Since the rumor mill has died down some, I thought we could just ask a question:
Which player in Blue Jays history did you have the highest hopes for, but didn't live up to your expectations?
For me, it would be Kyle Drabek.
We picked up Kyle in the Roy Halladay trade, along with Travis d'Arnaud and Michael Taylor. Taylor was swapped for Brett Wallace, who was swapped for Anthony Gose, who was swapped for Devon Travis. Who knows who we'll get for Travis.
Kyle seemed to be the big piece we were getting back, though d'Arnaud looked like he would be pretty good too. Drabek, to me, looked like someone who would become one of our top 3 starters,. I didn't expect him to become the next Roy Halladay, but he seemed to be the type that would be a good number two type for years to come.
In his 'meet the new Jay' post, Hugo wrote this about Drabek:
Drabek was drafted for his lively fastball and his big curveball, two pitches which put him squarely in the "power pitcher" category. He didn't pitch for very long in the minors, though, before blowing out his elbow and requiring Tommy John surgery. The Phillies were concerned about how Drabek might respond and hooked him up with a career minor leaguer, Mike Zagurski, as a roomate, and the two developed a good friendship. Maybe it worked, or maybe their concerns were misplaced, because Drabek has really come along way since that surgery - altering his mechanics and working on his change-up, a crucial third pitch that Drabek admits still needs more work. Having a major-league quality change will be crucial to making Drabek's fastball as effective as it can be.
Drabek only made 8 starts in 2008, but did well in his first taste of A ball. 2009, though, was a very big year for Kyle. He pitched at advanced A and AA, making 15 starts at AA, showing why he was so well regarded coming out of the draft, and not seeming to show any lingering effects from his ligament replacement. Overall, Drabek put up a 3.19 ERA over 158 innings, actually a bit of an alarming increase from 2008 - but nice that his arm strength is at that level. He struck out 150 and walked 50 over that span, putting up very impressive K and walk rates - the walk rate is especially impressive for a young power pitcher. Drabek's MO on the mound is pretty simple - attack the zone with a first-pitch strike, typically with his fastball. When he's ahead of the hitter, he uses the curve to put them away.
Hugo figured him to start the 2010 and likely make the major in 2011. He went right to the top of our Prospect Lists 2010 and 2011.(following him in the top 10 in 2011 were Brett Lawrie, Zach Stewart, J.P. Arencibia, Adeiny Hechavarria, Anthony Gose. Deck McGuire. Travis d'Arnaud, Carlos Perez and Jake Marisnick).
He seemed like a can't miss prospect. Baseball Prospectus had him on their top 100 prospects list in 2007 (99th), 2009 (92th), 2010 (16th) and 2011 (14th). His dad was a former Cy Young winner. All seemed good.
At least until he pitched in the majors. Then, suddenly, he couldn't find the strike zone with both hands and a compass. In 78 MLB innings, in 2011, he walked 55. In 2012 he walked 47 in 71 innings and despite the best efforts of the Jays coaching staffs, things haven't improved since. Kyle turns 27 in a few days, now my highest hope is that he become a long man out of the pen and that seems like a very long shot. I'm surprised the Jays have kept him on the 40-man roster.
Anyway, that's my choice. Who would you pick?