2012 Blue Jays: Ricky Romero, J. A. Happ, Brandon Morrow

19 02 2013

From what I’ve seen of data on Ricky Romero, he seems to have lost just a little bit of his stuff – but that small bit is making a huge difference. Romero’s 2012 reminds me of Dave Stieb’s 1986: both pitchers were trying to do what they used to do, and it was no longer working. It took Stieb about two years to adjust, after which time he became an effective pitcher again (and started throwing a bunch of one-hitters). Unless Romero was suffering from an undisclosed injury, he will need to do the same thing: change his approach to pitching. And there’s no guarantee that the change will be a successful one.

I feel a bit sorry for J. A. Happ – he was expecting to be a rotation starter, and then the Jays went out and traded for three-fifths of a new rotation. But this is a sign of a good team – the Jays actually have useful players in reserve now. If one of the front five gets injured, the Jays no longer have to scour the minors or the waiver wire for warm bodies who might go five innings.

All the focus on the Jays’ newest starting pitchers has led some people to forget about Brandon Morrow. But he has a chance to be one of the very best starting pitchers in the American League this year. The Jays know this already – they’ve designated him their #2 starter, ahead of Mark Buerhle and Josh Johnson. The only troubling sign is that his strikeouts were down last year – he struck out 7.8 per 9 innings last year, down from over 10 the previous two. This means that we may have already seen the best of him.

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