The Toronto Blue Jays have clearly proven they can slug with anyone in baseball in 2010. They are first in the American League in home runs (225), first in total bases (2,225), and fourth in OPS (.766).

While those are great number, it takes a combination of offense, defense, and pitching to win baseball games. If they Blue Jays are going to get back to the top of the AL East anytime soon, they are going to need some starting pitching.


Drabek will make his debut against the O’s

And as we have seen in the past, just one guy isn’t going to cut the mustard. They need three or four quality pitchers to compete in the very tough AL East.

They have Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow, and Shaun Marcum. Brett Cecil has pitched well at times this year as well. That’s a good, albeit not great starting rotation. The one guy who can bring this all together for the Blue Jays is the guy they are starting tonight against the Baltimore Orioles.

The Blue Jays have called up Kyle Drabek from Double-A New Hampshire and he will make his major league debut tonight. He is the crown jewel of the Blue Jays’ minor league system and has ace written all over him.

Drabek, the son of former major league pitcher Doug Drabek, was the centerpiece of the Roy Halladay trade back in December. Drabek has fully recovered from Tommy John surgery (see Stephen Strasburg fans, it’s possible) and has succeeded at every level he has pitched in since the surgery.

Due to the fact that he has pitched 162 innings so far this year, look for him to only make about one or two starts for the Jays for the remainder of the season. Pitching against the Orioles in his debut is a pretty good way to ease into the majors as they are one of the lowest scoring teams in the league.

Here are some other facts about Kyle Drabek

Age: 22

Bats: Right

Throws: Right

College: None. Went to The Woodlands High School in Woodlands, TX

Drafted: 18th pick of the first round of the 2006 Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies

Minor League Stats:

2006 Rookie: 1-3 with a 7.71 ERA, 1.89 WHIP,  and 5.4 K’s/9 in 23.1 IP

2007 Single A: 5-1 with a 4.33 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, and 7.7 K’s/9 in 54 IP

2008 Low Single A & Rookie: 1-3 with a 2.23 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, and 4.5 K’s/9 in 32.1 IP

2009 High Single A & Double A: 12-3 with a 3.19 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 8.5 K’s/9 in 158 IP

2010 Double A: 14-9 with a 2.94 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 7.3 K’s/9 in 162 IP

Keith Law Ranking and Analysis

Ranking: No. 40 out of 100 best prospects in baseball in 2010.

Analysis: “Drabek missed most of 2007 and 2008 due to Tommy John surgery, but he had a strong return in 2009, dominating the Florida State League and holding his own as a 21-year-old in Double-A. He has a chance to throw two above-average pitches, with a curveball that’s currently plus, 79-80 mph with a hard tilt that approaches a slider break, and a fastball that’s comfortably 90-93 mph, although it’s flat and he could benefit from mixing in a cutter or two-seamer so hitters don’t just sit on the four-seamer.

He throws a changeup, but it’s not effective enough against left-handed hitters to grade as average. He’s shown he can throw strikes, but doesn’t command the ball well to his glove side yet, although command is the last thing to return for pitchers who’ve had Tommy John surgery and Drabek has thrown only 267 innings in pro ball.

He’s got some head violence at the end of his delivery, which could point to a future in the pen, although for now he should continue to start and will have the benefit of working with a new player development staff on his stuff and mechanics. With some cleanup and a third pitch, he has a chance to be a No. 2 or No. 3 starter.”

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