First, they gave us David Purcey. The flame throwing ginger had his moments of dominance (notably against the Tampa Bay DEVIL Rays), but ultimately, had no clue where the ball was headed when it left his confused left hand. The verdict? Fail, for now.
Next, the much maligned Ricardo Romero joined the rotation. It doesn't take Judge Wapner (or maybe Judge Joe Brown for the kids out there) to decide that case. Win, boners, etc. You get the picture.
We've had a few (mostly sour) tastes of Franchise Cecil and the allegedly gutsy Brad Mills (who, coincidentally, has a mysterious case of bruised ribs after dominating in his last AAA start). It's far too early to render a decision on these kids - cases remanded.
Next up, Marc Rzepczyncrosbystillsnashandyoungczepczynski. Or Rzepczynski for short. Let's just go with R-Zep.
Full disclosure, I've had a minor-league man-crush on R-Zep for a few seasons - he's one of those guys who seems to put up good numbers as he advances through the system, but fails to garner the attention or respect he might possibly deserve for a variety of reasons:
Reason #1: "He's too old for the level he's pitching in."
As one of those notorious Ricciardi draft "polished college arms", this may have been true early in his pro career. But in 2009, we're talking about a 23 year old pitcher succeeding at the upper levels of the minor leagues. So fuck that reason.
Reason #2: "He lacks a true out pitch."
I'm not a professional baseball scout (can you tell?), but the following '09 numbers indicate to me that R-Zep is missing enough bats: 88IP, 104K. Get the hell out of town, Reason #2.
Reason #3: "His name is too difficult to spell in order to sustain a successful major league career."
OK, so I made that one up, but I said "variety of reasons", so I couldn't very well end with just two factors working against him. Besides, it's not that hard....R-Zep-czyn-ski. Dig it.
Turning serious for a minute, there are some warning signs, like 40BB in 88 minor league innings this season, so control could be an issue (please, not Purcey 2.0...). But offsetting that is the fact that R-Zep is an extreme ground ball pitcher, and playing behind the Jays' superior infield defense will be a huge benefit that he wouldn't have received in the minors. He's also not going to blow his high 80's/low 90's fastball past major league hitters, so he's going to have to spot the pitch accordingly (read: down in the zone) and throw his breaking stuff for strikes.
Baseball Prospectus (buy it - trust me on this) calls him a "lefty starter with a bowling-ball sinker, a good curve, and a decent change that also sinks, making it nearly impossible for hitters to get the ball in the air off him." Boners.
Bottom line - I'm excited about Marc Rzepczynski. And if Carlos Pena hits a Werthian blast off him in his debut....then free Fabio Castro, The Great Southpaw Hope, pt VI!
(...and Buck Coats. We must always work to free Buck Coats.)