Friday, 11 April 2008

Show A Little Finesse

After two pretty sad losses to two, left handed, finesse type pitchers, I began to wonder why the Jays struggled. After all, the Jays were facing two Southpaws! The Jays kill Southpaws! Damnit Gibbons, this is all your fault, isn't it?

Just to make sure it was Gibbons fault, so I could chime in with all the Gibbons playa haters, I checked the 2007 team stats against Finesse and power pitchers.

I will fully admit that using last years stats may not be the best way to figure it out. Wells wasn't healthy, Glaus is no longer on the team...but it should still give some indication of the teams strength going forward.

2007 vs finesse: 30/30 in OPS with 625
2007 vs power: 24/30 in OPS with 722

Hold the phones there kiddos - a 625 OPS against Finesse pitchers? The team drops their OPS by nearly 100 points of OPS when they faced a finesse pitcher in 2007. Does this trend stay true in 2008?

2008 vs power: 11/30 in OPS with 840
2008 vs finesse: Turns out ESPN doesn't believe the Jays faced a finesse pitcher...

HOWEVER, the team OPS is 725 right now. So if we assume they have an 840 OPS against power pitches, it's highly likely that the OPS against finesse pitchers is in the low 600's.

So what does this show?

First off, it isn't Gibbons fault. The Jays are absolutely crushing the ball when the opponents are bringing the heat. The problem arises when a finesse pitcher (like Smith, and I guess Eveland...he threw what, 90, 91 tops?) comes out and dazzles the Jays with a myriad of pitches in the mid to upper 80's.

There isn't a ton of evidence in 2008, but this squad seems to be incapable of hitting anything slower than 92 MPH. It's almost ironic in a way - coming into the season everyone thought Thomas was done and couldn't hit a 95 MPH fastball. Turns out, him and the rest of the team are the exact opposite. They could probably kill a guy like Verlander, a RHP who throws 95-98 MPH. But throw them a lefty who couldn't hit 90 if his life depended on it, and the Jays might as well throw out McDonald at the clean up spot, cause as a team they're not doing much better against those "crafty" finesse pitchers.

In another month or two when there's enough evidence one way or another on finesse pitchers, I'll check back to see if the trend continues.


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