Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tallet working his way to starting spot

Brian Tallet looks to have firmly established himself as a member of the Blue Jays rotation to start the season. In yesterday's outing against Baltimore, the lanky lefty made short work of the Orioles hitters, pitching four scoreless innings while striking out three. The question is, can Tallet secure his spot in the starting five for the duration of the campaign with plenty of young arms waiting for their chance?

When spring training started I must admit that I didn't want Tallet to be part of the rotation simply because I preferred the young pitchers learning more on the job. But with Dustin McGowan potentially starting the year on the disabled list and some uncertainty over Brandon Morrow, it only makes sense to have a veteran presence in the rotation, at least for now.

It's sometimes easy to forget that while Tallet struggled down the stretch last year, he had a pretty good first go round as a starter in the big leagues. Aside from four hideous starts, he pitched well enough to give Toronto a chance to win most every start. Putting in perspective what the former 2nd round pick did last year compared to his six other seasons in the bigs, he pitched nearly 100 innings more than any point during his career. No wonder he wasn't as solid down the stretch.

As the elder statesmen of the starting staff, he'll be tasked to not only shoulder a great deal of the load, but perhaps mentor the young hurlers now that Roy Halladay has left town. No pressure.

David Purcey reaches full blown "bust" status

Unlike Ricky Romero, who turned his career around after at one point appearing likely to fall within the "bust" category, fellow first round pick David Purcey seems to be headed down the road to ruin within the Blue Jays organization. The six-foot five inch southpaw almost certainly has no hope of making the 2010 team, so it's fair to make the assumption that the "bust" label will be attached to him, at least as a member of the Blue Birds.

That hasn't stopped other major league teams from sniffing around the '04 first round pick. Though the lefty has been allergic to command of his pitches, he still offers tantalizing potential. Look no further than his two brilliant starts against the eventual American League champion Rays in 2008. In those two outings, he struck out a combined 18 batters, putting together eight solid innings in both contests. That had Jays management enthusiastic heading into '09. However Purcey suffered a setback during five starts in April, walking 18 batters in 25.2 innings, issuing 20 earned runs for a 7.01 ERA before being sent to exile in the minors.

Purcey has the ability to be a power pitcher that strikes out a lot of batters, making it tough to give up on him. The organization now views Purcey more as a reliever than a member of the rotation. There is a distinct possibility he could still be a valuable starting pitcher somewhere in MLB. It just doesn't appear likely to be as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.