Friday, January 16, 2009

Who says the Blue Jays don't have a Price?

Let's say I laid out the following (career to date) minor league stat lines for you:

Prospect A: 109.2 IP, 109 K, 1.13 WHIP

Prospect B: 168.1 IP, 185 K, 1.12 WHIP

Now let's assume I told you that both were left handed, and Prospect B was actually a full year younger than Prospect A. Both were highly touted draft picks, with Prospect A going first overall in the 2007 player draft, and Prospect B arriving just 37 picks later.

If you were a fan of either prospect's team, it's safe to say you would (and should) be excited about the thought of either player in a big league uni, correct? And if you were basing a decision on the raw data (as presented above) alone, you'd probably even take Prospect B over Prospect A, no?

So humor me this: why is it that Tampa fans, and the baseball world in general, are sprouting a massive crop of boners for Prospect A (David Price), while Prospect B (Brett Cecil) receives middling "he looks like he can be a nice little player" buzz?

Now, I'm not a complete imbecile, and I know you need to look beyond minor league stats to predict future success. I know that David Price does have ridiculous stuff - though our guy Cecil is said to have a plus fastball, a NAILS slider, and a workable change (ie: he's no shitballer getting by on deception). I also know that Price has arrived, so to speak, by staring down the opposition in last year's postseason, while Cecil has yet to toe the rubber beyond AAA. But am I the only one out there who thinks that we might be, just maaaaybe, overlooking what Cecil can bring to this ballclub - either later this season or in 2010?

(....and yes, readers, I know that I covered this ground in the comments section a few posts ago, but the more I looked at it, the more confused I became regarding the disparity of attention given to these two. That, and it's mid-January with not a whole lot of earth shattering Jays news out there.)

Ricciardi vs Rogers
Lots of talk in the blogosphere these days regarding the team's lack of spending, and who's to blame for the do-nothing offseason strategy for the boys in blue, err....black, pewter, and blue, err....the Blue Jays. Let's set the record straight, once and for all:

You might hate JP Ricciardi for any number of reasons, be it his trading success, his minor league building, his handling of the media, the fact that he makes more money than you while you remain convinced you could do his job much more effectively.....whatever. The simple truth is that it's not JP's call to not spend any money this winter - so if this is colouring your judgement of the GM, well, quite frankly, you're shitting down the wrong tree (yes, I did that intentionally).

You honestly think that he enjoys sitting out the offseason and watching coveted veterans sign at reduced prices?

Memo to the Beest
Get on with it already, man!

31 comments:

eyebleaf said...

Your consistent use of "nails" is nothing short of tremendous.

Tao of Stieb said...

Somehow, describing a slider as NAILS makes it seem so nasty.

Our knees buckle just reading it that way.

(And talking nasty sliders is oh-so-appropriate for a blog named after a Dave we know who threw them like nobody's business.)

The Southpaw said...

I've been beating the drum on the Price/Cecil comparison since at least August but no one seems to be listening to me.

I hope you have better luck.

The Ack said...

eyebleaf - fantastic use of "tremendous". I'm a fan.

subconscious hat tip to the Southpaw....

Tao, I was a ha-uge Stieb guy from the beginning, and was hypnotized watching his magical slider fall off the table to the chagrin of hapless foes. The name is probably what drew me to this blog in the first place.

Lloyd the Barber said...

Will was the man that first turned me on to the Price/Cecil comparison, full credit and fair play to you.

Anonymous said...

JP is almost definitely a lame duck GM, so there's not much point bitching about him.

But still . . . can't the guy hire a good manager ?

It makes sense that he hired a someone he knew since it was his first time as a GM, but did he have to hire a streetbrawling redneck ? (Although streetbrawling rednecks are pretty fucking awesome in different contexts). That's the kind of guy who alienates and makes bad vibes for the players. By mid-2008 Rios was so depressed that all he wanted to do was go home, play bongo drums, and wear tie-dyed t-shirts. If it wasn't for the Gibbons fiasco they wouldn't have had to dig up Cito who knows his hitting, but can't seem to manage handling the bullpen

Ian H. said...

I think that since Price saved game 7 of the ALCS, a lot of people took notice. Since he pitched in front of the entire baseball world, he received a lot of attention. But you're right, compared to Cecil they're pretty much the same!

Anonymous said...

Have u guys heard anything lately of movin Downs 2 the rotation?

-Neal

abigail breslin said...

God bless you tao for trying to cheer us up in this jeer worthy winter.

Anonymous said...

It's the story. People have been looking at the Rays' prospect lists for forever because they have so many high draft picks. The American media will only look at the Jays or prospects when they grudgingly have to because something happened.
-brent in Korea

Andy Mc said...

Just another example of our deep pitching. I think this is why Wilner keeps mentioning 2010:

Halladay
Marcum
McGowan
Cecil
Litch

Purcey

Andy Mc said...

*Litsch, oops.

Anonymous said...

There's also the fact that Cecil is seeing a huge increase in innings since being a cloesr in college, so like Marcum his pitching arm is probably going to shatter into a million different pieces.

