Tag Archives: Scott Richmond

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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Are boos the new cheers?

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Been gone for a good time, not a long time. But now I’m back. Feeling a bit rusty, so bear with me (or not) as I expell things in point form…

• Was out of town last weekend and not paying attention. You know what’s a pretty shocking way to start paying attention again? Seeing Rusty Adams step into the batter’s box. That was (I think) Sunday, and it was literally the first Jays-related thing I saw in a few days. I had a little trouble believing what was happening.

Good for Rusty to get another chance, but too bad Voodoo Joe Inglett had to get sent down. Sure, he was producing very well, but what can you expect from a guy who’d only had limited AAA-experience so far this year and then was called up to the Bigs as soon as he came off the DL? People usually go down after a stint on the DL, not the other way around.

• Vernon (Boo) Wells appears to be fixed and that’s great news. Honeslty though, I don’t know if I’m happier that he’s hitting again or that he know has the best nickname on the team.

• The second half of the Tao’s post on Boo Wells asks an interesting question: Who’s your favourite rookie pitcher on the Jays? I like them all, but anybody who’s followed this blog knows that unequivocally, my favourite is Captain Canada, Scott (Kool-aid) Richmond.

Dude just continues to impress no matter how often he gets demoted to the bullpen and people seemingly give up on him. He’s got great stuff and great character. I hope he’s in the rotation for good now.

• There are no words left to describe Scott Rolen’s greatness. If you’ve seen any of the stellar defensive plays he’s rolled off lately, you know what I’m talking about.

• Speaking of Rolen, it’s interesting that both he and Rod Barajas seemed to feed off the incredibly negative treatment from the fans in Philly. Take that, combine it with Wells’ new nickname and we seem to have a bit of a theme going with this team. Are boos the new cheers?

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Richmond’s back! (too bad it happened like this)

Blue Jays Phillies Baseball

Captain Canada, Scott (Kool-Aid) Richmond reappeared in the rotation last night and he did not disappoint. Eleven Ks against the defending World Series champs! And he did it against a lineup with quite a few powerful lefties, a group he’s not had much success against.

Yes, our Scotty pitched so well that the only reason Cito didn’t run him out for the complete game is that he didn’t want to risk injury. Makes sense considering three pitchers went on the DL earlier.

So, yes, I get my wish. Richmond’s going to get a regular rotation turn (for a little while at least) and Dirty Janssen’s out of the rotation. But I didn’t want it to happen like this. Never like this.

As I’ve said, Janssen’s good. When I said I wanted him out, I meant out in the bullpen, not out on the DL.

And let’s not even talk about missing Halladay or Downs.

Let’s just enjoy Richmond getting a regular turn, the Phillies helping the bats wake up, Brad Mills getting a shot in The Show and the return of Jeremy Accardo (let’s hope he brings his splitter with him).

UPDATE: Curious how Richmond went about dominating the lefties in the Phillies’ lineup? The Mockingbird says it’s because he finally started throwing off-speed stuff to them.

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Swayze Express derails Richmond

I like Casey Janssen. He’s a good pitcher, he seems like a good guy, he’s got a great nickname (Dirty!) and that led Squizz (the other poster on this site and a contributor to a great soccer site) to name Dirty’s fastball the Swayze Express.

How can you not like a pitcher who can throw the Swayze Express?

No, I don’t have a problem with Janssen. What I have a problem with is how the Jays are using the man called Dirty.

This may be a bit of an unpopular opinion after Dirty’s solid performance Monday night against the Texas Rangers of Arlington, but Janssen should be working out of the bullpen, not the rotation. Just take a look at his career splits.

As a starter, Janssen’s ERA is 5.23, with a WHIP of 1.381 and batters have gone .286/.335/.453/.788. Working out of the pen, Janssen’s numbers are dirty: 2.27 ERA, 1.221 WHIP and batters have gone .253/.308/.354/.662 against him. It’s pretty clear that, over his career, Janssen’s been a lot more effective out of the pen.

This is not to say that he’s not useful in the rotation, but with some of the difficulties that the pen has had in the last little while and the fact that Brett Cecil, Bobby Ray, David Purcey and Fabio Castro could all step into the rotation (not to mention a certain 305-game winner who just happens to be looking for a team) maybe the Jays would be better served with Janssen being the dominant 1-2 inning guy he was before getting injured.

