Cecil murders lefties

Yesterday’s news that Brett Cecil, after a terrible spring, has been demoted to Double-A New Hampshire came as a not-unwelcome surprise. Putting him in Toronto’s rotation to start the year would have been bad for everyone, but I really believed that’s what would happen.

It’ll be interesting to see how Squints fares in the pitcher-friendly confines of Northeast Delta Dental Stadium as he faces Double-A hitters with stuff that works (to some degree) at  the major league level. Maybe success there, if he finds it, will give transfer to the Majors whenever he gets another chance. But if he struggles in New Hampshire, it likely won’t (or, at least, shouldn’t) be the end of Cecil.

I’ve made the argument before that ol’ Squints should be moved to the bullpen. I still think he should be used as a starter if at all possible, but as time goes on that seems less and less likely. I still think he has a future in the ‘pen. But in what role? Just now, as I was going through Cecil’s velocity charts and pitch outcomes and splits looking for something to defend the guy with, I found something that seems interesting:

Brett Cecil is really good at getting left-handed batters out

I doubt any pitcher aspires to being a LOOGY (lefty one-out guy) but they have an important role to play in the modern game. Brett Cecil, if he can’t get it together enough to start again, could be a great LOOGY.

Over the course of his career, Cecil’s held lefties to an OPS of .664. While that’s a good number, it’s inflated by his relatively awful 2009 performance against lefties. In 2010 and, yes, even 2011, Cecil murdered left-handed batters. Check out these lines:

2010 vs LHB: .224/.255/.342/.597 (AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS)
2011 vs LHB: .186/.282/.240/.522

Pretty crazy, eh? Even when Cecil’s putting together a season like last year’s that makes everyone doubt his future, he’s still able to hold lefties to pretty anemic numbers.

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