Who is this new Jake?

For 5-1/2 seasons the Astros had a Jake on the roster, OF Jake Marisnick also known as JFSF (Jake from State Farm) around this blog. Marisnick was sent off to the Mets for young outfielder Kenedy Corona and reliever Blake Taylor, the second of which immediately yielded benefits to the big club. So, since the Astros did have Jake Elmore in 2013, the 2020 season marked the first time the team was Jake-less since 2012. Well, that just won’t do, so the team went out and signed free agent pitcher Jake Odorizzi, who immediately slots into the spot vacated by Framber Valdez and his broken finger.

Odorizzi is about to turn 31 years old later this month. He is a native of Illinois and was drafted by the Brewers after helping his high school win the state championship. He has two connections to current Astro pitcher Zack Greinke. First, he was part of the package that went from the Brewers to the Royals for Greinke before the 2011 season. Second, Odorizzi who had recently had changed to Greinke’s agent had Zack sit in his 2018 arbitration hearing with…..James Click and the Tampa Bay Rays.

After Odorizzi joined the Royals in the Greinke trade, he made his MLB debut with a 2 game cameo. He was then traded to the Rays in another big-time trade with others for James Shields and Wade Davis. He pitched solidly for the Rays for 5 years and was then traded to the Twins spending the last 3 seasons in Minnesota, which included a so-so year, an All Star year and an injured partial year.

What kind of pitcher can the fans expect Jake Odorizzi to be? Well, not so much in his type of stuff, but more in his results, he appears to be a healthier, more dependable version of Lance McCullers Jr. Here is a bit of a comparison – the first 6 columns are for their careers, the last two are for 2015 thru 2018 just to compare how often they normally took the mound in a season.

  ERA WHIP Hits/9 IP HR/9 IP BB/9 IP K/9 IP Starts/yr* Innings/yr
McCullers 3.70 1.262 7.9 0.7 3.3 9.2 20 113
Odorizzi 3.92 1.240 8.1 1.2 3.1 8.6 30.2 167
* Starts and Innings per year – from 2015-2018

Very similar numbers for the two pitchers, performance-wise with McCullers a bit ahead. It is no surprise that the dependability part of the equation falls heavily on Odorizzi’s side though ironically in 2020 McCullers was the more dependable pitcher. Odorizzi had three stints on the IL in 2020 with a back strain, a chest contusion after getting hit with a line drive and a blister on his middle finger.

While a team can depend on Odorizzi for solid starts, he is not one who tends to go deep into games….similar to LMJ. In his All Star season in 2019, he started 30 games and went at least 5 innings in 25 of them, at least 6 innings in 10 of them and topped out by going exactly 7 innings twice.

Pitch-wise he tends to rely most on his fastball (more than 50% of the time), with his split-change that he learned from Alex Cobb being his strikeout pitch. Of course, fans always watch closely whenever a new pitcher joins pitching coach Brent Strom‘s universe. Can he tweak his location, pitch sequencing, etc. to boost his performance? Even though Orodizzi had three injuries in 2020, none of them was really arm, shoulder, elbow related and frankly, he points more to the stop/start nature of the season for his problems.

So, all that is left is to see how this new Jake does, but it looks like a positive addition to the team.


37 comments on “Who is this new Jake?

  1. Pete Solomon first time back from TJS pitched great! The Marlins announcer said he made their batters look foolish. That’s now Ivey, and Peter Solomon who have answered the bell. Making Steve Cishek’s hopes thinner. We still haven’t seen Garcia yet, Bielak & Nivaldo Rodriguez impressed Dusty. Stanek has struggled early on.

    Looking like the rookies are storming the castle once again.


    • I always thought Solomon was a better prospect than Bielak, because of his fastball velocity.
      Man, it sure would be something if those two ended up pitching for the Astros at the same time. Who woulda thunk it?
      Go Irish!
      Now, how about a couple of our young guys step up into the bullpen and make life easier for Dusty Baker.
      I’m exhausted. Spent the evening working on the rafters of a new small barn.
      They don’t call me 1youngpro, ya know.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Think OP. Think. What does Mike Fiers have to avoid at all cost? That’s right – pitching against the Astros. And since we play them right out of the box – the first four games and seven of the first nine, he has to get his injury excuse ready right now….
        So he starts the season on the IL – comes back after the 7 games are done and then the Astros and A’s play four separate three game series throughout the year that somehow his spot in the rotation does not come up….
        Or they could just cut his butt….


  2. So Dusty says his two main candidates for leading off are Myles Straw and …………Carlos Correa.
    Interesting choice as Straw is the traditional speed demon and Correa is a bit more like the departed George Springer (that is hard to write – will be weird seeing him play in a different uniform).


    • I like it. We’ll see where it goes, but something that was highlighted last year is that the teams in the playoffs almost all had leadoff hitters who had some pop. The thing about Correa is that when he’s not trying to hit homeruns he’s really difficult to get out. Having him focus on getting on base and worrying less about driving in runs might yield big results for him. As for Straw, well, it’s hard to steal first base.


