Long weekend is upon us, and that can mean only one thing - bonus Ack coverage! So, yeah....apologies in advance for that. And if I'm mowin' the Tao's lawn with this additional post, you'll know by my sudden disappearance from the interweb. He's brutal like that, man.
Truth be told, I was happy to rest on my laurels and call it a weekend, until I was spurred on by a comment over at DJF : to paraphrase, Kyle Drabek hasn't lived up to the hype and won't amount to much as a big leaguer. Mix in ongoing commentary in the media & beyond about how the system lacks that true #1, that hammer, that Ace that all contenders have....and boom - inspiration.
So, has Drabek been as good as the advance press clippings indicated he should be? Consider the following statistics:
Wins (yeah, I know...): 11 (1st in AA Eastern League)
ERA: 3.04 (6th)
Innings Pitched: 136.0 (2nd - vs 108 hits allowed)
K's: 103 (3rd, and while well below K/IP, note that not one pitcher in the top-20 exceeds 9 K/9)
WHIP: 1.18 (5th - walks allowed could use some work)
Oh, and there was this line on July 4th: 9 IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 2BB, 3K
...and he's still just 22. Far from old for the league he's pitching in. So given those statistics....does that look like disappointment to you? And given the mid-90's fastball, hammer curve, and developing change (it's the Blue Jays - you know it'll get there....), does it not seem like this could be the type of pitcher who can be The Guy? And if it doesn't, I'll ask you to tell yourself the following:
He'll never be Roy Halladay. OK?
Some point to his lack of promotion to AAA Vegas as a sign of disappointment, but if it's me, I never let the kid see one inning pitched in that league. New Hampshire is likely the best place for his development, and it's where he should stay until Jays' brass determine he's ready for his debut.
And about that debut....it is possible the Jays give Drabek a taste of major league life before he reaches his innings limit and is shut down for the season. What better way to prepare for a run at the 2011 rotation than to give the future ace a quick tour of life in the bigs?
Wild conspiracy theories: Latin America
So, I was thinking, as I tend to do only occasionally.....is it possible that Alex Anthopoulos was further inclined to not trade Jose Bautista as part of his master plan to strengthen the Jays' foothold in Latin America?
Yes, I know - take off the tinfoil hat, etc. But think about it: the Jays have been making all kinds of noise about becoming the "preferred destination" for these players - a notion stated publicly by the front office (if not indirectly), and further strengthened by the recent aggressive signings these past few months of 16 year old phenoms along with the acquisition of "misunderstood" SS genius Escobar.
And who was tapped to be Esco's mentor? Jose Bautista. And who would make the perfect figurehead to point towards and say "look at how this player thrived in our organization"? Jose Bautista.
Perhaps there's nothing at all to this rambling, but perhaps the lack of appetite to move The Player has deeper roots than previously thought. And with the way Bautista continues to play for this club....that's a good thing.