Top 55 All-Time Greatest Blue Jays: #50 Scott Downs

Scott Jeremy Downs | LHP | 2005 - 2010

Scott Downs as a Jay:

2005 29 4 3 4.31 26 13 0 0 94.0 93 49 45 12 34 0 75 5 3 407 104 1.351
2006 30 6 2 4.09 59 5 13 1 77.0 73 38 35 9 30 6 61 2 7 327 112 1.338
2007 31 4 2 2.17 81 0 13 1 58.0 47 15 14 3 24 3 57 1 2 239 207 1.224
2008 32 0 3 1.78 66 0 14 5 70.2 54 15 14 3 27 7 57 4 3 290 238 1.146
2009 33 1 3 3.09 48 0 24 9 46.2 46 18 16 4 13 1 43 2 1 200 144 1.264
2010 34 5 5 2.64 67 0 14 0 61.1 47 19 18 3 14 3 48 4 1 241 159 0.995
TOR (6 yrs) 20 18 3.13 347 18 78 16 407.2 360 154 142 34 142 20 341 18 17 1704 141 1.231

Scott Downs was born March 17, 1976 in Louisville, Kentucky. He was drafted in the 3rd round of the 1997 amateur draft. Before he made the majors he was traded to the Twins for Mike Morgan. Then 6 months later he was traded back to the Cubs with Rick Aguilera for Kyle Lohse and Jason Ryan.

His nickname, Snakeface, came from Jay's broadcaster Mike Wilner. Wilner was mocking a Jays Talk caller who said that Downs needed something to strike fear in the hearts of batters, that he is too 'baby faced' to intimidate opponents. So Mike said that Scott had gotten a snake tattoo on his face, to scare batters.

Downs make it to the majors in 2000, making 18 starts for the Cubs before being traded to the Expos for Rondell White. He made 1 start for the Expos then spent most of the next 3 years having and recovering from 2 Tommy John surgeries. He was back in the majors in 2004 and made 12 starts for the Expos going 3-6 with a 5.14 ERA. He also pitched a no-hitter for the Edmonton Trappers, the Expos Triple-A team, against the Las Vegas 51's that year. After that season he signed with as a free agent with the Blue Jays. Who says JP Ricciardi never did anything right?

In 2005 he made 13 starts for the Jays and came out of the pen for them 13 times finishing with a 4-3 record and a 4.31 ERA. In 2006 he was moved to the pen, pretty much full time except for 5 spot starts. In 59 games he was 6-2, 1 save and a 4.09 ERA. Many starters who become relievers find success by throwing fewer types of pitches throwing their best pitches more often. As a reliever, Down became pretty much a two pitch pitcher, throwing a curve and a sinking fastball that gets him a lot of ground ball outs.

In 2007 he became a very valuable pitcher; pitching in  81 games (tying for the AL lead in games pitched) as a one out lefty type he had a 4-2 record with a 2.17 ERA. Manager John Gibbons would have used him every game (except for the ones that Roy Haladay finished) if he could have. Downs held up to the workload very well.

2008 he worked his way into the setup role. Cito seemed to use him in every game that we were ahead and often when we were behind. He pitched multiple innings several times and he was having one of the best seasons we've ever had from a setup man, till he twisted an ankle late in the season. He likely should have been allowed to rest the ankle longer but you can't blame Cito for wanting to keep using him. He had been a sure thing every time out until then. He finished with a 1.78 ERA in 70.2 innings, with 27 walks, and 57 strikeouts and, by Fangraphs figures, had his best season as a Jays, earning a 1.4 WAR.

In 2009 Downs shared the closer role with Jason Frasor. Downs picked up 9 saves, Jasor 11. Downs landed on the DL with a sprained toe. He finished with a 3.09 ERA allowing 46 hits in 46.2 innings, 13 walks and 43 strikeouts. He also had 10 holds.

2010 was his Scott's last season with the Jays and it was another good year, he went 5-5, with a 2.64 ERA. In 61.1 innings he allowed 47 hits, 14 walks and had 48 strikeouts earning 26 holds.

After the season he signed a 3 year/$15 million contract with the Angels, gaining us a draft pick (who turned out to be Jacob Anderson). Downs has been as good and consistent as any left-handed reliever in baseball. As much as Downs was a favorite of mine and we could have used him in 2011, I'm happy to get the draft pick for him. $15 million is too much for a middle reliever to me.

Scott is married and has two children. He writes the initials of his children, Katherine Grayson and Harrison, in the in the dirt in the back of the mound when he pitches.

Scott Downs rankings on the Jay's pitchers leader board:

Games: 7th, 347
Innings pitched: 37th, 407.2
Strikeouts: 25th, 341

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