Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins explains his enthusiasm by adding Steven Matz


Statistically, Steven Matz was at his worst in many ways last year.
In an abbreviated pandemic season, Matz posted an ERA of 9.68 (44 ERA +), 7.76 FIP and 1.696 WHIP. He also finished in the bottom six percentiles in allowed out speed, hard-hit percentage and expected batting average.

So for those looking for some bright spots in the wake of Matz joining the Toronto Blue Jays from the New York Mets via trade, they’ll need to take a closer look.

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins certainly did, and he explained his enthusiasm for the addition of Matz on Thursday morning. To start show on Sportsnet 590 The Fan.

“We’re excited about his ability to swing-and-miss, we’re excited about the power of his business,” said Atkins. “An incredibly hardworking and incredible teammate. ”

We can’t quantify Matz’s work ethic or worth as a teammate at the moment, but Atkins is showcasing his qualities on the pitch. Matz’s average fastball speed was 94.5 mph last season, which was its highest level since his first season in 2015 and nearly two ticks above the league average.

From a swing-and-miss standpoint, his 23.4 puff rate lagged behind the league average (26.8), but he sported a 32.6 puff rate on changes. A combination of above-average fast ball speed and a missed change could be a recipe for a rebound.

There’s also this: In 2020, every offering in Matz’s four-step mix had a higher base average (wOBA) weight than expected – which isn’t a good thing for pitchers. This has been the case for most of his career, as his total wOBA topped his xwOBA in five out of six seasons.

Obviously, the Blue Jays see some things they like, and Atkins thinks there is room for Matz to be successful on this list.

“I’m excited that (our staff) are trying to put this guy in a position to be successful,” said Atkins. “Guys who can swing the major league hitters upside down and miss a good clip and not walk a lot of guys, there’s a place for them on every team. In each team. And I hope we can be part of its continued growth and development and keep improving. ”


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