The other problem I have with how Janssen’s being used is what it’s doing to Captain Canada. Before Dirty’s return to the big club, Scott Richmond was being called the de facto No. 2 starter on the team by better-known bloggers than myself.

After Dirty’s return, Richmond went from being de facto No. 2 (and doing a pretty good of it) to being a spare part. Saturday’s game was not what you might expect from a former de facto No. 2, but it was also Richmond’s first start since May 24. That’s nearly two weeks between starts, and he only made one relief appearance in between. How can you expect a guy to be spot on when he’s getting so little time on the mound?

Also, why would you throw him out there after two weeks to face a lineup in which six of the hitters would be facing him from the left side? If Richmond’s got a real weakness, it’s that he’s not so good at handling lefty-dominated lineups.

What I really want to know is what happened to make Cito seemingly lose faith in Richmond? For a guy who’s showing a frustratingly unbelievable amount of patience with Vernon Wells (and to a lesser extent, Alex Rios), he sure is quick to turn on his pitchers.

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Let me just put a stamp on this

Started living life again during the long weekend and forgot to post something here, so here’s a shitty roundup sort of thing for your enjoyment!

The Drunks try to end The Summer of Tallet

In this great post, Stoeten of the Drunks puts together an interesting argument as to why Brian Tallet, despite rocking in the starting role, may be headed back to the bullpen before long. (Spoiler: It’s because Jesse Carlsson ain’t been so hot lately.) I love what Tallet’s been doing in the rotation so far, but if moving him to the ‘pen is best for the team, then I’m all for it.

The real question is, what will The Tao and his Moustache Riders think of this theory?

Don’t doubt the Arnsberg

Before the series against the White Sox, it seemed to be a popular kind of thing to say “Robert Ray is going to be demoted” and also to say “Scott Richmond has been figured out and should be sent to the bullpen/Las Vegas.”

If you said those things, you’d be wrong on both counts (and not just because Rob Ray wants to go by Bobby now).

Basically all you have to do is look at their starts against the Pale Hose to know that Captain Canada (7 IP, 7 K, 5 hits, 1 BB 0 ER) and Robert Rob Bobby Ray (8 IP, 3 K, 3 hits, 1 BB, 0 ER) are going to be around for a while yet.

Rolen being Rolen


Hello Kevin Millar!

A man named Andrew made it through to Jays Talk the other night. You can hear him at the 37:40 mark. Definitely worth a listen. If you don’t know why, read this post by the Drunks, specifically the No. 1 item.

Closing thoughts

We just passed the quarter mark of the season, the Jays are in first (regardless of what happens in Boston) and things are great. So good in fact, that Voodoo Joe hasn’t enacted any whammies yet. Thanks, Joe! This won’t be forgotten!

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J.P. surprises everyone

First B.J. Ryan is taken off the DL without being returned to the closer’s role, now Ricky Romero is taken off the DL and, instead of bumping someone from the big league rotation, he’s being sent to Vegas.

The last couple of weeks seems to have been a constant debate about who’s headed to the minors when Romero and Jesse Litsch and Casey Janssen get healthy. Rob Ray was the consensus choice, with Scott Richmond getting some recent shoves toward the door (even though he’s only had one bad start).

But instead of doing any of that, J.P. just sent the first healthy guy down to the minors.

As great as Romero’s been, I’m cool with the move.

Sure, there’s a good chance that Ray’s start tomorrow will be his last, but maybe not. All the arms in the rotation are doing good right now, so why screw with it?

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The sky is not falling

BASEBALL/Yes, Scott Richmond had a bad start last night. That doesn’t necessarily mean his luck’s run out.

So far this season, Richmond has struggled against left-handed batters. Righties are hitting him for a .172 batting average and an OPS of .419, while lefties have a .304 BA and a 1.020 OPS.

So Richmond dominates righties and gets shelled by lefties. Facing most teams, this is not too much of a problem.The lefties hit Scott, then he works out of trouble by slamming the door on the righties.

The Yankees are a different story.