  3. So, Carlos goes 3-3 in the lead-off slot – all singles? On a day when Altuve and Brantley both strike out twice? Who knew the dude wanted to be a lead-off hitter?


    • I guess that lifetime .356 OBP and the less than 20% strikeout rate should have told me something. While Bregs has been a bit better in both those categories, he also has a higher SLG, which tends to make him a better fit as a #3 or #4 hitter. The only guys in the ‘big seven’ that have yet to show any spark at all are Altuve and Gurriel – well, and of course Bregman and Alvarez who are still rehabbing.


  4. My first concern before leadoff is bookending Yordan with both tough hitters, but also OBP guys creating more RBI opportunities for him. Make it so they cannot pitch around him. #1 will sort itself out, and imo will fluctuate throughout this season. Hopefully by purpose and not injury, which speaking of, . . . I don’t want Bregman legging out grounders for a month. Maybe in May!

    By the way, Straw stole 1B yesterday. The radio guys for Marlins couldn’t believe a routine grounder to 2B where the defender has to take 4 steps is an automatic safe for Straw. Kid is lightening.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My thoughts on Astros pitching for this season:
    – I don’t see the Astros having thoughts about Solomon as a reliever, yet. I believe the two inning beginning might indicate their intentions to stretch him out. If they intended him to be a reliever, I believe they would have limited him to an inning in his first action in two years. Just my opinion.
    – Would they do the same thing for Solis. Now he is the guy I would like to see throw two innings.
    – Solomon, Ivey, Abreu, Bielak and Garcia are not kids. They are in their mid 20’s and I don’t really care about them not having pitched for a year or even two, if they have developed in that time with their pitches, command and deliveries. The longer the team waits with them on the 40-man and pitching in the minors, the less contributions they will get from these guys in the majors. If you want them to be major contributors in 2022 and beyond, they need to have their experience begin in 2021, especially when they will face teams who have done little to improve themselves within our division.
    Le them feast off the knowledge gained from guys like Paredes, who last year jumped into the fire and thrived.


    • I was just writing about this elsewhere.

      “At least they allowed Bielak, Solomon, Conine and Ivey longer stints so far to keep them on start reps. Now do that for Hansen, Garcia, Torres and Dubin with Solis (and Hunter Brown) waiting in wings. We’ll have so much depth, there will be no such thing as “wearing out your bullpen” when they’re all Longmen. If we get Framber back, Javier moves to bullpen, we have the makings of two rotations!” Martes and Emanuel, where would they fit in?

      Push Baez off, not a problem.

      The Astros simply don’t have the innings to give to guys who can go 50 plus pitches; Blake Taylor, Bryan Abreu, Josh James, Austin Pruitt and those listed above. HOU has a similar plan to stretch out Vanderbilt Closer, Ty Brown. If you look at Paredes’ work in the minors, he avg’d around 3-4 innings per outing. So they are vastly under-utilizing them! I thought they should definitely have added Luis Garcia to the ALCS. It’s high time they let the best just do their thing.

      Eventually, I’ll get to your article and Odorizzi, Dan. Btw, how long to you think HOU/Click have been talking about Jake, especially since Greinke and he share the same agent?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. So Astro batters have only hit two home runs in the first 7 games this spring. One by Siri, and one by Souza. None by Correa. None by Altuve. None by Tucker. None by Brantley. None by Gurriel, etc. etc. etc. To drive that stat home, consider that Cishek gave up more home runs in one inning than our heroes have hit in seven games! So . . . is it the new neutered baseball? The Florida Sea-Breeze? Or is our offense suddenly focusing on small-ball?


    • It’s my opinion that, with 70 guys in major league camp, the Astros don’t care about their starters hitting or not hitting in games. I believe they care more about what is going on on the back fields and in sessions in games there and in batting, fielding and throwing instructions on the practice fields.
      They are focusing more on the things they see as shortcomings in each individual player and how to fix it.
      Cutoff plays, double plays, drills, shifts, outfield positioning, backing up in the outfield, leadoffs, reading pitchers, bunt situations, covering bases. Some of these players haven’t played in a year and they have to fit in with
      Astros regulars and each other.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Colt “Light Tower Power” Shaver came in very heavy last Spring/May, and has dedicating more to catcher than corner IF. The problem I saw was AJ Reed type bat speed trying to traverse the next level — it’s just much harder to catch up to 97 mph.

        One guy who seems to have turned the corner as the catcher behind Stubbs is Papierski. I think if Korey Lee comes on as fast as projected, Papierski already avoided Rule 5 once … I don’t think he will escape it next year. Bregman had been training with him and their LSU hitting coach, but this year Bregs has been working with Jason Kanzler, our alternate site hitting coach. Anyway, I’m more excited in Papierski than Shaver Perry or Quintana right now.


