Results tagged ‘ Chris Jakubauskas ’
Can he help the Orioles in 2012? Will he?
Not unless there’s another move; he signed a minor-league contract with the Diamondbacks.
Is he a major-league pitcher?
He’s a longshot to do much in the major leagues in 2012, or for that matter at any time in the future. His backstory is much more interesting than his pitching ability. Apparently undrafted out of the University of Oklahoma, he spent four years in low-level independent leagues before getting a chance with the American Association in 2007. He pitched well and was signed by Seattle to help them finish out the 2007 season. He pitched just well enough to stick with the organization in 2008, and pitched brilliantly. He made the Mariners in 2009 and pitched unimpressively as a spot starter / long reliever; was claimed on waivers by the Pirates and was probably injured for most 0f 2010 (12 total appearances); and was signed as a free agent by the Orioles for 2011.
Jakubauskas was hurt for April, and spent most of May working himself back into shape at Norfolk. He started out pitching poorly but pitched better as the month wore on. He was recalled to Baltimore at the end of May and didn’t pitch well.
Jakubausakas is 33. He has not done anything in the major leagues to indicate that he can pitch, and in fact aside from half of 2007 and all of 2008 hasn’t done anything outside of the majors, either, to indicate that he can pitch. He’s an AAA innings-eater, someone who can stay in a AAA rotation and not drive the team to frustration. But there’s no evidence that he’s anything better than that.
Sometimes, when I work a game, I can get so wrapped up in the individual details that I lose the forest for the trees. It won’t be until after the game that I’ll notice that a player has gone three-for-four with five RBI, or that a pitcher retired fifteen consecutive batters. On the other hand, sometimes something at the microdetail level will strike me. Last night, in the Norfolk Tides’ 5-1 loss to the Columbus Clippers, it was about in the fifth inning that I noticed that very few pitches were swung at and missed by Clipper hitters. I started paying attention, and by the end of Chris Jakubauskas’ seven innings, only four of his 96 pitches had been swing-and-misses. (One more pitch may be recorded as a swing-and-miss, but it was really a non-strike-three foul tip, caught by the catcher.)
I think that the few numbers of swing-and-misses doesn’t bode well for Jakubauskas’ chances. Batters swing and miss because the pitch is overpoweringly fast, or because the pitch breaks substantially, or because the batter thinks the pitch is doing one thing when it’s really doing another. If a pitcher isn’t recording a lot of swing-and-misses, then he’s neither overpowering nor fooling batters. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for error.
The Tides brought in Alberto Castillo to pitch the eighth inning; he ended up facing five batters, retiring them all. Of his 24 pitches, there were four swing-and-misses — exactly as many as Jakubauskas had, facing five times as many batters.
The Tides returned home after a surprising 5-3 road trip to Indianapolis and Louisville. Before that trip the Tides had been 5-13, so a 5-3 road trip provided hope, especially since this eight-game homestand featured the two teams — Indianapolis and Syracuse — with records comparable to Norfolk’s. Unfortunately, the hopes were dashed after three innings of Thursday’s game against Indy.
The Tides were scheduled to start veteran Ryan Drese, but shortly before game time changed to Chris Jakubauskas. Jakubauskas was on the opening-day roster, but was promoted to the Orioles before he made an appearance. After a couple of appearances, he was placed on the disabled list with a strained groin. Sunday, he made a rehabilitation start for the Tides and lasted less than two innings. Despite that, the Orioles optioned him to Norfolk on Monday and he made the start on Thursday.
It was clear that Jakubauskas was not in condition to be a regular starting pitcher, as the Tides declared that he would be on a 50-pitch limit. That limit proved to be about 40 pitches too many. The first Indianapolis batter fouled out, and then the second blooped a single to center. That second batter was then caught stealing second base. That was ten pitches. After that, Jakubauskas gave up a double and a two-run home run (granted, the home run was wind-aided) before escaping the first, then walked two batters before giving up a three-run home run in the second. After he gave up a single to the leadoff batter in the third, he reached his pitch limit and was replaced by Drese, who was unable to strand that runner although the run was charged to Jakubauskas. Down 6-0, the Tides were unable to do much against crafty lefthander Brian Burres. When the shouting was over, the Tides lost 9-1.
On the face of it, it made no sense to send Jakubauskas down when he was not ready. The Orioles returned Chorye Spoone to Bowie when Jakubauskas was sent down. Maybe the Orioles really wanted Spoone at Bowie; but that still doesn’t excuse them from sending Norfolk a pitcher who isn’t ready to pitch. Especially since there are other pitchers — Troy Patton and Armado Gabino — who could step into the rotation while Jakubauskas works into shape.