Friday, July 22, 2011

Tilting at Mills

Jo-Jo Reyes hasn't yet been embarrassed by the Rangers tonight, so I promise you that this post is not written out of irrational frustration. I swear! But please, for the love of God, let's get PCL player of the week Brad Mills a major league payday. I'm not sure what else the man can do.

In 19 starts in the most notorious hitter's league in the world, Brad Mills has put up a 3.71 ERA. That's good for third in the league (admittedly, right behind Dana Eveland, but that's neither here nor there). Among pitchers with 50 innings, it's best on the team by a run and a half. He has put up superficially better numbers than Brett Cecil, Jesse Litsch, Luis Perez and Kyle Drabek, all of whom have spent time with the major league club.

All of which is well and good. Drabek and Cecil are significant prospects. Litsch has had a very good major league season in the past and is still only 26. Perez...well, as good as Perez looked in 35 major league innings, I'm prepared to acknowledge that the Jays may have seen something beyond the AAA numbers. So by all means, give those four major league innings.

The problem is that for each one of Mills' minor league starts, Jo-Jo Reyes has made one in the major leagues. Here on July 22nd, Brad Mills is slated to make his 20th start on the same night that Reyes is slated to make his 20th. And it's fitting, because Brad Mills is Jo-Jo Reyes' shadow:

1) Jo-Jo Reyes is 26. Brad Mills is 26.
2) Jo-Jo Reyes is left-handed. Brad Mills is left-handed.
3) Jo-Jo Reyes' minor league ERA is 3.51. Brad Mills' minor league ERA is 3.47.
4) Jo-Jo Reyes' minor league ratios (HR/9, BB/9, K/9) are 0.6/3.3/8.3. Mills' are 0.8/3.1/8.5.

There are differences. In 38 starts at AAA, Reyes had a 3.11 ERA, while Mills has surrendered a 4.24 mark in even more games. But Mills has been pitching in the PCL, while Reyes spent his entire minor league career in the International League. Either way, in broad strokes they're very similar pitchers and it's hard to make an argument (that doesn't start with "asset" and end with "retention") that Reyes is significantly more deserving of a major league trial than Brad Mills. And in light of Perez's recent demotion back to AAA as (presumably) a starting pitcher, there is even a decent contingency option should Reyes be lost on waivers and Mills get pounded at the major league level. If the Jays are simply biding their time with Reyes before a deadline in which several relievers will make their way elsewhere, then there's something to be said for holding with a subpar rotation in the very short term. But if Brad isn't on this roster on August 1st, let's Don Quixote this bitch.

1 comment:

  1. JoJo will be gone in a week's time, I think i can hold out 'till then.