After opening the season at Triple-A, Brett Cecil was recalled to step into Brian Tallet’s spot in the rotation after he landed on the DL.  Since making his 2010 debut on April 23, Cecil has had his share of good and bad, compiling the following statistics:

4 Wins
41.2 Innings
4.10 ERA
1.15 WHIP
33 Strikeouts (7.1 K/9)
12 Walks (2.6 BB/9)
.275 BABIP

The BABIP is on the lower side, but not unrealistically so.  His strand rate (68.4%) is actually slightly below average.  In other words, don’t point towards his luck as the reason to expect a regression.

The strikeouts actually have some potential upside to them.  As it is, he’s had only two games with more than 4 Ks, an 8 K performance in his first start and a 10 K performance against the Indians.

Over his minor league career (217.1 innings) he posted a K/9 of 9.0, including a 10.1 over 77.2 innings at Double-A in 2008.  Granted, he posted a 5.9 mark at Triple-A over 49.0 innings in ‘09, but that appears to be an aberration (in 30.2 innings at Triple-A in ‘08 he was at 9.1).

The control is a bit deceiving.  Over his minor league career he had a BB/9 of 2.9, though the majority of damage came at Double-A and below. 

Over his 79.2 career innings at Triple-A prior to ‘10, his BB/9 was 4.0.  He’s likely not that bad, but he’s also not likely as good as he’s shown in the early going. 

The huge anomaly in his performance this season, has been his groundball rate. 

To date he’s generated a GB percentage of 39.5 percent.  Over his minor league career, he has a GB percentage of 59.7 percent.  That’s a huge difference and while he’s not likely to maintain the latter, he has the stuff to significantly improve on his early season performance.

And lets be honest, the more groundballs he produces, the better off he’s likely to be. 

So, we have a pitcher with the potential to:

  • Improve his strikeout rate
  • Regress slightly in his walk rate
  • Generate significantly more groundballs

Does that not sound like a skill set that should generate success?

Granted, pitching in the AL East is going to lead to some inconsistent performances. 

He’s not a pitcher that I would aim to pitch every time out, but the 2007 first round draft pick (he was a sandwich pick) has the stuff to be usable in deeper formats when the matchup is right.

What are your thoughts on Cecil?  Do you think he has the potential to be usable or is he a pitcher you will keep your distance from?

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