As a side effect of not watching ESPN, or much television at all, I do not know how to pronounce Marc Rzepczynski’s name. So I just call him The RZE, de facto leader of the Blue-Jay Clan. He racks of the strikeouts, has a great GB/FB ratio, but like his namesake, he is affiliated with the Killer BBs.
After Toronto dealt the Old Dirty Bza, Roy Halladay, they were left with a handful of young arms and The RZE is likely their best arm. Marcum is enticing, but he has the injury issues. Morrow is a sexy name, but he doesn’t have much experience starting in the bigs as the Mariners bounced him around a bit. Plus Morrow has even more worrisome issue with walks. I mean cmon, dude walked 5.68 batters per nine last year. Ricky Romero has some followers after his hot start, but he fizzled out and doesn’t have much upside. I think I seen Dustin McGowan on a milk carton the other day. Rzepczynski is listed as the 4th starter on the MLB Depth Chart, which would be nice compared to being an Opening Day Starter, pitching vs team’s best arms.
The Killer BBs are definitely buzzing when the RZE is pitching. He posted a 4.40 BB/9 last season in 11 Games (61.1 IP) after making the jump from AA and AAA. He’s going to need to cut this number down if he wants a respectable WHIP. We shouldn’t be counting on a .280 BABIP again, but at the same time, his K/9 and sufficient Ground Ball Rate (51.2% GB%) will help limit damage. He’ll only be 24 years old thru most of the season so some improvement should show. His Zone% (42%) and F-Strike% (52.1%) leave a lot to be desired and if he does improve in these control based peripherals, his K/9 will increase.
Rzepczynski is not a power pitcher by any means. His Fastball averaged 88 mph, but his 8.80 K/9 was damn good nonetheless. In fact his K/9 ranked 17th among all SP with 60 plus Innings. In AA the RZE struck out 10.33 batters per 9 and an astounding 12.71 in AAA (albeit a small sample size, 11.1 IP). I am surprised to see he threw his Slider 36.6% percent of the time. That is a hefty percentage and some may consider that a sign of future injuries, but I see that as $$$ signs. I don’t have a thesis complete with mathematical formulas, but Sliders generate O-Swings and O-Swings = Ks. I don’t need a degree in rocket science to bust out mad common sense skills. His Slider is a great pitch too, scoring a 10.5 on Fangraphs. If Marc can improve his F-Strike and generate more pitcher counts, that 8.80 K/9 will rise. With it being a very low 52.1% (compared to the league average 58.2%), there is plenty of room for growth.
His 3.67 ERA lined up nicely with the 3.70 xFIP. It’s probably going to rise a bit as he is pitching in a nasty division and it’s not too wise to just assume he could have continued pitching this well over 180-200 Innings. At the same time, the 28.3% Fly Ball Percent is going to help limit damage done so I don’t think he’s going to suffer much. You gotta love the 1.81 GB/FB and high K rate. I’m thinking you can get AJ Burnett’s numbers (minus a few Wins) from the RZE at a much better price. I have Burnett projected at 8.7 K/9, 1.35 WHIP, 4.20 ERA vs Marc’s 9.1 K/9, 1.37 WHIP, 4.00 ERA. With Burnett going around pick 127 and the RZE going around 334, according to MDC, I know who I’d rather have. The RZE.