Every time League pitched in a close game for the Jays this past season, the fan base collectively held their breath. The guy doesn’t have the composure to be a top closer, even if he has the speed. I’m not sure if this is confirmation bias but it seemed like he blew a lot of his appearances, usually from the long ball. I don’t know the numbers here but it felt like he wasn’t good with inherited runners. He also has some control issues. I think he has the goods to deliver, but what he might need more than anything is a better pitching coach.
Change up? I’m a little surprised. It always looked like more of a sinker to me, thus the ground balls.
League’s 2009 season was, outside the ill-timed home runs, excellent. His whiffs and Ks were way up, his walks way down. He’s poised to make a bunch of money if he finally avoids the high-leverage struggles.
Looking at his Pitch F/X page, there isn’t a whole lot of certainty in those numbers. The offspeed categories seem all screwed up. First it says his slider and “curveball” are the same average speed of 85.7 mph, which would be slider speed.
What’s really screwy is the horizontal movement (HM). His slider has always been a “backup” slider, with negative HM. That “curveball” listed has a HM value closer to his changeup, which leads me to believe those are mostly changeups. I also wonder if those changeups are actually splitters, since there is so much less HM on those compared to his fastball.
Whatever his offspeed collection is, there is a lot of movement, mostly downward, and his high-end velocity should result in a productive career.
How about stretching him out one more time? I always get a vision of Chien-Meng Wang and his awesome ground ball tendencies. Getting 5-6 IPs/game out of League could be intriguing, though it didn’t go well the first time.
It’s just sample size. He also dominated the Yankee lineup into extra innings, you conveniently ignored that. I’d sooner put him back in the rotation, he pitches like a starter and there is no reason to waste a arm like his on a position where an average reliever will convert over 80% of their chances.