Rays Tap Odorizzi to Replace Price | The Process Report

Rays Tap Odorizzi to Replace Price

If you followed the Durham Bulls schedule, it was Jake Odorizzi all along. The tall, thin, right-hander will make his Rays’ debut in a Monday matinee match-up with the Blue Jays, ending speculation on “who will replace David Price in the Rays’ rotation?”

Odorizzi last worked on Wednesday when he allowed six earned runs in five and one third innings against Rochester – the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate. Overall, he is 4-0 with a 3.38 ERA in eight starts for the Bulls. He tossed the front seven innings of a combined no-hitter earlier this month. Working with four average – or on occasion better – offerings, he struck out more than a quarter of batters he faced in Durham. Not surprising for a flyball pitcher, he allowed a few balls to leave the yard.

The 23-year-old made two starts for the Royals last year. In seven and one-third combined innings, he previewed all of his pitches. His low-90s fastball took the lead position in front of a low-70s curveball, a mid-80s changeup, and a handful of sliders in the same range. At the high-end of the spectrum, he hit 93 mph. Covering the low-end, he bottomed out with a 69-mph breaking ball. That type of velocity separation between pitches is comparable to Doug Fister, Jeremy Hellickson, and Kyle Lohse. Despite his youth and inexperience, he showed confidence in his secondary stuff in counts where fastballs are primarily used. As a staff, the Rays rank in the top-five of first-pitch changeups and curveballs thrown so do not be surprised if he follows suit.

In terms of mechanics, the athletic Odorizzi receives high marks. The same can be said for his makeup, confidence, and composure on the mound. His delivery, which begins on the third base side of the rubber, is simple and free of quirks. He release point is tall with nice extension upon release. His also has what looks like acceptable, repeatable posture and landing point. The negatives to his game include fastball command and the lack of a true out-pitch.

The Jays have been a slightly below-average offense thus far. That said, they possess big bats in the middle of the order. They have been aggressive on changeups out of the zone, but take a measured approach versus curveballs. To work on any tendencies, however, Odorizzi must first command the fastball. Misplaced heaters will lessen the effectiveness – and usage – of his secondary pitches as well as land souvenirs in the stands. The Jays have hit 29 home runs against right-handed fastballs, the second highest mark in the American League.

With Price expected to miss a minimum of 2-3 starts, Odorizzi should not feel pressured to impress his first time out. Getting ahead in the count, and locating the fastball, seem like elementary concepts, but will be paramount to his success at the next level. If everything is working well, he may even conjure up memories of the man he was traded for.


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