Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wise Words of a Sage

Good old Bob Elliott, he of a zillion years of service to baseball in Canada, has an interesting feature that (apparently) only runs in the Edmonton Sun. I know! Like shouting at a deaf man. Anyway, Elliott turns to a wizened scout &mdash with whom he's surely shared numerous chili dogs and almost certainly witnessed acts of stripper degradation that would make the average Romanian wince &mdash for a feature called "The Book." Wouldn't you know it, Brandon League's turn came 'round and caught my eye. Take it away MAJOR LEAGUE SCOUT:
He has always been a perplexing guy to me. In Texas the other night, in the doubleheader, he was 94-95 m.p.h. He walks two and gives up two runs, one earned. He should be better than that.
Well yeah, that's sort of League's deal. He should indeed be better than that, but if he threw hard and that's it I'm sure he'd be done by now. Lots of people throw hard, very few throw it like a damn whiffleball. What else, holder of my dream job?
Then, I see him against the Yankees and he is 96-97 m.p.h., and he's clean. I know guys aren't machines, but it's like: 'Oh, it's the Yankees, we'll dial it up a notch.' That's been the case with Toronto for some time. They get excited when they play Boston or the Yankees. Other teams? It's like: 'Game today?' Alex Rios was like that, too.
This is slightly unsettling. That League dominates the Yankees isn't news (Tabby went on and on over the weekend, mere days after I posted this.) I recall a very similar charge being leveled against Vernon Wells. Other than this year, that held true. Troubling indeed. Back to League
WEAKNESS: "When you have that kind of an arm you expect better than five losses and seven blown saves. Maybe that's just me, but he can lose his focus."
The blown saves are unfortunate but a little misleading. Maybe not misleading, but they sound worse than they are. He isn't a ninth inning guy (yet!), so it isn't as though he blew saves in the Brad Lidge sense. Not being in a position to pick up wins too often (i.e. pitching in relief for the damn Blue Jays) doesn't help offset the optical burden of all the losses.
STRENGTHS: "The good Lord blessed his arm. He can be overpowering. Look at his strikeouts to innings. A lot of teams asked for him this year and last. I wouldn't deal him. Some day the light is going to go on, he'll figure it out."
A lot of teams asked for him? That's because a lot of teams are smart. Just like JP, as it turns out. The strikeouts to innings comment is bang on. League currently sports a career-high K/9 of 9.28 thanks to his whiff rate jumping through the roof into some pretty heady company.

Ol'Bob goes on to give Brandon League a not-subjective-or-meaningless-in-the-least 2 out of 5 rating this season. That sounds about right? Brandon League is almost "there" but hasn't quite reached the point where he's completely trustworthy or praiseworthy. The Jays have invested a great deal to this point; here's hoping they don't give up now.

Image obviously stolen from Eye On Springfield. P.S. I love Bob Elliott.


  1. It's one of the tags I'm using more and more on my blog: I'M GOING DOWN WITH THE SHIP.

    Long live Brandon League. (As a Toronto Blue Jay.)

  2. Truly, A League of his Own. He's my Josh Towers, but way more talented. And cooler. And more tattooed.

  3. The Blue Jays blogopshere should agree to never speak of Josh Towers again. Even if he beans PCL Wonder-Man Randy Ruiz in the face.

    Like Andrew Raycroft, let's stricken Towers from the record.

    (On an aside, Drew, I believe you're a Habs fan, and I'd love it if you wrote a season preview for me for my blog. You write a mean baseball blog. Give me some hockey.)

  4. Josh Towers is, in many ways, the bizarro League. Excitable, marginally talented, out-spoken and douchey. He got this far on guile and the skin of his teeth. Once the magic left, no more chances for you Josh. His little head and little glove are so curious.

    League is a brawny beast with otherworldly talent which affords him chance after chance. He comes off as too nice, almost apologetic. Strange pair.

    EBL: email me. I have to put some thought into it, I'm pretty far out of the loop.

  5. League is going to figure it out. Hopefully he can still throw in the mid 90's by the time he does though...

  6. Not much thought: Habs are short, Habs will miss playoffs. Season preview done.


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