Sep 24, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Todd Redmond (58) throws in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
When I think of Todd Redmond I think of Bull Durham‘s Crash Davis …forever in the minors going nowhere fast, but fighting the good fight. Still, in 2013, this 28-year-old rookie made a name for himself striking out Yankees et al when most other Blue Jay pitchers fell by the wayside. Yes, Redmond is a fighter. Now he’s fighting for a fifth-spot in the starting rotation with the Toronto Blue Jays. Strange as it seems, there is a very small chance he might get it.
Todd Redmond was never a shooting star. Heck, the Pirates drafted him in the 39th round in 2004. He even got traded twice in the minors. His first game in the show was in 2012 with the Reds. He pitched for only three innings and he got stomped.
Even his 2013 breakthrough year was a struggle. Redmond was claimed off waivers twice before spring training ended. He also missed the first 41 games of the Bisons’ season with a shoulder injury. He had just two starts with the Bisons before he had a short cup of coffee with the Jays; then back he went to the International League. If not for the 2013 disastrous Blue Jays season, Todd Redmond would not be discussed for any potential place on any MLB team. Still, when Todd Redmond got his second chance in the Bigs, he made the most of it. Even though he was sent down twice to Buffalo, he came back to garner the rep of being a strike-out pitcher who did not get rattled when facing adversity… a trick he learned in the minors.
Redmond finished the season with a 4-3 record and an ERA of 4.32. He even beat the Yankees… twice. The Jays only bested the Yankees five times all year. Redmond pitched 77 innings, had 14 starts, four of which were quality outings. He struck out 76, walked 23 and had a WHIP of 1.31. He kept the opposition batting average to .239.
Unfortunately, Redmond had a 1.52 HR/9 rate. That is a lot, but not unexpected because the Rogers Centre is a bandbox. Redmond consistently attacked the strike zone and got dinged when pitches rose up. That is reason he averaged only 5 innings a game. Redmond pitched hot and cold in 2013. He was not hit a lot but when he was, it was hard. Yet, when he was on his game, which was most of the time, he stopped the opposition but cold. Ask the Yankees. Overall, he was not bad for a rookie, even if he was a 28 year-old rookie.
Redmond throws fastballs, sliders and change-ups (the latter come in around 82 mph). Redmond’s heater is average, low 90s, and runs in more than it rises. He is a fly ball pitcher, with ground balls coming in around 30 percent. He relies on his fastball (64%) and slider (30%) and throws his change-up about 6 percent of the time.
Redmond joined Jamie Evans’s weighted-ball arm-strengthening program this winter as have many Blue Jays pitchers before him such as Brett Cecil. As mentioned above, Redmond’s fastball hits a little over 90 mph. The program hopefully will strengthen his arm to throw faster and avoid injury.
Even if the Jays make no further free agent or trade acquisitions, Redmond’s chances of earning a rotation spot are slim at best since he has a lot of competition (e.g., Sean Nolin, Drew Hutchison, Kyle Drabek, etc.). If he is to get a spot it will mean he will have accomplished great things during spring training. Redmond is also out of options; however, this does not mean he will go north when the regular season starts. There many pitchers that are also out of options (e.g., Esmil Rogers, Dustin McGowan, Jeremy Jeffress). If he does not earn a spot, GM Alex Anthopolous will have to find a clever way to get him and others past waivers.
The more likely scenario for Redmond is that he becomes the team’s swingman or long-reliever. When will this happen? Who knows? With injuries and a 162-game season ahead of him, there is little doubt Todd Redmond will see Toronto again in 2014. After all, he is a never-give-up-fighting-man like Crash Davis and the Blue Jays are a better team for his presence. All Redmond wants is to serve any way he can.