Tuesday, July 05, 2011

James McDonald

Gypsy Soul asked:

Hey Mike, happy 4th. When you have time would you mind posting your thoughts on James McDonald? Thanks very much and be well.

Sorry Gypsy – you are stuck with Mike’s alter ego today!

James McDonald was drafted in 2002 by the Los Angeles Dodgers.  He did not make his major league debut until 2008 with the Dodgers, and did not pitch regularly until 2009.  He pitched poorly enough in 2009 to warrant a demotion, and then relegation to the bullpen.  2010 looked exactly the same until he was moved to the Pirates in July with Andrew Lambo.  From there, he took off, posting a 20 inning scoreless inning streak and finishing the year strong.  In fact, Jack Moore called McDonald an “ace” and the biggest steal of the trade deadline.

Funny how things work out – McDonald might be the weakest link on the Pirates staff this year.  In 92 innings, McDonald has only posted 5 wins.  His K/9 is down to 7.24 (after last year’s 8.54).  His BB/9 is up to 4.60 (after last year’s 3.64).  Hitters are swinging and missing less, making contact more, and essentially hitting McDonald’s fastball all over the park.

Gypsy, I cannot give you Mike’s thoughts (I have tried to read it in the past – you do not want to be in there); I can, however, give you mine.  I am not impressed with McDonald and have never been impressed with McDonald.  He has posted excellent strikeout numbers in the minor leagues, but his control has been an issue since AA.  In a good year, I see McDonald posting a 4.00; in a bad year, that 4.00 will be closer to 5.00.  No offense to Mr. McDonald, but I think he is going to be better off in the bullpen, or he is just going to be a bust.


Mike Gianella said...

I partially or mostly agree with Toz. I wouldn't touch McDonald this year. He has shown flashes, but his overall xFIP is 4.48 in 2011 and he's been all over the place. He's not a good investment this year.

In 2012 and beyond? This is where I'm not necessarily on the same page as Toz. McDonald has less than 300 Major League innings under his belt. Some pitchers take as many as 500 innings to get their legs under them. This doesn't mean that McDonald is a sure bet for success, but I don't think it means he's a sure bet for failure, either.

Gypsy Soul said...

thanks to both of you for your thoughts and take care. thoughts from either "Mike" are great, but from both.....wow.