So, we know that Brian Tallet, Robert Ray, and Brett Cecil have done an outstanding job of filling in the rotation this season, and that Scott Richmond has similarly done an excellent job since breaking camp as the 5th starter. We've also talked a lot about Casey Janssen, who is lighting up the minors, and Ricky Romero, who is not, both of whom are waiting to get back into the majors, and Jesse Litsch, who is rehabbing his injury and should be ready to return in June sometime. And finally, we've talked about Fabio Castro and Brad Mills, both of whom are pitching extremely well in the minors right now.
But now we seem to have yet another wrinkle. David Purcey started the second game for the Jays this season and did a fine job, yielding 3 runs over 7 innings while striking out 5 and walking three. However, his subsequent 4 starts were not nearly as effective (the best of the bunch being a 5 1/3 innings, 6 K, 3 run effort) and Purcey was ultimately banished to the minors after a particularly poor start in which Purcey was both wild (55 of 93 pitches thrown for strikes, 3 walks over 5 innings) and way too hittable (3 HR and a triple and 8 hits in 5 innings), his ERA ballooning over 7. The message to the big lefty was clear - throw strikes or you have no place in the majors.
Purcey started AAA more or less like he left the Jays - he walked 8 batters (almost 1/inning) in his first two starts. However, his last two efforts have been a different story. On May 13, Purcey went 8 scoreless innings, striking out 7 and walking just 2, and yielded just three hits. In his most recent start, Purcey was similiarly successful, striking out 7 over 7 innings and giving up just 1 run, again walking just 2 batters. Just as significantly, Purcey threw 72 of his 110 pitches for strikes and got 10 groundouts to just 3 outs in the air. It's only two starts, but it appears as though Purcey may have recovered the improved control he demonstrated in the minor leagues last season, and in the majors after the all-star break when he became a permanent rotation member (his walk rate was under 3/9 IP once that happened, very good for someone with Purcey's K rate).
I'm not necessarily in any hurry to get Purcey back to the big leagues, but it is great to see him demonstrate improved control over his last two outings. Another good start and I would be comfortable calling him up if we needed to. The only problem is that he likely finds himself down on the depth chart now. So, I wanted to pose the following question, though certainly I hope that our current starting corps continues their excellent performance.
Out of Romero, Janssen, Purcey, Castro, Mills, Purcey, and why not, Wade Miller (no Burres, haha, I'm assuming he's last), what does your depth chart look like in terms of in what order would you call up these starters? Who would you be most comfortable, maybe even excited, about penciling into the rotation should a change need to be made?
Lastly , i do think we should acknowledge the work General Manager J.P. Ricciardi did in assembling this group of quality pitchers. They have come through the first round (Romero, Purcey, Cecil, McGowan) and subsequent rounds (Janssen, Mills, Ray, Litsch, Marcum) of the draft, through trades (Castro) and no-cost pickups (Tallet, Richmond), and they have done a fine job.
Today's post by Ottawa's own alt.country songstress Kathleen Edwards