Below is a copy of my latest for JaysProspects.com. The original can be found here.
Thought to be the prize of the Roy Halladay deal that sent former Blue Jays’ ace to Philadelphia; Kyle Drabek has quickly found himself in the unexpected situation of potential bust.
This was the player the Blue Jays fought for. The Phillies did not want to give him up, but Blue Jays general manager, Alex Anthopoulos, fought tooth and nail.
Also acquired in the trade were Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Taylor. Taylor, however, was immediately flipped to Oakland for Brett Wallace, who was then later traded for Anthony Gose.
And to add pressure to Drabek – both are coming off much better minor league seasons.
In fact, in 137 games in New Hampshire, Gose posted a .253 batting average with 20 doubles, seven triples, 16 homeruns, 59 RBIs and 70 stolen bases. Comparatively, his teammate, Travis d’Arnaud, posted a career best, .311 hitting 33 doubles, 21 HRs, and 78 RBIs. His dominance both at the plate and behind the plate named him MVP of the Eastern League this year.
Going into spring, Drabek will have the opportunity to return to the Major League starting rotation. But after a very disappointing start to his career in which he 4-5 with an ERA over 6.00, including a stint in the bullpen and AAA, Drabek does not have the inside track. The emergence of Henderson Alvarez and the return of Dustin McGowan makes Drabek’s return to the starting rotation slim.
So the question is, where does he go from here? With Deck McGuire and Drew Hutchison coming up right behind him and Luis Perez being given token shots at a rotation that is already full, the field is getting dismal for Kyle Drabek.
Now, this isn’t to say give up on Drabek. The Blue Jays gave up the best pitcher in team history (willing to take arguments for Dave Stieb) to acquire him. Without a doubt, he still has one of the highest ceilings of any pitching prospect in the Blue Jays system. But his failure to stick to the majors is disheartening – especially when there is so much pitching talent in this organization.
He has a fastball riding the mid-90s, a solid cutter and change-up and quite possibly the best curve ball on the 40-man roster. He has potential. But potential can sometimes be a word that people use when they really mean a missed-opportunity. *Cough* Mark Prior. *Cough*
But I have hope. Perhaps all Drabek needs is a shot of confidence. With an offense and defense bolstered by the presence of Brett Lawrie and Jose Bautista and a full season of Colby Rasmus in centerfield and heated competition between Travis Snider and Eric Thames in left field; Drabek could be looking some much needed run support.
I have got high hopes for Kyle Drabek. But like many Blue Jays fans that remember 1992-1993 and have a near two-decade long tenure of disappointment, Drabek’s performance last year was legitimate cause for concern.
But with that said… as always… I hope for the best!