Monday, April 26, 2010

Say hello to Blow Jay Frasor

Last year it was Blow Jay Ryan. This year, because Ryan is no longer on the team, a new Toronto pitcher has surfaced to steal his moniker. Say hello to Blow Jay Frasor. After a scintillating season in '09, he was supposed to be phenomenal this year as the teams closer, or set up man, or at least in some useful role. The problem is, Blow Jay Frasor has been completely useless thus far in 2010.

In 10 appearances in April, Frasor is sporting a hideous 9.35 ERA, blown two saves, ruined potential come backs with melt downs (most recently allowing 4 to score in the 8th Sunday with the team down 2 runs) and has only pitched one clean inning. In the remaining 9 outings, he has surrendered at least one base runner, making it impossible to feel confident in his ability with the game on the line. So what happened? Last campaign he had a sparking 2.50 ERA with 11 saves. This year, not so much. He can't seem to deal with expectation very well, so essentially he is as shell shocked as this guy when he comes in to pitch.

Frasor has also lost velocity on his fast ball, which pitching coach Bruce Walton has pointed to as a reason for his poor production. Though he's been pathetic, there is no way Blow Jay Frasor is this bad. My guess? He's nursing some kind of injury that will either put him on a DL stint, or we'll find out after the season that he played through the pain but was hampered all along.

Molina says no way Jose

Blue Jays backup catcher Jose Molina turned in a virtuoso performance Sunday against the Rays, setting a franchise record by throwing out 4 would be base stealer's. Basically he threw out 4 more runners than Gregg Zaun ever did in his entire tenure with the Blue Jays. Molina saved the bacon of starter Brandon Morrow, who issued 6 base on balls by nabbing the speed merchants on the base paths. It's not as if he threw out sieves like Zaun or Bengie Molina trying to steal; Molina got the best of the great Carl Crawford twice, and B.J. Upton and Sean Rodriguez once.

There has been some debate over whether or not Molina should be the every day catcher instead of incumbent John Buck. Buck has more offense, but not as good defense (throwing out just 2 base runners in 12 attempts), and Molina has great defense (7 caught stealing, just 1 base stealer), but horrid offense with a .211 average and just 2 RBI on the season. The problem with Buck, however, is that he hasn't fared much better in the batters box, hitting just .163 with 1 HR and 6 RBI, leading to the debate.

Despite their early tear at the dish, the Jays have too many holes in the batting order to consistently put up a lot of runs so they can use all the the offense they can get. Buck should come around and hit for decent power, while we know Molina likely won't. But if the team knows it won't score many runs anyway, it could be prudent to try to prevent runs with the defensively minded Molina. It's like the chicken or the egg theory. What do you think? Should John Buck or Jose Molina be the Jays starting catcher?