Blue Jays: The mixed results start to Seung-hwan Oh’s season


The Toronto Blue Jays signed ‘The Final Boss’ or ‘The Stone Buddha’ late in the off-season after Seung-hwan Oh failed a physical for the Texas Rangers. Oh has had one really good year in the big leagues and followed that up with a down year where he lost the closer’s job for the St. Louis Cardinals. He’s off to an okay start for the Blue Jays but his velocity is down. Is this cause for concern?

Seung-hwan Oh‘s Blue Jays career started late in spring with visa issues but he was still able to get some work in on the side throughout the spring before seeing game action in the Grapefruit League. Oh’s worked 5 games and 4.2 innings thus far for the Blue Jays.

He got off to a good start nailing down the save in the Justin Smoak game to wrap up the New York Yankees series on Opening weekend. Oh followed that up with a relief win despite surrendering a solo home run against the Chicago White Sox in Jaime Garcia‘s Blue Jays debut. In the loss to the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday, Oh threw a great inning striking out two.

Oh worked .2 innings last night at the Texas Rangers and got hit around a bit giving up two hits and one run. He looked somewhat shaky in the outing but managed to limit the damage. In all of Oh’s outings thus far, he’s yet to have a clean inning allowing at least 1 hit in each. Again, he’s had a few great outings and a few okay ones to this point.

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When the Blue Jays signed Seung-Hwan Oh, he figured to be the primary set-up man to Roberto Osuna. Early on, Ryan Tepera has seen a lot of the 8th inning when bridging the gap to Osuna. Oh also was figured to get his share of save opportunities when Osuna was unavailable. He’s had one opportunity and got the job done.

It’s still very early in the season, so we shouldn’t jump too many conclusions as to the “order” of how the relievers will be used but we’re starting to see the trend of Ryan Tepera getting the 8th inning. Oh will still work the 8th and get some save opportunities but with his so-so start to the season, his leash in those spots may be a bit shorter to start.

As mentioned earlier, Oh’s velocity is down. Last year with the Cardinals, Oh averaged 93.3 MPH with his fastball. That’s down to 91.4 MPH through 5 outings thus far. His changeup is down to 82.6 MPH from 84.3 in 2017. His curve and slider are also down about a mile per hour as well. This could be a result of the lack of work in the spring and still building up his arm strength, but it could be the start of a trend.

Extremely early results of Oh have produced the following numbers:

  • 7.71 K/9 , 1.93 BB/9, 1.93 HR/9, .313 BABIP, 29.4 GB%, 3.86 ERA, 5.34 FIP

That FIP isn’t overly encouraging but it is still very early on in the season. The season thus far for Seung-Hwan Oh has had its good moments and some so-so moments. The velocity is down and he’s given up hits in every outing. Luckily for Oh, he’s managed to wiggle his way out of minor jams he’s created. Is this cause for concern moving forward? It may be if that velocity doesn’t improve. I chalk it up to the lack of work in the spring and building up his arm strength.

Next: Blue Jays: Power in the cleanup spot may be secondary

If Oh can finish 2018 in between his dominant 2016 and sub-par 2017, it would be a huge lift to the Blue Jays bullpen.