  7. In spite of my opinion that Bregman should lead off, I think it’s all but settled. Straw gets the nod initially. But I don’t think he’ll do enough at the plate to keep the job. If Bregman hits first, he’ll be leading off once a game. But he’ll also get more at bats than anyone. I think he’s our best hitter, so that makes sense. Now Alvarez could be our toughest out, but like someone said above, he needs bats on both sides, making him impossible to pitch around as often as possible. So maybe Baker puts Bregman right in front of Alvarez and Correa behind.


  8. Asked about young guys who have impressed him, Carlos Correa singled out Austin Hansen, Peter Solomon, Jose Siri and Pedro Leon.

    Would be awesome if all these guys get called up this year!


  9. Minor leagues up to a few new, experimental rules:

    AAA 18″ bags instead of 15″ to allow more room to step, less injuries.

    AA each infielder must be standing both feet in the dirt. *Big Papi wonders, “why now?”

    Hi-A pitcher must step off the rubber completely before throwing to a base (trying to encourage more stealing).

    All Low-A Pitchers have a limited 2 step off, or pick off attempts per PA. A pitcher may attemp a 3rd time but if runner is safe, it’s a balk.

    I’ve heard they are still mulling over penalties for; not saluting Fuhrer Manfred, and speaking without raising their hand first.


    • Wow, just WOW! Smaller bags makes the “game of inches” that much more difficult. Stretching that reach for the bag…

      If the shift is on, in the minors, how will the keystone group deploy the shift?

      Only two throw overs??? WOW.


  10. The Astros with only one. hit. today.

    I am beginning to feel a replay of last year to begin the season. Consider that Baker is not allowing the regulars any substantial game action at all. Hitting on the back fields against a pitching machine or batting practice is different from actual game situation action. I see a slow start coming… Augh

    As OP mentioned above, the Astros do not care to win during spring training ( I am of the group that believes winning begets a winning environment) and MLB does not care about its product.


    • Sargeh, I think we’ll see a shift to the regulars playing regularly within the next week. Not sure why there are so many night games. They tend to screw up late afternoon tee times.


  11. Can you imagine the emotions felt by Jairo Solis yesterday as he took the mound for the first time since September of 2018. Then, it was in the low minors and now it is for the Astros in spring training.


  12. I’ve tried to see some ST games on my MLB subscription. I think I’ve only seen one game and listened to the other without “Gameday”. Most games are not even carried on Gameday. To be honest this has been the most boring ST season I’ve ever seen. Hopefully, regular season won’t be like this. I sometimes feel that “they” are trying to destroy America’ Pastime as we march to the beat of the new dystopian society. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself). Oh for the good ol’ days of Little League baseball over at Strawberry Fields in Pasadena or watching the Houston Buffs at Busch Stadium off Cullen Blvd. Oh I forgot Playland Park, and eating Mexican Food at the Monterey House. A much simpler time.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I recall two Spring’s ago 2019 when the pitching decisions were really heating up at this point. Seems so long ago that Brady Rodgers Astros’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2016 had finally put together his post-18 months after Tommy Johns performed May ’17, and put together something to be proud of in AAA. It was to be his Swan Song of a start, still very much in the mix to make the team over Framber. That was when Framber was wild, when the team didn’t know if he and James would be starters or relievers to begin the season. Brady made that decision for the team, and got bombed.

    Who says Spring doesn’t matter?

    Well, today is Kent Emanuel’s hurrah! He has earned this start, he has carried the AAA team’s load, had a good offseason, seems very determined like no other time. I am really trusting that if Kent were newsworthy of Putila’s mention in the amount of time he talked about Solomon and Ivey as well, and in the same breath saying Hunter Brown looks devastating … I have to believe Kent is turning some heads. Anything we could get out of Emanuel and Martes this year would be a real testament to sticking with them, because I had sure gotten tired of chasing Martes for example down in the lower levels.

    Astros lineup vs. Cardinals, 5:05 p.m. CT

    CF Straw
    2B Altuve
    LF Brantley
    SS Correa
    RF Tucker
    1B Gurriel
    3B Garcia
    C Stubbs
    DH Dawson

    LHP Emanuel

    Astros have a way of hiding guys out, though. Inquiring minds wonder what’s going on with Caballos, Macuare, Diosmerky and Manny, Robaina and JP Lopez, Bellozo and Jairo Lopez? And Ryan Gusto, wait til you see him! How’s Ty Brown look, when can we see Hunter Brown?!

    On most Everyone’s mind otherwise, this lineup looks very much closer to one Dusty didn’t want DeGrom mopping up. Hmmm? This looks locked and loaded. Who’s on the mound for them? Wainwright looked sharp against us last go

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Dusty rewarding Dawson because he made a game saving catch the other day to keep it tied in the 9th. Smart, smart managing. Dawson and De La Cruz are probably on equal footing, but Bryan has the slight power upside imo. They will both get passed up by Barber Brewer Daniels and Leon ultimately though in their brief window before the Summer of ’22. That will be the peak of our Outfield total homegrown crop forward! Just as Brantley is departing in 2023.

    Liked by 1 person

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