It's been a while since I last thought of my favorite closer-in-waiting cum doghouse inhabitant cum alien pitching phenom: Brandon League. Man oh man do I love Brandon League. But even with me, he is out of excuses. No surfing injuries, no triple A yo-yo action. This is the year that Brandon League realizes his destiny: being as good as Joba Chamberlain.
A lot to ask? Yes, but the similarities are there. Home runs/9, WHIP, average against, and strand rate were all very similar in 2008. They both bring pure gas, but in very different ways. Joba's fastball is straight, hard, and as pure as his love of fudge. Brandon League's fastball is more along the lines of a flying saucer, darting about the night's sky quickly and erratically. Brandon League's slider is a glorified cutter/drunk divorcee at a Firkin bar; waiting to be banged over and over again. Joba's slider is basically unhittable. Joba also features a big nasty curveball, a pitch League removed from his arsenal years ago.
In terms of stuff, Brandon League is unique in that he's been able to get this far on the strength of one pitch. Joba is a very traditional pitcher with supernatural stuff, he racks up huge strikeout numbers by deploying his arsenal of nastiness whenever the situation demands. Brandon League would accrue more strikeouts were he able to get ahead of more hitters, but his wildness keeps him relying on his hilarious GB/FB rate.
It is my hope that League spent this off season working on his secondary stuff. Any other pitch will do! Something he can throw for strikes with enough frequency to keep left handed hitters from getting too comfortable. Difficult as I imagine hitting a 97 mile per hour sinker is, any big league hitter will figure it out eventually if that's the only pitch he has to worry about. A second pitch (change up?) that keeps batters honest and doesn't need to be labeled as a "get me over" anything can only bring down League's slightly home run per fly ball rate.
- Walkoff Walk decided to get into the projection game. Our BONILLA system (Based On Nothing Interesting, Let's Look at Age) has been rolling out all week. My first entry, the 28 year olds, went up yesterday. Please check it out and LOL accordingly.
- Canada is having hard time filling out its WBC rotation. Too many injuries? Let those that preach the gospel of virgin arms carry this cross with them forever.
- Geoff Baker ranks Blogger's Valhala (the press box) of each American League park. Judging by the food selections, it's no wonder they're such a cranky bunch. The Rogers Centre press box ranking suffers due to Bob Elliott's spastic colon.
- JP blames Rogers. Who doesn't at this point?
- I don't blame Rogers for anything, so long as they abide by our uneasy agreement. I caved to my end of the deal, finally picking up an iphone the other day. Time to sign Halladay to that extension. Tout de suite!