Losing David Price is a big blow to the Rays. But even though Price is an ace-caliber pitcher, losing him won't cripple the Rays by any stretch. The Rays' rotation is still very talented without him, and while no replacement options are quite up to his level, it's unbelievable how many quality choices they have. At the end of the day, the Rays decided to go with Jake Odorizzi to start in Price's spot on Monday in what will be his Rays debut (and third MLB start). Alex Cobb believes dorizzi's mentality is perfect for a pitcher replacing Price.
"I think he's that guy," Cobb said. "Some guys can't handle the pressure, some guys can. He's so even-keeled. His confidence level is through the roof without it being arrogant. He has no doubt that he can pitch. He has no doubt that he belongs up in the big leagues. That's what you want from a guy who is making a spot start for you. He's not going to be overmatched. He's not going to be overwhelmed."
When Price went down, Rays' fans first thoughts had to go to Chris Archer, who was so impressive for the Rays last season, but Archer has been slowed by a calf bruise and it's a great luxury for the Rays to have another pitcher in Odorizzi with a few big league starts under his belt to go along with the confidence and stuff to be a very good pitcher. How good is Odorizzi's stuff? Tommy Rancel talked about that over at The Process Report.
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.
The knocks on Odorizzi has always been struggles with his fastball command and good but not great secondary pitches. Will Odorizzi be able to overcome those concerns to be an effective major league pitcher?
Here are your links for today:
-Odorizzi will come up on Monday, but lefty Jeff Beliveau will replace fellow left-hander Alex Torres on the roster for today. Sad that Torres goes down after his 4 shutout innings to help the Rays come back on Saturday, but the Rays needed a pitcher who would be available to pitch (and Torres would have been sent down for Odorizzi anyway).
-Stuart Sternberg ranked fourth on Ken Davidoff's list of the top five owners in baseball.