Tao of Stieb said...

If there's one thing that you can count on from an anonymous commenter, it's hyperbole.

Andy Mc said...

indeed.

Anonymous said...

They needed Johnny Mac out there to catch all the pieces ?!?!!

Anonymous said...

If there's one thing that you can count on from an anonymous commenter, it's hyperbole.

idk, have you seen Marcum's arm recently?

Anonymous said...

Hyperbole yes but does anyone really doubt that Cecil is going to need Tommy John within 5 years?

Torgen said...

5 years is an eternity. What is it in Cecil's mechanics that makes you think he's an injury risk?

Anonymous said...

Comparing Cecil to Price might be hyperbole

Torgen said...

Comparing Cecil's stats to Price's isn't hyberbole, and if dominating minor league hitters was so easy that Cecil could do it, then why didn't Price bother?

Cubs Fan said...

"So humor me this: why is it that Tampa fans, and the baseball world in general, are sprouting a massive crop of boners for Prospect A (David Price), while Prospect B (Brett Cecil) receives middling "he looks like he can be a nice little player" buzz?"

Cecil might be a solid MLB pitcher down the road, I have no idea, but why would anyone outside of the Big Smoke be "hyping" this guy? I'll admit I've never seen him pitch, but from looking at his stats, Cecil accumulated most of his numbers at A & AA. Looks like he didn't fare so well in AAA.
David Price, in very very limited action albeit, has shown he can be a solid pitcher in the big leagues (in big games). Simple as that.

The Ack said...

Price did look great in the playoffs, though a little wild, but how did his AAA numbers look? I'd hardly call a few playoff games enough of a sample size to anoint him a big-time, big-game pitcher......yet.

I've no doubt Price will be a star....but the point of the post was, hey - maybe we have something here in Cecil.

Why hype Cecil? Why hype Jeff Samrdzidjzdjadja? He gets way more pub than a guy like Cecil does (for example).

....and the Price hype started way before the playoff appearance. He's been touted as the next big thing since before his first professional appearance.

Cubs fan said...

Point taken. I agree you probably have something in Cecil. Price was the #1 overall pick - thus, he's going to generate hype. It goes with the territory, whether it's warranted or not. I didn't check Price's stats - I guess they are as unimpressive as Cecil's AAA stats. And I didn't mean to imply that Price was now a "big game" pitcher because of what he did in the '08 playoffs. Pitched well though.

As far as Samrdidiadfajzadfasdja, he gets lots of pub 'cause he played Irish football...I think it's stupid - big deal. Pretty silly reason if you ask me.

The Ack said...

cheers.

I'm just looking for something beyond our collective Blue Jay doom and gloom.

Anonymous said...

5 years is an eternity. What is it in Cecil's mechanics that makes you think he's an injury risk?

if you want to preserve a young pitcher's arm you want an inning increase of no more than 25-35 innings per year. last year he saw an innings increase of almost 70.

idk who the jays training staff are but they really blow at handling young pitchers

Cubs Fan said...

Anonymous, how do you account for guys like Greg Maddux, Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, and countless other "old time" pitchers who threw way too many pitches and innings and should be armless by now?

halejon said...

I think the answer is that minor league stats are a good guide, but you have to read between the lines more than you do for a finished, polished major league pitcher.

E.g: if you've got nothing but a good high fastball, you can get away for years with just pumping it past hitters up in the zone in the lower levels. Big league hitters will just let it go and if that's all you've got, you're screwed.

In Cecil's case, it was said when he was drafted that he had pretty much a major league ready slider. That is going to completely destroy A/AA guys who have never seen anything like it before, but when he gets to the bigs he'd better have a deeper repertoire or something else to rely on or else it's going to be just another MLB slider with nothing to back it up.

Despite similar numbers so far, Price is a much more complete pitcher at this point which is why scouts and not just fans are going ape over him.

One more sketchy example is the Chip Cannons of the world, who can only hit mistake fastballs. Looks amazing in A ball and the winter leagues, but any talent evaluator worth his salt knows that it's not going to translate in the same way as more well-rounded hitters with similar numbers as he moves up.

The Ack said...

Some redemption - Keith Law was kind in his Top 100 prospects list released today - Cecil checks in at #43 and is billed as a potential #2 if his arm holds up.

Price was #1, but I'm good with that.

The Ack said...

correction, Price was #2....

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, how do you account for guys like Greg Maddux, Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, and countless other "old time" pitchers who threw way too many pitches and innings and should be armless by now?

idk i am not familiar with their minor league stats and the innings increases they saw from 18-25 when they were going through the minors.

of course i am familiar with the relevant research (i did not pull the 25-35 number out my ass), as well i am familiar with no just the handling of Marcum ("what you are fatigued? GET BACK OUT THERE SISSY") but also the idiotic handling of McGowan ("torn rotator cuff? KEEP PITCHING")

otoh if cecil turns out to be maddux that would be pfuckin awesome