Blue Jays Opposing Pitcher Report: Wilmer Font

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 02: Wilmer Font #62 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the sixth inning during their game at Safeco Field on June 2, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 02: Wilmer Font #62 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the sixth inning during their game at Safeco Field on June 2, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

On Wednesday, June 13, the Blue Jays look to salvage a win against the Rays. The Rays will start another opener, calling Wilmer Font’s number. The Blue Jays will counter this move with their best starter, J.A. Happ.

Wilmer Font has bounced around three different teams this season. The right-hander began the season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, before being designated for assignment. After leaving the Dodgers, the young reliever moved up the coast to Oakland, where he would also be designated for assignment. It has truly been a difficult season for the young pitcher.

After a quick glance at the right-hander’s numbers, it isn’t surprising that he hasn’t found a permanent home this season. Through fifteen appearances and 25 1/3 innings, he’s posted a 9.59 ERA, 8.12 FIP, 1.733 WHIP, and a terrible 50 ERA+.

However, Font has been much better, relatively, while in Tampa Bay. In five appearances for the Rays, the right-handed hurler has managed a 3.24 ERA, 4.78 FIP, 1.080 WHIP, and a much better 127 ERA+.

The big pitcher will primarily mix between a four-seam fastball and a curveball. However, he will occasionally throw sliders, change-ups, and sinkers.

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The four seam fastball has been featured by the opener 61.7% of the time this season. The heater averages a quick 95.10 mph velocity with very slight arm side fade. The fastball has not fared well this year, allowing seven home runs and a terrible .616 SLGA.

Font has offered up hooks 20.2% of the time this season. The breaking ball maintains a slow velocity (75.1 mph) with classic 12-6 movement. Interestingly, the curveball has produced the most ground balls, currently maintaining a good rate of 54.55% of balls in play. However, these balls have clearly found holes—the big breaker has posted a horrendous .539 BAA.

The usage of the slider has dropped from 20.9% last year to 7.5% this season. The slider maintains a good velocity (82.86 mph) with good late, hard drop. Despite the good movement, the slider has allowed an astronomic 1.111 SLGA this season and a horrible .444 BAA.

The right-handed hurler’s repertoire is completed with occasional change-ups and sinkers. The off speed pitch averages a velocity of 85.19 mph and has been featured 6% of the time. The sinking fastball averages a decent velocity of 92.83 mph and has been used 4.6% of the time. Despite maintaining the lowest use rates, both pitches have avoided hits well. The change has allowed a .182 BAA and the sinker has posted a .250 BAA.

Font’s statistics do not accurately reflect the pitcher he will eventually be in the majors; he’s just gotten unlucky. His numbers in the minors have been excellent, in fact. So, it is a matter of time before the young pitcher comes back around.

A few key number suggest that he will come back around soon. For example, his HR/FB rate is a comically high 29.7%. This incredible rate has led to a horrible 4.91 HR/9 and a total of 11 home runs against the right-hander. Eventually more of these fly balls will turn into outs, instead of going over the fence. Indicative of an expected regression, he has allowed just one home run in 8 1/3 innings for the Rays.

The young pitcher’s strikeout numbers are decent. He currently holds a mediocre K-rate of 19.2% and a similar 8.17 K/9. Curiously, the right-hander doesn’t change his pitching style to produce strikeouts. Instead, he relies on his fastball with two strikes 54% of the time against lefties and 59% of the time against righties.

The Blue Jays have five total at-bats spread across six hitters against the Venezuela native. Teoscar Hernandez has managed a walk in one plate appearance against the relief pitcher. Yangervis Solarte has the only hit off Font, hitting one home run in two at-bats.

Next: Looking beyond dealing just the rental contracts

The Blue Jays have scored five runs in two games against the Rays this series. Clearly the team needs to jump on a struggling young reliever. If they can manage decent run support, J.A. Happ has the ability to carry them the rest of the way.