One and Done?

Gustavo burst out onto the major league scene as a 24 year old, relative unknown in 2005.  His 34 starts were tied for the third most in the AL and he went 13 - 9 in 203 innings.  He finished 5th in Rookie Of The Year voting, receiving 10% of the total vote and 2% of the first place vote.  Prior to that magical season, in 2004, he had pitched 167.1 innings at 3 separate levels.  And prior to that, in 2003, he pitched only 69.1 innings total.    

Year         Team       League GP   GS  W L  SVCGShoIP     H  RERHR BB    K   ERA
2004TorontoAL   2       2  1  1  0   0   0 14.0   8   44  0   3  6 2.57
2004SyracuseAAA   2       2  2 0   0     0   0 11.2 16 43  0   3 14 2.31
2004New HampshireAA2525  16 2  0   0   0141.2 11353 46 15   49109 2.92
2003New HavenAA46 2  3 4  2   0  0 69.17839 32  1   29 55 4.15

He hurt his wing early in the 2006 campaign and has not returned to form since.

Courtesy of TSN:

Transactions / Injuries / Suspensions
09-May-08Designated for assignment by the Toronto Blue Jays.
12-Mar-08Optioned to Syracuse (AAA).
17-Jan-08Re-signed by the Toronto Blue Jays to a one-year contract.
01-Oct-07Missed the last 136 games of the regular season (left elbow injury).
04-Sep-07Transferred from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL (left elbow injury).
30-Jul-07Voided the option to Syracuse (AAA).
27-Jul-07Missed 78 games and optioned to Syracuse (AAA).
30-Apr-07Left elbow injury, 15-day DL.
04-Mar-07Re-signed by the Toronto Blue Jays to a one-year contract.
23-Aug-06Missed 66 games (elbow injury).
10-Jun-06Elbow injury, 15-day DL.
30-May-06Missed 17 games (elbow injury).
16-May-06Elbow injury, 15-day DL (retroactive May 11th).
18-Feb-05Re-signed by the Toronto Blue Jays to a one-year contract.
19-Sep-04Contract purchased from New Hampshire (AA).

If you need a refresher, here are his minor league stats from 2006 to 2009 here they are courtesy of Minor League Stats dot com:


200928Lehigh ValleyILPHI/AAA103.74.4941896229400590.2560.2831.3137.7%20.8%39.2%11.6%6.9%


For those that don't know what some of the stat lines mean click here for THT Glossary.  You may want to bookmark that one ;)

His projections for 2010 courtesy of CHONE:

Player             AgeGGSWonLostIP HitsBBSOHRHB RunsERERA

Gustavo Chacin 29 15  15      3       6   78    89    31  42    13    3      50     46  5.31 

He will be reunited with former pitching coach Brad Arnsberg in Houston.  Please note: Arnsberg was in his first year as pitching coach for us in the 2005 season.  

Verducci Effect:

Named for Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, this is a negative forward indicator for pitcher workload. Verducci, found that pitchers under the age of 25 who have 30-inning increases year over year tend to underperform. Will Carroll independently found that pitchers who break the "Rule of 30" tend to get injured. Carroll renamed this 'rule' the Verducci Effect in honor of the man who initially found the evidence.

Our boy "Smells like Victory" was named in the article as a victim of the effect.  For all you fantasy pool players out there, click here for this years candidates.

Initially this theory met some resistance.  THT refuted Verducci's findings the next day and concluded: Pitchers who see a large increase in workload are more likely to continue to be successful than those who don’t.  To see their article in it's entirety, click here.

I am bringing this to your attention because our pitching staff is exceptionally young.  Most of the guys are in the clear but four names do jump out at me as possible candidates for the Verducci Effect in the future if their innings pitched are not monitored closely this season.  Their names and dates of birth are as follows:
  • Marc Rzepczynski, Aug. 29, 1985
  • Brett Cecil, July 2, 1986
  • Kyle Drabek, Dec. 8, 1987
  • Zach Stewart, Sept. 28, 1986
    Let's take a look at their innings pitched in the last two years:

    Rzep: 124.3 in 2008, 154.3 in 2009
    Cecil: 125.3 in 2008, 155 in 2009
    Drabek:  34 in 2008, 163 in 2009
    Stewart: 34 in 2008, 108 in 2009

    Righthander Kyle Drabek had Tommy John surgery in 2007 and I'm not sure what effect, if any, that will have on his innings cap.  I think he will top out at about 190 innings this season and be ready to go in 2011 with no innings restrictions, that is if he does not suffer from the Verducci Effect this season.....

    I think it is fair to say that the two young lefties, Rzepczynski and Cecil, will have their innings capped at right about 185 this year or roughly 28 starts.  I also think it is fair to say that their innings can be manipulated easier at the minor league level.  I see both of these guys, barring injury,  pitching in our major league rotation in 2011 restriction free.  They are right on schedule.

    Righthander Zach Stewart was drafted as a reliever and is the prime candidate to suffer from the Verducci Effect out of this group moving forward.  It is imperative that we do not allow him to exceed 140 innings pitched this season.  Even that may be too many.  He will then need another year in the minors to build his stamina up to around 170 innings in 2011.  I think of him as a guy that will be in a position to enter the rotation sometime in 2012.  

    In Conclusion:

    These four guys are the future of our Major League starting rotation.  We must be patient with them and resist the urge to rush them to the majors for the upcoming 2010 season "just to see what they got".  New pitching coach Bruce Walton has brought with him a new philosophy.  He seems to believe the innings cap can be manipulated if his pitchers tweak their off day routines.  To read all about it, click here.

    This upcoming baseball season will not be a pretty one to watch in Toronto.  But hang in there guys, these four pitchers are the future and we must keep in mind that they are still a year away at best.....and we must also never forget what happened to young Gustavo Chacin.


    1. Interesting stuff. I hope AA keeps a close eye on the pitchers and a tight leash on how Cito is using them. As much as I don't trust the man to fill out a lineup card, I trust him with the pitchers even less.

    2. Infield,

      Thanks for stopping by!

      I don't think Boy Wonder will let any of these guys near The Cito for the first few months anyways. What do you think of our rotation moving forward?

    3. I haven't seen enough of Stewart yet, but I think we should prime him for bullpen work now, but make sure he has enough stamina kept in storage to eventually convert to a rotation starter if necessary. It's just that right now I believe that the Jays should keep their starters as starters, and not Jansen/Carlson/Morrow them to death.

    4. Roy,
      Thanks for stopping by.
      I believe there may be some truth to your comments. We will have a lot of arms in AA and AAA this season. Perhaps one or two or them gets bumped to the bullpen.
      I see another possible alternative: 6 man rotation. That should help keep the innings pitched down.....

    5. I think the Jays have the rotation set up in such a way that it could be very strong to dominant in 2-3 years, depending, of course, on the development of guys like Cecil, R-Zep, Mills, Morrow and Drabek.

      I also feel like they could surprise some people this year if Romero can avoid a sophomore slump and if Marcum and McGowan can bounce back.

      Either way, I've never been so excited about a team with such low expectations!