Jarrod Washburn’s success is sustainable and he should command a high price
It’s the splitter! What better way to increase a pitcher’s value than spread the word that they’ve learned a new pitch? What’s more –there’s a kernel of truth in it. From this July 2nd story:
Washburn is throwing a split-fingered fastball again. He does it about 6 to 8 times per game, when he really needs it. Tonight, he used it to strike out Rod Barajas on a 2-2 pitch with the bases loaded and two out in the fifth inning.Called it the best splitter he’s ever thrown. Came in at about 86 mph.
All we need to do is clean that up a little. Sayyyyy:
JJ had a lot of spare time while he was injured, and you know how Jarrod’s constantly looking to improve his game. Well, when Washburn was being shelled in May, he decided to take the splitter seriously and that’s why we’ve seen him get such great results even when batters are still making contact. He’s mixing it in well with his other breaking stuff and because he’s less familiar with it, he’s only using it when he’s ahead in the count. And that works well, because when it drops down out of the zone hitters may still swing and miss trying to protect.
Whoever picks him up gets this new, splitter-throwing Washburn, who is really an entirely different pitcher than the one we saw earlier in the season.
There’s our story. Doesn’t that sound like a pitcher contending teams should trade for? Striving for improvement, learning from teammates, using his tools effectively… that’s worth a blue chip prospect or two.
Here’s the great part about this: there’s no easy refutation of this. You’d have to back through a ton of film to try and distinguish the break on different pitches to make any kind of conclusions about how often he’s throwing it if he’s throwing it at all and how effective it’s been. and really, who’s going to put that kind of effort into this? Heck, it worked for Silva — how much of that $48m came from people biting on the “he’s learned a splitter” story? And then later on, everyone can point to the other reports as the source.
So go forth everyone — spread the news anywhere you can about Jarrod’s success being due to the splitter he learned from Putz. Post on forums, send emails to NY writers. Call into KJR. Do what you have to do. We’ve seen this tactic work before, and it’s up to us to replicate its success.