League Will be Huge for Toronto in ‘07

Jays G.M. J.P. Ricciardi stated that he believes he can have an effective bullpen in 2007, while keeping the cost down. Ricciardi is planning on using his young arms out of the pen next season, a move which will enable him to spend more money on the starting rotation and the offense. A key player in this equation is Brandon League. Scouts predict great things in '07 for the right-hander.

League was knocking on the Blue Jays door the entire season. He was trying to tell them ‘I'm ready for the big leagues", that he has put his past mechanical problems behind him and he can be an effective bullpen arm for the club.

"Brandon was lights out at the beginning of the season at Triple-A," said one major league scout who was responsible for scouting players at the Double-A, Triple-A and Major League level. "He showed good command of his pitches, but at the same time realized he didn't have to overpower batters."

League began using his effective repertoire to his advantage this past season. His stints in the starting rotation helped him harness all of his pitches, and he began believing his stuff was good enough to retire hitters, without having to strike them out. The 23-year-old became a ground ball pitcher and put the responsibility on his defense to record the putouts. League induced a ground ball out a remarkable 63% of the time. Of his 122 putouts that were in play in the minors this season, 104 of them were ground ball outs, and just 18 of them were fly ball outs.

"He was simply brilliant this past season," the scout noted. "I was shocked it took Toronto more than half the season to give him the call-up."

The more time League spent with Toronto, the better pitcher he became. His ERA went from 3.86, to 2.79, to 1.29 in the months of July, August and September respectfully. Right-handed hitters batted just .178 off League who lowered his ERA by over four full runs.

"The bottom line is he began throwing strikes."

With the future of Justin Speier in balance this off-season, the Jays might be counting on League to become their setup man in 2007.

"Not only can he perform in the role, but he should have that role."

Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\nLeague was knocking on the Blue Jays door the entire season. He was trying to tell them ‘I'm ready for the big leagues\", that he has put his past mechanical problems behind him and he can be an effective bullpen arm for the club. \r\n

\r\n\"Brandon was lights out at the beginning of the season at Triple-A,\" said one major league scout who was responsible for scouting players at the Double-A, Triple-A and Major League level. \"He showed good command of his pitches, but at the same time realized he didn't have to overpower batters.\"\r\n

\r\nLeague began using his effective repertoire to his advantage this past season. His stints in the starting rotation helped him harness all of his pitches, and he began believing his stuff was good enough to retire hitters, without having to strike them out. The 23-year-old became a ground ball pitcher and put the responsibility on his defense to record the putouts. League induced a ground ball out a remarkable 63% of the time. Of his 122 putouts that were in play in the minors this season, 104 of them were ground ball outs, and just 18 of them were fly ball outs. \r\n

\r\n\"He was simply brilliant this past season,\" the scout noted. \"I was shocked it took Toronto more than half the season to give him the call-up.\"\r\n

\r\nThe more time League spent with Toronto, the better pitcher he became. His ERA went from 3.86, to 2.79, to 1.29 in the months of July, August and September respectfully. Right-handed hitters batted just .178 off League who lowered his ERA by over four full runs. \r\n

\r\n\"The bottom line is he began throwing strikes.\"\r\n

\r\nWith the future of Justin Speier in balance this off-season, the Jays might be counting on League to become their setup man in 2007.\r\n

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