Marc Rzepczynski showed his best stuff last weekend in a start against the Angels. The two-seamer was diving and the ground balls rolled like heads at Sportsnet One if Bell doesn't sign on. It was a virtuoso performance.
One start later, R-Zep struggled badly against the weirdest team in baseball aka the Oakland A's. (Seriously, what an odd collection of oddities. ) What was the problem? Not enough sink in the sinker? Let's take a look, though I think the answer is much more obvious.
Remember this is our movement chart, plotting horizontal movement against vertical. I moved away from using this plot because it gets quite muddy. We see a little less horizontal break on the curve, for what that's worth. The fastball/sinker/changeup area looks a little muddy. Let's try to clean it up by measuring vertical break against the velocity of the pitch.
A little more clear, but nothing jumps out as being an obvious cause of his struggles. Am I overthinking? Looking for flat fastballs when the culprit lies elsewhere? It wouldn't be the first time I look for something cool and gimmicky when the answer is just good, old-fashioned, suckiness. Allow me to present what will have to stand in for The Smoking Gun.
There really isn't much more to add. Get ahead. R-Zep already gets life-saving ground balls (50% of the time) and misses a few bats here and there. Just get ahead. Strike one - the most important pitch in baseball. Simple but effective.
If it was as easy to throw strike one as it is to say "get ahead", this wouldn't be an issue. But, again, all this stuff adds up to a guy like Marc Rzepczynski being a valuable guy as the Jays move forward. If Jesse Litsch was a good fifth starter then somebody with R-Zep's skill set can be much more. People love to focus on big righties like Chad Jenkins or Henderson Alvarez, but I think Marc Rzepczynski might be one to hold on to.