Coupling Purcey's 'pen rebirth with Jesse Carlson's balky knee creates even more havoc in the crowded bullpen picture. On the radio tonight, Wilner all but handed an Opening Day spot to Purcey. Meaning Accardo, Roenicke, the guy with the Zs in his name, are all fighting for a solitary spot in the bullpen as well as fighting to avoid the ignominy of telling Casey Janssen that he needs to pack his shit and go.
What role will Purcey fill in this bullpen? What role could he fill given the change? With Downs, Frasor and Kevin "The Please Don't Hurt Us MLBPA UFA Signing*" Gregg fighting it out for saves, will Purcey just mop up or might he face some high leverage situations? Might he find his way pack to the rotation one day or is he doomed to a life of journeymannery and service time groveling?
It's tough to base too much on David Purcey's 2009 season, as it was God-awful. Purcey, coming off a great spring, pitched like so many bags of so many asses and the team promptly gave up on him. He walked so many, sweats so much, and generally looked out of place the entire time (more on this in a minute.)
Before I dig too far into his split stats to decide if he'll ever get a right-handed batter out again in his life, let's look at the quality of his secondary pitches. Are the Jays right to ditch two of them?
|Whiff||OOZ (called balls)||Contact||BABIP|
I think Papi Walton and I are going to get along just fine. Ditching the two ineffective pitches could give Purcey a new lease on life, though it might spell the end of his days toeing a pristine rubber. Two pitch starters don't have the longest shelf life.
The change up was a pitch Purcey used almost exclusively against right-handers to pretty poor results. Trying to keep batters from sitting on your fastball is a good thing, but you're going to need to throw strikes with that change at least some of the time.
Realistically, I could write 700 more words on what David Purcey did/does against right-handed pitching to justify his place on the team, but it really isn't that complicated: he needs to throw strikes. He can't throw strikes with the curveball or the change, so he's ditching them.
If B.J. Ryan can ride a deceptive windup and two solid pitches to a huge contract and one of the better seasons by a reliever in Blue Jays history, David Purcey can become an effective high-leverage reliever. As uncomfortable as I am saying it, make up really makes a difference for guys like these.
From what I've seen, David Purcey pitches scared and can't wait to come out of games. His furtive glances into the dugout are many, his gutted out innings are few. Maybe he needs a change of scenery, as they say. A wake up call demanding he stay focused with every pitch, ensuring he makes the most out of his abundant physical gifts.
So can he close, or be the high-leverage guy if that's how you get down? I think so. Purcey's strikeout numbers are strong and he doesn't give up too many home runs. The walks are what kill him, doubly so out of the bullpen. A refined repertoire and a renewed outlook could make David Purcey a completely new pitcher.
* - it isn't catchy but I hope it sticks! PDHUMTU!!!1!
Reuters Photo? Guess. Pitch F/X data? Joe Lefkowitz!