Stilson Back Where He Belongs

MANCHESTER, NH - Coming off the disabled list [shoulder], John Stilson has done well in his return to the bullpen. Prior to Tuesday night's bump in the road in which he gave up four earned runs in one inning against Portland, he allowed just one run in five outings since returning. A starter earlier in the season, the Jays like what they see in Stilson coming out of the bullpen.

"Looks like a guy that's pretty much built for the bullpen, the way he throws anyway," Toronto pitching coordinator Dane Johnson said when asked about Stilson's recent development as a reliever.

New Hampshire pitching coach Tom Signore sees three of Stilson's pitches as prime weapons for the next level. Stilson has said in the past that his changeup is his favorite secondary pitch. The slider, a work in progress for much of the season, has become "a plus pitch" in Signore's eyes as well.

Stilson has a split-finger fastball in the mix, but it isn't quite as developed as the other two secondary pitches.

The only thing lacking has been Stilson's consistency from the windup. At times, he has moved too quickly from the rubber when coming from the windup. However, pitching from the stretch, like many relievers do exclusively, he's able to be more consistent with his form.

"To me, he's much better from the stretch as far as keeping his chin over his pivot foot and breaking his hands at the proper time," Signore said. "When he [better develops the stretch], when he repeats that, he no longer needs to be here [in Double-A]."

Signore said he would consider having Stilson pitch exclusively from the stretch if it were his decision. Right now is not the time.

"Yeah, I would [consider it]," Signore said Tuesday. "But he's comfortable going from the windup. You know, it is their careers, so we do allow them a little bit of freedom. At some point maybe that change will be made, but that will be made by our pitch coordinator Dane Johnson if it's made by anybody."

Signore also saw Stilson fall into "throwing" rather than "pitching" as he got deeper and deeper into the rough inning. This, however, is atypical of Stilson. It was the first time he noticed it.

Stilson, a high strung guy who is known for letting his emotions show on the mound, was more susceptible to getting openly frustrated when dealing with the grind of a full five-plus innings as a starter.

Back in the pen after his slight injury, Stilson feels quite comfortable. After all, it wasn't long ago that Stilson dominated the college baseball world as Texas A&M's closer.

"I like [relieving] a lot," Stilson said. "Back to what I used to do, and I feel comfortable doing that."

Stilson admits that emotions are still running high, even with the move to the bullpen.

"I'm always antsy," Stilson said laughing, "regardless of whether I'm starting or out of the bullpen."

Despite Signore's concern about the windup, Johnson still sees Stilson as a prospective starter who can pitch from the windup if the need comes.

"I think we're well off not only having the option to start him but also to relieve him," Johnson said, "And whatever forte that may be in the big leagues he'll be better for it because he's done it down here."

When asked which was better, a win or a save, Stilson replied, "Definitely a win," but at the moment he's just happy to be feeling healthy and finding success.

"I'll do whatever they want me to do," Stilson said. "It does not matter to me."


Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\"Looks like a guy that's pretty much built for the bullpen, the way he throws anyway,\" Toronto pitching coordinator Dane Johnson said when asked about Stilson's recent development as a reliever.
\r\n
\r\nNew Hampshire pitching coach Tom Signore sees three of Stilson's pitches as prime weapons for the next level. Stilson has said in the past that his changeup is his favorite secondary pitch. The slider, a work in progress for much of the season, has become \"a plus pitch\" in Signore's eyes as well.
\r\n
\r\nStilson has a split-finger fastball in the mix, but it isn't quite as developed as the other two secondary pitches.
\r\n
\r\nThe only thing lacking has been Stilson's consistency from the windup. At times, he has moved too quickly from the rubber when coming from the windup. However, pitching from the stretch, like many relievers do exclusively, he's able to be more consistent with his form.
\r\n
\r\n\"To me, he's much better from the stretch as far as keeping his chin over his pivot foot and breaking his hands at the proper time,\" Signore said. \"When he [better develops the stretch], when he repeats that, he no longer needs to be here [in Double-A].\"
\r\n
\r\nSignore said he would consider having Stilson pitch exclusively from the stretch if it were his decision. Right now is not the time.
\r\n
\r\n\"Yeah, I would [consider it],\" Signore said Tuesday. \"But he's comfortable going from the windup. You know, it is their careers, so we do allow them a little bit of freedom. At some point maybe that change will be made, but that will be made by our pitch coordinator Dane Johnson if it's made by anybody.\"
\r\n
\r\nSignore also saw Stilson fall into \"throwing\" rather than \"pitching\" as he got deeper and deeper into the rough inning. This, however, is atypical of Stilson. It was the first time he noticed it.
\r\n
\r\nStilson, a high strung guy who is known for letting his emotions show on the mound, was more susceptible to getting openly frustrated when dealing with the grind of a full five-plus innings as a starter.
\r\n
\r\nBack in the pen after his slight injury, Stilson feels quite comfortable. After all, it wasn't long ago that Stilson dominated the college baseball world as Texas A&M's closer.
\r\n
\r\n\"I like [relieving] a lot,\" Stilson said. \"Back to what I used to do, and I feel comfortable doing that.\"
\r\n
\r\nStilson admits that emotions are still running high, even with the move to the bullpen.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm always antsy,\" Stilson said laughing, \"regardless of whether I'm starting or out of the bullpen.\"
\r\n
\r\nDespite Signore's concern about the windup, Johnson still sees Stilson as a prospective starter who can pitch from the windup if the need comes.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think we're well off not only having the option to start him but also to relieve him,\" Johnson said, \"And whatever forte that may be in the big leagues he'll be better for it because he's done it down here.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhen asked which was better, a win or a save, Stilson replied, \"Definitely a win,\" but at the moment he's just happy to be feeling healthy and finding success.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'll do whatever they want me to do,\" Stilson said. \"It does not matter to me.\"
\r\n
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