Toronto Blue Jays 2010 Report Cards – Bullpen

The fifth and final segment of the 2010 report cards – the bullpen.

Note 1: Report Card grades are based on Performance on an absolute basis, vs. the rest of the AL, and vs. Expectations

Note 2: I’m using 50 IP as a cutoff for this column, meaning players such as David Purcey, Josh Roenicke, Rommie Lewis, and Jesse Carlson will not be graded.

Note 3: Brian Tallet’s numbers are for his relief appearances only and do not include his spot starts.

Kevin Gregg, Closer

Production: 63 games, 59.0 IP, 2 – 6, 37 SV, 3.51 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 58 K’s, 8.8 K/9

Rank among AL Closers (14 Closers): SV – T3rd, ERA – 10th, WHIP – 13th, K/9 – 8th

vs. Expectations: Average MLB Season pre-2010 (per Baseball Reference) – 68 IP, 3-4, 12 SV, 4.10 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 8.3 K/9

It’s true that very few of Kevin Gregg’s saves were of the dominant variety.  It’s true that his WHIP was the second worst among AL closers.  It’s true that he left Jays fans sweating during most of his appearances.  But let’s be honest for a second.  Kevin Gregg started the season as a co-setup man, and finished with the third highest save total in the American League.  The bottom line is that Cito asked him to enter the game in a save situation 43 different times, and he succeeded in 37 of them.  The 86% success rate was higher than Jonathan Papelbon and virtually identical to Mariano Rivera.  For a guy who lost the closer role in every season which he had it, tha’s not too bad at all.  He settled the bullpen after the early season struggles of Jason Frasor.  Better than expected.

Grade: B

Jason Frasor

Production: 69 games,  63.2 IP, 4 SV, 3 – 4, 3.68 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 65 K’s, 9.2 K/9

Rank among AL RP (50 RP with 50+ IP): Games – 14th, ERA – 31st, WHIP – 35th, K/9 – 14th

vs. Expectations: Average MLB Season pre-2010 (per Baseball Reference) – 59 IP, 3-4, 5 SV, 3.78 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 8.2 K/9

Take away an awful April and 2010 might have been a career year for Frasor.  He was named closer to start the season, but was so bad in April (8.38 ERA, 2.59 WHIP) that he lost the role outright to Gregg before the end of the month.  Pitching in less stressful situations he responded with a lights out May (0.82 ERA), and actually finished the season as a top-15 strikeout pitcher and one of the most dependable Toronto relievers.  When all was said and done his final numbers closely matched his average season, so in reality he met expectations.  But it’s hard to ignore April and what might have been…

Grade: B-

Scott Downs

Production: 67 games, 61.1 IP, 5 – 5, 2.64 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 48 K’s, 7.1 K/9

Rank among AL RP (50 RP with 50+ IP): Games – 16th, ERA – 10th, WHIP – 6th, K/9 – 29th

vs. Expectations: Average MLB Season pre-2010 (per Baseball Reference) – 69 IP, 3-3, 3.22 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 7.6 K/9

Scott Downs has evolved into one of the top left handed relievers in all of Major League Baseball.  His 2010 campaign was a typical lights out performance – 60+ IP, a sub 2.70 ERA, and a 1.00 WHIP.  He was dominant in the first half (2.65 ERA) and in the second half (2.63 ERA), good at home (3.54 ERA) and great on the road (1.89 ERA), tough against right handed hitters (.243 BAA) unhittable vs. lefties (.152 BAA).  He could pitch in the 7th, the 8th, the 9th, or extra innings, in a tie game or with the Jays ahead.  He was as dependable as they come.  The anchor.

Grade: A

Shawn Camp

Production: 70 games, 72.1 IP, 4 – 3, 2.99 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 46 K’s, 5.7 K/9

Rank among AL RP (50 RP with 50+ IP): Games – T9th, ERA – 15th, WHIP – 19th, K/9 – 43rd

vs. Expectations: Average MLB Season pre-2010 (per Baseball Reference) – 58 IP, 2-3, 4.74 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 6.6 K/9

Camp pretty much blew his career numbers out of the water in 2010, setting a career best in appearances, ERA, and WHIP.  Once a cast off from the lowly Devil Rays bullpen, Camp has blossomed with the Jays, improving every year he’s been here (since 2008).  Though not a strikeout pitcher, he proved he could get out of jams with control and by pitching to the defense.  He was consistent for much of the year and will likely be a key component in 2011.

Grade: A-

Casey Janssen

Production: 56 games, 68.2 IP, 5 – 2, 3.67 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 63 K’s, 8.3 K/9

Rank among AL RP (50 RP with 50+ IP): Games – T36th, ERA – 30th, WHIP – 36th, K/9 – 22nd

vs. Expectations: Average MLB Season pre-2010 (per Baseball Reference) – 56 IP, 2-4, 3.59 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 5.0 K/9

Janssen was kind of the forgotten man in the Jays bullpen.  He seemed to be a garbage time reliever, making apperances when games were out of hand.  For a guy thought to be a potential fifth starter that is quite a demotion.  His stats are as good as they could be for those kind of spots, and he actually managed to set a new career high in K/9 – by a mile.  He did well with what he was given, which admittedly wasn’t a lot.  Will he be trusted with a bigger role next year?

Grade: C+

Brian Tallet

Production: 29 games, 50.0 IP, 1 – 4, 6.84 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 34 K’s, 6.1 K/9

Rank among AL RP (50 RP with 50+ IP): Games – 50th, ERA – 50th, WHIP – 50th, K/9 – 41st

vs. Expectations: Average MLB Season pre-2010 (per Baseball Reference) – 58 IP, 2-2, 3.38 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 7.2 K/9

It was hard to watch at times.  Tallet was bad and somehow seemed to get worse.  He actually began the season in the starting rotation, and made a few spot starts along the way, but was essentially a reliever for most of the year.  Out of all AL relievers with 50 IP or more, he came dead last in ERA, WHIP, and appearances.  He was dreadful.  But…I will say this about him.  He had some effective moments when he was asked to come in and retire left handed batters – they hit only .176 against him.  Cito really misused him quite a bit, often leaving him in for multiple innings.  If he was used as a lefty specialist (as he should have been) he would have been better.  Therefore, because a portion of the bad numbers can be blamed on the manager, he doesn’t fail.

Grade: D

One thought on “Toronto Blue Jays 2010 Report Cards – Bullpen”

  1. If Tallet doesn’t get an “F” I don’t think it’s possible to give that out. He was very likely the worst pitcher in the MLB in 2010.

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