clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Gameday Breakdown Or Something: Blue Jays @ White Sox 4/24

Vs. Brian Tallet (LHP)

Tallet is filling in for Jesse Litsch, who strained a flexor tendon (BP paywall).  He's been a fulltime reliever since the Jays acquired him in 2006, but he's a good candidate for spot starting thanks to his 6'7'' frame and non-LOOGY status. This does mean that my data sample isn't as good, so keep that in mind.

Despite his good height, his fastball has only average velocity for a lefty and his four seamer in particular isn't very good.  It does look like he has a sinker and a cutter to round out a pretty full fastball arsenal.  Kalk's algorithm thinks the cutter is a splitter and I suppose it might be, but it thinks almost everybody has a splitter whereas the opposite is true.  In any case, the cutter is used at least as much as the four-seamer, while the sinker may or may not actually exist.  If we see something with a lot of ride thrown when he needs groundouts, we'll know one way or the other.

To RHB, he mixes the cutter and straight four seam about equally, but batters tee off on the latter, thanks to mediocre velocity and movement.  The cutter on the other hand was Buehrlesque in '08, inducing many a soft yet risqué ground out.  I'm guessing he does much the same to lefties, though the sample says he threw the four seamer even less and the cutter more.

Keep in mind that this is all the first time through for most batters and that he's probably going to be throwing somewhat harder in relief appearances.  How much velocity and movement he loses making the transition should be pretty evident.  If he's in the 90's at all, he could be better than the usual replacement starter thanks to his ability to avoid the HR and get groundouts.

Likewise, I expect the excellent whiff rates on his offspeed stuff to fall.  It's a usual combo: slider to lefties, change to righties, though it appears that he's prone to leaving them up in the zone.  His career walk rate is about 4 per 9 and it wasn't much better in '08.  The data sample doesn't really say the same, however. 

It suggests at least that he doesn't have problems throwing strikes.  If he's walking batters anyway, it may be that his stuff simply isn't that great and that his elevated K rate is a function of being a reliever.  If all you do is look at his fangraphs, it's pretty easy to conclude as much.  He's a failed starter without impressive velocity who's only starting because of yet another injury to a Jays pitcher.  The takeaway from the pfx stuff is that he'll have less dire splits than a normal lefty against the Sox lineup and he's a fairly capable reliever.

Gavin Floyd vs. Blue Jay Hitters

Unlike Baltimore, the Jays do not possess a ton of left handed pop.  Nobody is afraid of Lyle Overbay.  The scarier bits come in the form of Travis Snider and Adam Lind, who also comprise much of the youth on the Toronto 25 man roster.  Snider is an all everything prospect whom the Jay's are currently protecting by batting him ninth.  This has not stopped him from going off to the tune of .270/.341/.649.  That's a lot more pop than was expected of him, but he's undoubtedly talented.  PECOTA expected him to be dangerous enough to RHP as it is: .259/.340/.482 is pretty solid for a 21 year old.  Lind, four years older, is expected to put up a similar line.

This is somewhat fortunate, as Gavin's stuff against LHB is somewhat inconsistent.  Developing a change-up he trusts to throw in all counts would go a long way, but he's not there with the pitch yet.  He allowed a .259/.340/.485 in '08 using his big hairy breaking balls much more than the change against LHB, despite a .261 BABIP.  He was much better against RHB:.226/.279/.380 on a .259 BABIP.  All of which led PECOTA to spit out:

vs. LHB: .278/.365/.471

vs. RHB: .265/.334/.429

Obviously, it doesn't like Gavin as much as the SSS faithful and much of that has to do with an expected 30 point regression in BABIP.  Even if the expected regression is less, it's clear that Gavin is going to have to improve on last year in order to keep his stat line in order.  Cheat and I like him to do just that and so far he's bumped his K rate, his change usage and cut HR/9 despite a homerific environment in April so far.  He had a walk fest against Detroit, but I don't think that's going to curb enthusiasm for what we see in Gavin when he takes the bump these days.  This is exactly the kind of lineup that the kind of pitcher we think he can be should shred.