On Thursday, August 16, the Blue Jays will complete their extended four game series in Kansas City. Sam Gaviglio will finish off the series against Glenn Sparkman.
If Glenn Sparkman’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he used to pitch for the Toronto Blue Jays. However, the righty did not play many games for the team. Early in spring training 2017, the right-hander broke a bone in his right thumb during pitcher’s fielding practice.
As a result, the hurler began his first season as a Toronto Blue Jays pitcher on the disabled list. After being placed on the 10-day DL, and later moved to the 60-day DL, the 26-year-old was activated off the disabled list on June 29.
The former 20th round pick made his first appearance in the blue and white on June 30 against the Boston Red Sox. His debut was pretty good, allowing two hits and no runs through two outs in the eleventh. However, his second appearance was a much different story.
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Just a few days later, on July 2, Sparkman took the bump against Boston again. This time the now Royals starter allowed seven hits and seven earned runs in just a third of an inning. By the end of the game the score sat at an unsavoury 15-1 for the Red Sox.
Just a day after this horrendous pitching appearance, he was designated for assignment. As a former Rule 5 draft pick from the Royals, he was offered back to the club when he was designated. The Royals agreed to take the one-time-Blue Jay back, and promptly sent him to Triple-A. Currently, he is serving time on the big club as a replacement for the injured Danny Duffy.
In just eight bullpen appearances at the major league level this year, the righty has not been good. Through 16 innings pitched, he has allowed a 5.06 ERA, 4.35 FIP, 1.625 WHIP, and 85 ERA+.
In order to attain these mediocre numbers, Sparkman has kept his pitching repertoire simple, and classic. This season he has alternated between a four seam fastball, slider, change-up, and curveballs. However, despite offering four pitches, he will primarily work between the fastball and slider.
The right-hander has fired home four seam fastballs 60.4% of the time this season. The heater is pretty quick, averaging a velocity of 94.61 mph. As a result of some natural sink on the four seamer, the pitch has produced ground balls at a good rate of 51.61% of balls in play. As well, these grounders have turned into outs decently well, as the pitch has given up a .243 BAA.
The Royals hurler has offered up his slider 29.86% of the time this season. While the breaking ball is hard, averaging a speed of 87.01, it maintains unremarkable arm-side sweep. Indicative of this fact, the slider has produced just seven strikeouts while coughing up a .333 BAA and .542 SLGA.
Sparkman completes his pitching repertoire with a change-up and curveball. The righty has used his change and hook 7.55% and 2.16% of the time, respectively. The off-speed offering has never struck out a batter, but has allowed a terrible .500 BAA and 1.000 SLGA. The curve has, amazingly, given up an identical .500 BAA and 1.000 SLGA.
The right-handed hurler has produced ground balls at a good 48.1% clip this season. However, he has also allowed a poor 37.7% hard hit rate—leading to more hits off the worm burners. Indicative of this fact, opponents have hit for a good .284 AVG against Thursday’s starter.
The Blue Jays have not pulled a tough match-up on paper. Although, his numbers may not tell the full story—as he will be amped up to start against a team that gave up on him. The Blue Jays should look to temper this excitement by working counts and getting on base early. As well, Sam Gaviglio will look to build off of his last strong start against the Rays.