar somehow hurts the Jays this year.

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