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Janssen's Struggles Continue

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  • Last night, Casey Janssen lost his third straight decision, and is now 1-6 in his last seven decisions. In that span (since June 7), his ERA has risen from a very respectable 3.07 to a very mediocre 5.18.

    First 9 GP:

    W-L     ERA     K/9     BB/9
    5-3     3.07     4.7    1.4

    Last 8 GP:

    W-L     ERA     K/9     BB/9
    1-6     6.25     3.1      2.5

    At the beginning of June, Janssen was arguably the team's second best pitcher, after Roy Halladay, of course. Ted Lilly's control was, well, out of control and A.J. Burnett was still on the DL. Janssen certainly wasn't fooling batters at an alarming rate, judging by his strikeout rate and his marginal stuff, but he made up for it with his impeccable control. At the time, however, he had a disproportionately low BABIP, which was, as it would turn out, unsustainable. Consider, for instance, his BABIP totals as the season's progressed (graph courtesy of Fan Graphs):

    When he's successful, he keeps the ball low, which tends to induce plenty of ground balls. However, as of late, his GB% has fallen off a cliff, while his FB% and LD% percentages have risen dramatically.

    Now, it'll be very difficult for him to sustain a BABIP close to .400, though it'll be just as difficult for him to reach his levels of April and May. His season has been one of extremes; either he's been very effective or very ineffective. Going forward, it's sensical to predict that he'll pitch at a level that lies between the two extremes he's demonstrated this season.

    It's important to remember, however, that Janssen was hardly a sure bet to even play this season, let alone stay in the rotation for the better part of the year. As of now, though, there aren't many other SP options to which the Blue Jays can turn. They've already received close to zero production from the fifth spot in the rotation, which leaves them with no one to fill in for Janssen. He'll be granted every opportunity to regain his form from earlier in the season, but everyone's patience is beginning to wear thin.

  • Somewhat old news, but Ty Taubenheim was recently placed on the DL with an infection in his left foot. As everyone knows, Alexis Rios is also on the DL with a similar injury. In fact, the team has taken the precaution of disinfecting the entire roster. Taubenheim, like Janssen, wasn't even supposed to make the team this season, but he earned the opportunity with a great stint in the minors.

    Continuing on with this injury-related motif, long relief artisan Pete Walker is gone for the season after tearing a rotator cuff in his right shoulder. Walker's never been a favourite of ours here at Banter, but no one ever wants to see this happen to anyone. Considering his age and his mediocre track record, this could signify the end of his career.

  • Kevin Goldstein posted some notes on a few Blue Jays prospects. Adam Lind, easily the team's most highly-regarded offensive prospect, has been on a tear all season. Here's what Kevin had to say:
    I've complained about outfielder Adam Lind's lack of power in the past, but at this point, it looks like I was just plain wrong. Lind is currently batting .309/.357/.536 and leading the league in home runs and RBIs while placing second in the batting race. The chances of him hitting enough to be an every day corner outfielder grow by the day.

    Conversely, Ricky Romero, last season's first round selection, is having a tough time this season:

    Now for where I've been right--2005 first-round pick Ricky Romero's lack of an out pitch is hurting him at the upper levels, as the lefty has a 8.00 ERA after five Eastern League starts, with just 13 strikeouts in 27 innings.

    It pains me (yes, both physically and emotionally) that the Blue Jays didn't draft Mike Pelfrey, unanimously regarded as the top pitcher in last season's draft, instead of Romero. He still could turn out to be a dependable middle-of-the-rotation starter, but Pelfrey could be something special.

    By the way, poster FisherCats has plenty of photos and video clips of minor league players (yes, even some of the Blue Jays') on his website. For those of us who are unable to attend minor league games, his site offers us a great glimpse of what otherwise would only appear to be names in boxscores.

  • A couple quick notes:
     
    • Rios is back in action with the Sky Chiefs. When I embark on my fantastical journey of five games in six days, from August 4-9, it'll be great to see him (barring any unforseen incident) in action.
    • Vernon Wells was named AL Player of the Week for the period ending July 23. You done good, boy.