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  1. Isn’t it just as likely that this is a repeat of what Gregg often does, and that is get off to pretty solid starts? While last year wasn’t as good as this, he did have a 3.86era with 19k and 10bb in 16.1ip at this point in the 2009 season, with a 16% LD rate and strong GB #s as well. Strong early performances could be part of the reason Toronto invested in Gregg, figuring at worst they are out a couple million in a year they’ve reduced payroll anyway, and at best they can move Gregg for something worthwhile in July, along the lines of the Sherrill to LAD deal.

    Comment by Ari — May 14, 2010 @ 4:34 pm

  2. I think someone elsewhere pointed out that the Greggster (love the nickname) had added a cutter, maybe BtB.
    Yup btb:
    I also feel that Toronto has a tendency to teach cutters at least on the MLB level. Their pitching coach deserves more props than he gets, with the team always having consistently good pitching (although prone to injury)

    Comment by OsandRoyals — May 14, 2010 @ 5:40 pm

  3. I don’t think Downs or Frasor represents much in the way of trade bait.

    Historically, have middle relievers with good numbers ever brought much back in the way of prospects? Neither of them has ever really been The Man (to borrow another Flair line) in a bullpen, at least not consistently. They’re both typically good pitchers, and I’m happy to have them on the Jays, but I don’t think they’d attract that much interest in a deadline deal.

    Comment by Carl Solomon — May 14, 2010 @ 6:26 pm

  4. Most of the basic and advanced statistics say otherwise. K/9, GB% are up, BB/9 and LD% is down, and his BABIP is normal (perhaps even a little high).

    Quick glance at the daily graphs suggests that last year’s performance doesn’t really compare to this year, even if statistically it looked like it was in the same ballpark. Whether this is due to a new pitch is anyone’s guess, but Gregg looks quite good so far this season, and there’s reason to believe that’s it’s not just a fluke.

    Either way, if he keeps this up he would make an excellent trade chip for Toronto.

    Comment by Devon F — May 14, 2010 @ 6:29 pm

  5. One of the better things about Cito’s coaching philosophy when it comes to pitchers is “throw strikes, don’t walk batters and let your defense take care of balls in play.” That puts a premium on having a repertoire that induces ground balls. As OsandRoyals said, the Jays love the cutter, and I would add the change up. I’m sure this message has gotten through to Gregg; at least the evidence suggests so to this point.

    Comment by bluejaysstatsgeek — May 14, 2010 @ 6:55 pm

  6. Hasn’t that been the pitching philosophy for a while, even before Cito was hired? Maybe, I’m just not remembering correctly but I feel like that’s the way the blue Jays have been formed as a team for a while. I remember Marcum started throwing cutters at some point but that may have been in 2007 or later. they’ve also had strong defense up the middle with first McDonald, Scutaro, now Alex Gonzalez partnering with Hill. If they didn’t have Hill the team would have been a perfect fit for Adam Kennedy.

    Comment by OsandRoyals — May 14, 2010 @ 8:25 pm

  7. Phil Hughes can attest to how much of a miracle pitch the cutter is. It’s been his best pitch by far, and is the real reason why he’s become much more effective as a pitcher (his curveball is still decent, but that cutter has been setting up situations for him to throw said curve.)

    Comment by Jon — May 15, 2010 @ 3:48 am

  8. The presence of Roy Halladay also dictated strong IF defense, so yes, it has been a keystone for a while. But listening to Cito being interviewed, I doubt that anything peeves him more than giving up walks.

    Comment by bluejaysstatsgeek — May 15, 2010 @ 11:37 am

  9. I actually wrote the BtB piece about Gregg, and after talking with Mike Fast (a great Pitch F/X guy) in the comments, he said that it’s more likely that Gregg isn’t throwing a cutter but rather that Pitch F/X is labeling the pitches incorrectly because Gregg is throwing his slider different than he had in the past.

    Rather, Gregg has begun to depend on his offspeed stuff more often, moving away from his fastball, while also throwing his slider slightly harder. He’s still depending on a four-pitch mix (fastball, curve, slider, splitter), but he’s began to throw more breaking stuff and more splitters.

    You should read Mike’s comments on the BtB to get a better understanding, he’s like an expert on the Pitch F/X stuff and he makes it sound a lot better than I just did.

    Comment by SatchelPrice — May 15, 2010 @ 12:19 pm

  10. Thanks, Satchel. I did see your piece as I was working on this one, but wanted to do a bit of an update. I did consult with Mike a bit.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — May 15, 2010 @ 12:41 pm

  11. For sure. I mean, in the end, it’s not necessarily about what exactly Gregg has changed, but rather how those changes have improved him as a pitcher.

    Whether he’s working in a cutter now or turning to a slightly harder slider as well as increased curve/split usage, it would seem that Gregg has made some sort of legitimate improvement as a reliever.

    Comment by SatchelPrice — May 15, 2010 @ 1:06 pm

  12. Why don’t we hold off on the “trade chip” talk until the best power hitting team, with one of the most talented young starting rotations, and apparently now a good closer and a deep bullpen, actually falls out of the top-5 in the AL, eh?

    Comment by everdiso — May 15, 2010 @ 8:08 pm

  13. I’m a huge Jays fan and love the great start but I still want a firesale at the trade deadline. The offense just will not keep up like this and they won’t leap frog the big 3 in the AL East. I’m very optimistic for 2012 or possibly next year. I’d trade everyone I can other than Hill, Lind, Snider, Lewis and most the starters. It’s great to see guys like Gonzo and Bautista raise that trade value.
    A great start this year but I want a WS and not just a great run at the playoffs.

    Comment by Omar Little — May 15, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

  14. Sorry buddy, in any other division they have a chance, but not in the AL East. They’ve only played what…8 games against the top 3 AL East teams? Once they start playing TB/NYY regularly its not going to be as fun.

    A Jays Fan

    Comment by Impossibles — May 17, 2010 @ 11:26 am

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