clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Favourite Player: Setup Man

New, 28 comments

Who was your favourite setup man?

Dan Plesac

Position player polls: C / 1B / 2B / SS / 3B / LF / CF / RF / DH / Bench

Starter polls: Ace / #2 Starter / Pre-2000 Mid / Post-2000 Mid / Heartbreak / Single Season / Backend

Reliever polls: Middle reliever

As we continue our move through the bullpen, today we land on setup men. Please keep in mind that Duane Ward will show up on the Closer’s list.

Mike Timlin (1991-1997)

The Blue Jays drafted Timlin in the 5th round of the 1987 draft, the same round the Jays took Pat Hentgen in a year earlier. Something about that 5th round pick becoming a great pitcher for the Jays.

Timlin made his debut in 1991, making 3 starts and 60 relief appearances, finishing 6th in the Rookie of the Year voting that season. From there, he had a couple rough years before really taking off in 1995, which earned him closer duties in 1996, and made him a valuable trade commodity at the trade deadline in 1997. At that deadline, the Jays traded Timlin and Paul Spoljaric for promising outfielder Jose Cruz Jr.

In the playoffs, Timlin wasn’t much of a factor. In the three ALCS that he played in with the Jays from 1991 to 1993, he allowed 6 runs (4 earned) over 9.1 innings. He pitched in all 4 losses to the Twins in the 1991 series, taking the 10th inning loss in Game 3, and blowing the lead in the decisive Game 5. In the two World Series, he pitched 3.2 shutout innings, allowing just 2 hits and striking out 4. He was also the one who got the final out of the 1992 World Series.

Paul Quantrill (1996-2001)

The Blue Jays picked up the Canadian Quantrill, a struggling starter, from the Phillies after the 1995 season. The Jays tried him in the rotation for the 1996 season, but after a 5-14 record with a 5.43 ERA, the starting experiment ended and they moved him to the bullpen.

Quantrill immediately proved that decision correct, putting up a 1.94 ERA over 88 innings out of the bullpen in 1997. Through his 5 years in the bullpen, Quantrill went 25-20 with a 3.05 ERA, picking up 15 saves and 86 holds. He threw at least 80 innings every season, save for the 1999 season when an offseason snowmobile accident kept him out for the first couple months.

Dan Plesac (1997-1999, 2001-2002)

Plesac joined the Jays prior to the 1997 via a trade with the Pirates. He took a brief break from the Jays to go play for the Diamondbacks, when the Jays received Tony Batista and John Frascatore in a June 1999 trade. But Plesac made his way back to the team in the winter of 2000, sticking around for just over a year before being shipped to the Phillies for Cliff Politte in May of 2002.

In total, Plesac threw 181.2 innings over 262 appearances for the Jays, getting a lot of work against left handers. Overall, he went 11-17 with a 4.21 ERA, although thanks to an exceptional strikeout rate (especially for the time) of 11.10 per 9 innings, he had a 3.39 FIP. He picked up 93 holds and 6 saves along the way.

Jason Frasor (2004-2011, 2012)

The Jays picked up Frasor right at the start of the 2004 season, sending future All Star Jayson Werth to the Dodgers. Frasor spent less than 10 games in the Minors before making his Major League debut that April, and sliding into the setup role by the beginning of May, and into the closer’s role by the end of the month. His 17 saves that year would be a career high, and account for nearly half of his 36 saves as a Blue Jay.

In total, Frasor leads all Blue Jay relievers in appearances, pitching in 505 games. He had a 25-29 record with a 3.73 ERA over 504.2 innings, with the 36 saves and 87 holds. He never made it to the playoffs with the Jays, but he did with the Royals, picking up a pair of wins in their 2014 run, including a win in the single game elimination Wild Card.

Scott Downs (2005-2010)

The Blue Jays picked up Downs as a Free Agent after the 2004 season, where he spent playing the final year in Montreal. The newly minted Nationals didn’t require his services anymore, and dropped him as one of their first moves as a new franchise.

Downs’ first year in Toronto was split between starting and relieving, and he went 4-3 with a 4.31 ERA. He made 5 more starts in 2005, but was getting settled in as a reliever. In 2006, he led the league with 81 appearances, pitching to a 2.17 ERA over 58 innings. He was even better the next season, throwing 70.2 innings with a 1.78 ERA.

Overall, across 407.2 innings in Toronto, Downs went 20-18 with a 3.13 ERA, but as a reliever that ERA was 2.59. He picked up 16 saves and 91 holds.

Brett Cecil (2009-2016)

The Jays drafted Cecil as a supplemental first round pick in 2007 as compensation for losing Justin Speier to Free Agency, making him the 38th overall pick. He rose through the Minors quite quickly, making his Major League debut on May 5, 2009, spending his first few seasons as a starter. Through 2012, he spent the majority of his time in the rotation, pitching to a 28-26 record with a 4.79 ERA over 74 starts and 13 relief appearances.

By the time 2013 rolled around, Cecil was in the bullpen full time, and made the All Star game as the rare non-closer relief pitcher. That started a very solid 4 year run out of the bullpen for Cecil, as he went 13-16 with a 2.90 ERA from 2013 to 2016. He collected 54 holds and 12 saves in the regular season for the Jays.

When the Jays finally made the playoffs again in 2015, Cecil was one of the key pitchers out of the bullpen. In the ALCS, he held the Rangers to a hit and a walk over a pair of shutout innings. However, he tore his calf muscle in the second game, taking him out of the playoffs and putting a dent in the Jays’ hopes. He was healthy for the 2016 run, and pitched 4 more shutout innings for the Jays.


Poll

Who was your favourite setup man?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Mike Timlin
    (60 votes)
  • 23%
    Paul Quantrill
    (81 votes)
  • 1%
    Dan Plesac
    (6 votes)
  • 13%
    Jason Frasor
    (45 votes)
  • 16%
    Scott Downs
    (55 votes)
  • 27%
    Brett Cecil
    (95 votes)
342 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who was your favourite setup man IF Duane Ward is included?

This poll is closed

  • 78%
    Duane Ward
    (114 votes)
  • 1%
    Mike Timlin
    (2 votes)
  • 3%
    Paul Quantrill
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Dan Plesac
    (0 votes)
  • 4%
    Jason Frasor
    (6 votes)
  • 4%
    Scott Downs
    (6 votes)
  • 8%
    Brett Cecil
    (13 votes)
146 votes total Vote Now