As MLBastian tweeted: “Yanks had 7 LH hitters (4 switch) in the lineup vs. Richmond tonight. They combined to go 7-10 with 2 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR against him.”

How many lineups can throw seven lefties at you?

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Captain Canada cruises

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Something strange happened between the final days of spring training and last night’s game in Kansas City.

At the end of March, Vancouver’s Scott Richmond was fighting for fifth spot in the starting rotation and seemingly won it solely because neither Brad Mills or Brett Cecil were quite ready to head to The Show.

With last night’s performance (7 IP, 1 ER, 5 hits, 5 Ks) Richmond seems to have removed any doubt that he belongs. In fact, he’s performed so well this season that at one point during the game, Jerry Howarth and Alan Ashby were joking about giving Captain Canada the Doc treatment and keeping him on four days’ rest even if an off day gets in the way.

They may have been joking, but I think it’s a good plan.

With Ricky Romero and Jesse Litsch on the DL, David Purcey seemingly unable to hit the side of a barn and Brian Burres being, well, Brian Burres, maximizing the number of starts from the two best pitchers doesn’t seem like a bad idea to me at all.

Tallet

Tallet

The other guy filling out the rotation right now is, of course, Brian Tallet. He’s been pretty impressive as a starter so far this season, and if he can keep it up, I’d keep him in there even when Litsch and Romero get back.

Obviously the first starter to go when people get healthy is Burres. Pre-season logic would dictate that the next move would be to send Tallet back to the bullpen but, assuming nothing drastic happens between now and the arms getting healthy, I’d keep Tallet in the rotation and send Purcey down to Las Vegas.

I’d aslo put Richmond ahead of Litsch, giving the Jays a solid-looking rotation of Doc/Romero/Richmond/Litsch/Tallet. If you had told me last year that would be the rotation, I’d call you an imbecile and/or a liar. Right now, that looks like playoffs to me.

Getting my hopes up

As president of the Shaun Marcum Fan Club, I couldn’t help but excited reading the great theory posted over at Ghostrunner on First.

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On Team Canada’s pitching

scott richmond team canada

While some members of the media seem all too happy to blame manager Ernie Whitt’s pitching rotation for Canada’s early exit from the WBC, it should be noted that Whitt basically used the best plan that was available to him.

With people like Erik Bedard, Ryan Dempster, Rich Harden and Jeff Francis unable (or, in Dempster’s case, unwilling) to participate and fireballer Phillipe Aumont being limited by the Mariners to one-inning stints, Whitt didn’t have much to work with.

Given the circumstances, it makes sense to hold back your best pitchers for the more important elimination games. Thus we end up with Scott Richmond not throwing a pitch in the tournament. But you can’t blame Whitt for Richmond’s lack of playing time. With the mashing potential in Canada’s lineup, there’s no way we should have lost to the Italians. But our bats failed and we did lose.

(And yes, the bats failed, but it’s interesting that the umps were giving Italian pitchers a MUCH more favourable strikezone than the Canuck pitchers were getting…)

The only slight criticism I can offer of Whitt in terms of managing the pitchers is that maybe he should have had Vince Perkins start against the States and let Mike Johnson pitch against Italy. I’m definitely offering this with the benefit of hindsight, Johnson seems like a much better pitcher than Perkins and, following the logic that had Richmond penned in to start against the Venezuelans, Johnson should have started the elimination game against Italy.

I am curious now though to see how all of this affects Richmond’s chances at cracking the Jays’ rotation. Taking time off from trying a spot to pitch for your country — and then not pitching — is not likely to be something that J.P. is going to think too highly of, especially considering his very pro-club stance in the club vs. country debate.

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Oh, Canada

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Baseball returns to our television sets tomorrow, and the matchup — for an early pre-season contest anyway — is one I couldn’t be looking forward to more.

Your Toronto Blue Jays playing host to Team Canada.

And starting for Canada? Scott Richmond. If you’re a pitching with a shot at making your team’s starting rotation, what better case can you make for yourself than shutting down the team you’re trying to make?

It’s not easy for me to cheer against the Jays, but when it’s club vs. country, there’s no question which side I fall on. I mean, just look at this logo and tell me you wouldn’t cheer for this squad:

baseball-canada

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