Welcome to the Bench: Chad Girodo

Background
Born: 2/6/1991 (25 years old) Decatur, Alabama, United States
Drafted: 9th round (265th overall) in 2013 by Toronto Blue Jays
Teams: Toronto Blue Jays (2016)
Positions: Pitcher
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 195 lbs
Bat: Left
Throw: Left

Chad Girodo Stats

The Call-Up
April 22, 2016, Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Chris Colabello begins his 80 game suspension for testing positive for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone. The Jays subsequently called up relief pitcher Chad Girodo from AAA Buffalo.

It has been three days since all of this went down so I’m not going to go on a rant about the Colablello suspension. I feel that these two tweets properly sum up my opinion:

Why Girodo’s on the team

While he pitched at Mississippi State University, Girodo’s mechanics were a typical over the top delivery. But as a 9th round pick whose velocity typically tops out at 89 MPH he clearly saw the writing on the wall and lowered his release point to a more side-arm arm slot. This move created some deception on his pitches and he has since climbed the Jays’ prospect charts as a nice lefty reliever, dominating at every minor league level he has played. MLB.com ranks him as Toronto’s 19th ranked prospect and gives a good profile on the pitches he throws:

Girodo was over-the-top in college but has since lowered his arm slot considerably, giving his 87-89 mph fastball a lot of sink while enabling him to work down in the zone consistently. He complements it with a short, wipeout slider at 79-80 mph that is lethal against left-handed hitters, evidenced by their collective .096/.143/.123 and 29 strikeouts in 77 plate appearances against him in 2015. However, his below-average changeup limits his success against righties.

 

Why he’s on the bench
After throwing 2 innings of shutout ball in Friday’s blow out loss, Girodo has since been sent down in order to call up Drew Hutchison for yesterday’s spot start.

Girodo is not a top prospect by any means, but few relievers actually are. His funky delivery and the resulting movement that it gives his pitches do offer him some staying power as a lefty specialist. Guys like Girodo only reinforce my belief that you do not need to spend big money on relief pitching. Often times the league’s top relievers are obscure draft picks of the Girodo-ilk or failed starting pitching top-prospects like Brett Cecil. Guys like Roberto Osuna and Aroldis Chapman are the exception, not the rule. So while teams are throwing boat-loads of cash at relievers in order to emulate the Kansas City Royal three-headed beast of a bullpen, I am perfectly fine with how the Jays have filled in their bullpen. To surround Osuna, Cecil and Storen the Jays have taken flyers on guys like Floyd, Bagini, Tepera, Venditte, Morales, Girodo and even Arnold Leon. As much as people like to pretend that there is an exact science to building a bullpen, a lot of it is just throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks. As long as he is healthy this season we will see Girodo again. Only time will tell if he is the next Darren O’Day (highly unlikely) or just another tombstone in the infinitely vast bull pen grave yard.

 

 

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