Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Final Piece of the Kevin Gregg Triforce

Vintage Kevin Gregg is not yet on display in Toronto, but it is only a matter of time. Not vintage like the supercool leather jacket your dad used to pull trim at the Gasworks back in the day, vintage as in "shitty like we all thought he was."

Kevin Gregg's 2010 is all about regression. Came out of the gate like an animal, striking out 14 while walking only 1 in April. The wheels steadily came off as the weeks rolled by until his most recent struggles. The culprit? Walks. Lots and lots of walks. Walks to shitty hitters, as I detailed yesterday. But Gregg's single greatest weakness is yet to surface, meaning plenty of fireworks for the rest of the season. Get ready for the tater tots.

Kevin Gregg serves it up more often than your kid sister after 3 Bud Light Limes. Gregg's great love of the gopher ball is what landed him in Toronto for a song in the first place. So far this year he's kept it in the yard, but fear not, it won't last.

With the walks will come a long, important talk with head cheerleader Bruce Walton. Gregg will take the mound with purpose, determined to throw strikes and challenge hitters. And challenge them he will, no doubt. Except the challenge won't be "here's my best stuff, do with it what you will", it will be more along the "I bet you can log a better time on the Tater Trot Tracker than the guy who just hit one so hard the ball peed a little." It's going to be ugly, yet glorious. This will not end well, but then again, it rarely does.

Prospect Porn is Not For the Faint

In all the hustle and bustle, a couple interesting tidbits on some of the Jays best young arms came down last week. The Futures game featured a few Jays farmhands, including Next Big Thing Henderson Alvarez. First piece of exciting information: Alvarez throws damn hard. Only one outing in an unusual circumstance, but the same held for all the other guys on the list. Weee, smoke! That's good, right?

Hold your horses, Jeremy Greenhouse of Baseball Analysts is about to stomp down on your youth and will to live.
Henderson Alvarez of the Blue Jays is currently starting, and impressing, in High-A, but to me he profiles more as a right-handed reliever. His best pitch appears to be a sweeping low-80s slider, and his hard fastball runs away from RHBs, so unless his changeup develops into something, Alvarez looks like a sinker/slider guy out of the pen.
Annnndddd wilt. That's no fun, at all. Sinker/slider guy out of the pen? Great. Jason Frasor is the next big thing. Why is it so hard to retire left handed batters? Scott Richmond should start a support group in Dunedin.

What about giant Canadian Trystan Magnuson?
Trystan Magnuson's best pitch is a cut fastball that comes in at 88, moving across the plate. He also throws a split-finger fastball at 88. And his actual fastball is only a bit harder at 92-93, which makes for a unique repertoire. I don't know how much success it'll have.
Unique repertoire is code for "difficult to pigeonhole", in my mind. Is Magnuson one good offspeed pitch away from climbing the ladder? Projectability means a lot when it comes to the kids, I've learned. Taking minor league numbers at face value is dangerous, as is dismissing them out of hand. Where these two guys fit in or end up is anyone's guess, but a hard throwing guy and a unique 3 pitch mix guy are certainly decent places to start.


  1. The thing that bothers me most about Gregg is the delusional excuse-making that he exhibits post game. He may "walk the whole ballpark" as Cito says, but to Gregg he "executed his pitches" and everyone should be able to see that. It is always someone else's fault.

  2. Drew, the interesting thing about Gregg is - at the beginning of the season, everyone said "AL East hitting is going to light Gregg up". His HR/9 is actually pretty low, but you're right on the account that he's walking guys like it's going out of style. 5.40 BB/9 is 5th in the American League among relief pitchers.

  3. Those aren't excuses Callum, that's THE CLOSER MENTALITY. Right??? Right??

    @Ian - the homers are coming. For every action there must an equal reaction. The walks will come down, then TATERS FOR ALL!


  4. "Kevin Gregg serves it up more often than your kid sister after 3 Bud Light Limes."

    I am betting there are a lot of guys reading this blog and wondering if said 'kid sister' does blind dates.

  5. I'm not sure, she's 'your' kid sister after all.

  6. I wouldn't worry about Alvarez. His best pitch according to multiple sources is his changeup. Also, his fastball last year was only 92-94 so he's picked up some velocity since then averaging 94-96 this year. His worst pitch last year, according to Baseball America, was his curveball, which I think Greenhouse is referring to as Alvarez throws more of a "slurve". Alvarez is a serious prospect.
    Magnusson on the other hand, much to the dismay of the maple boner set, is probably nothing special and will get exposed at higher levels.
    I agree with you about Gregg. When he blows up it will be spectacular.

  7. I really appreciate your use of the phrase "pull the trim" in this post.

  8. Y'know, ideally, Kevin Greg Regressionfest 2010 will happen with some other team, but I can't imagine that any other team would want him any more now that he's Kevin Gregg: Walk-Monger/Master Pitch Executor than they did in the offseason when he was still Kevin Gregg: Sorry About All Those Home Runs Last Year.

    He's been shaky ever since April ended, but up until recently he's just been kinda quietly bad at his job. Now that the trade deadline is in sight, he's picked a pretty shitty time to struggle so visibly.

  9. the question in my mind is what you do with Greggg the rest of the season. the Jays will need a closer next year and they ought to be grooming someone for the role, be it Downs or Purcey or someone else. Yet, my suspicion is that Clarence is going to insist on playing macho headgames with Gregg by sticking with his guy when he doesn't have it, or staring him down on the bench, or bringing him in for 4 outs rather than 3, or pitching him on back to back days, or god knows what else.

    does anyone think having Gregg as the closer after July 31st make this team better for '11 than any alternative? i don't, and i think the organization is hampering itself by sticking with Greeg at this point. they should declare the closer spot open, or hand it someone else. this experiment is over at 21 out of 25, 0-4, and a 1.47 WHIP.

  10. Latin sinker/slider guys always profile as relievers. Because North American scouts don't know how to project skinny Latin kids.

    Just ask Pedro Martinez.

  11. "Just ask Pedro Martinez."


  12. and his hard fastball runs away from RHBs

    wouldn't that make it a cutter....95mph cutter??? Mariano Mark II??

    Seriously, this greenhouse guy probably felt compelled to say something about a guy he's never seen prior to the inning in the Futures game.

    Law seems to be really impressed. He repeats that bullpen could be an option, but in the meantime has rated him above Tanner Scheppers, Grant Green, Dee Gordon and Zach Wheeler, among others. Boners back up1!!

  13. When was that photo taken?

    Gil: A cutter moves downwards a bit due to the pressure you need to apply in one of the seams, that Álvarez kid has a fastball that moves from side to side, a live fastball if you will, altough from the few innings i've seen him pitch, it seems he can also throw a cut fastball.

  14. "Kevin Gregg serves it up more often than your kid sister after 3 Bud Light Limes."

    Oh, Drew.

  15. Forget the ball, every time Gregg is out there doing his nibble, nibble, I pee a little.


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