Toronto Blue Jays 2023 Season Preview: LHP Tim Mayza

Toronto Blue Jays v Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays v Boston Red Sox / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages
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Next up in our 2023 Toronto Blue Jays season preview series is reliever Tim Mayza.

Previously:

Addison BargerAnthony BassChris BassittBrandon BeltJosé BerríosBo Bichette, Cavan BiggioMatt ChapmanAdam CimberHagen DannerSantiago EspinalMatt GageYimi GarcíaKevin Gausman, Chad GreenVladimir Guerrero Jr.Thomas HatchSpencer Horwitz, Danny Jansen, Leo Jimenez, Kevin Kiermaier, Yusei Kikuchi, Alejandro Kirk, Otto Lopez, Nathan Lukes, Alek Manoah, Orelvis Martinez

Here's a quick refresher on the projection systems we will be taking into account and their predictions for Mayza's upcoming season.

STEAMER: 57 G, 3-3 record, 0 SV, 3.54 ERA, 56 SO and 19 BB in 57 innings

ZiPS: 63 G, 5-3 record, 0 SV, 3.62 ERA, 46 SO and 16 BB in 49.7 innings

THE BAT: 51 G, 2-1 record, 0 SV, 3.99 ERA, 43 SO and 15 BB in 46 innings

2022 stats: 63 G, 8-1 record, 2 SV, 3.14 ERA, 44 SO and 12 BB in 48.2 innings

Mayza, 31, will look to improve on his 2022 season, which brought some hiccups and regression after a stellar 2021.

From giving up No. 61 to Aaron Judge late in September to being the unlucky reliever summoned to replace Kevin Gausman in the final game of the Wild Card, Mayza's 2022 campaign ended on a rocky note.

Looking ahead to 2023, the projections predict that Mayza will maintain roughly the same performance in strikeouts and walks but with a higher ERA and WHIP. All three systems think his ERA will be in the mid-to-high three range.

As for his WHIP, which was 1.11 last year, ZiPS is the most optimistic with a 1.19 prediction, while Steamer and THE BAT expect marks of 1.26 and 1.29, respectively.

Entering his sixth season, Mayza is the only left-handed reliever in the Jays' bullpen, at this time, anyway. While it's inevitable that he'll face righties, due to the three-batter minimum rule, he was incredibly tough on lefties last season.

Stat.

vs. LHB

vs. RHB

WHIP

0.73

1.43

AVG

.162

.291

LOB%

98.5%

71.9%

FIP

3.11

4.69

xFIP

2.40

3.36

BABIP

.189

.329

A reason for optimism is the 2.93 xFIP (Expected Fielding Independent Pitching) that Mayza sported last year, which was over a whole point lower than his actual FIP of 3.98. This suggests some unlucky batted-ball results, specifically against righties, who had a .329 BABIP.

He also had a solid Left On Base (LOB) rate of 79.6%, compared to the league average for relievers of 72%. His LOB rate against lefties was a sparkling 98.5%.

Mayza's biggest problem last year was giving up too much high-quality contact. You can see the difference from 2021 to 2022:

Quality of Contact Metric

2021

2022

Barrel%

3.6%

7.4%

Hard Hit%

32.6%

39.0%

Sweet Spot%

25.4%

34.6%

To regain his 2021 form, he'll need to improve his slider, a pitch he used 17.4% of the time last season. He gave up a 22.2% Barrel rate on the pitch, up from 6.1% in 2021. And the Hard Hit rate jumped from 45.2% to 61.1%.

To succeed in 2023, Mayza will have to turn the slider back into a weapon that can generate more swing and miss, especially if the team is going to rely on the lefty late in games.

Matt Gage claimed off of waivers from the Astros. dark. Next