Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Player to Watch: Brett Cecil

7+ SO/9, 1.033 WHIP or lower, 3+ SO/BB, 5+ Starts
Adam Wainwright (Cardinals) 8.69 SO/9, .94 WHIP, 3.86 SO/BB, 12 GS
Roy Halladay (Phillies) 7.45, 1.03, 5.92, 12
Cliff Lee (Mariners) 8.32, .92, 14.25, 8
Brett Cecil (Blue Jays) 7.02, 1.00, 3.46, 9

That's 3 of the best pitchers in baseball, and Brett Cecil (who might be in that category this time next year) .  Brett Cecil is one of several good young starters on the Blue Jays, along with especially Shaun Marcum and Ricky Romero and he currently 6-2 with an ERA of 3.43 (he went 7-4 with an ERA of 5.30 in his rookie season of 2009).

He can owe a lot of his relatively high ERA to one bad outing on May 14th, where he allowed 8 ER in 2 IP against the Rangers.  Take that away (the Jays actually won, he got a no-decision), and he is 6-2 with a 2.28 ERA.  His late start to the season, and that one bad outing, might end up costing him a trip to the All-Star Game this season, but he'll be going to plenty of them if he keeps pitching like this.

He started the season in the minors this season and didn't make his his first start on April 23rd.  Interestingly, he's actually right-handed, but pitches left-handed:
He said he owes his left-handed tendency to a miscommunication between his mother and aunt just before his fourth birthday.
"My mom told my aunt to get me a right-handed glove," said Cecil, who pitched eight shutout innings against Oakland last Sunday for his first major-league win. "So I just used that one."

Athletes like Cecil are fairly common in boxing, where natural southpaws like Oscar De La Hoya and Joe Frazier won world titles as right-handers. Former middleweight champ Marvin Hagler was much like Cecil, a right-hander who turned lefty in the ring.

Former Jays pitching coach Gil Patterson taught himself to pitch left-handed while rehabbing an injury to his right arm, and reportedly could fire 85-m.p.h. fastballs.
His next start won't be easy, at Tampa on Thursday, but he's on fire right now and he could help keep the Jays in the Wild Card hunt (2.5 out) or even move them up in the division against the AL East leading Rays (4.5 out).

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