Now that the season is over, the crew at Blue Jays from Away will take a look at the Blue Jays one by one and review how each player’s season went, whether he met expectations (or not) and look at how he fits into (what we think of) the Blue Jays’ plans going forward.
Brett Cecil (or “Squints” as he is sometimes known) was a bit of a unknown quantity coming into the 2016 season. Injured with a torn calf muscle at the end of the 2015 season in which he was stellar, Cecil came back with less than stellar results in spring training of 2016. He pitched just five times and allowed four runs in 4 2/3 innings before starting the season by giving up seven runs (six earned) in just 9 1/3 innings in April. After three outings in May, Cecil was put on the DL and returned at the end of June.
In the stretch from the end of June to the end of July, Cecil still had trouble, giving up six runs in nine innings but showed much more positive strikeout to walk ratios with 10 strikeouts and just two walks.
Cecil heated up in August, giving up three runs in 8 2/3 innings, striking out 12 to just three walks while he dominated in September/October, allowing only one run in 8 2/3 innings, striking out 14 without walking anyone.
While John Gibbons was finally regaining confidence in Cecil by the end of the year, his setup role been taken over by Joe Biagini and he pitched sparingly in the playoffs. Cecil threw 1/3 of an inning in the Wild Card game against Baltimore, wakling a batter and did the same in two appearances in the AL Division Series, walking one in 1/3 of an inning over two appearances. In the ALCS, however, vintage Squints was around as he threw 3 1/3 innings with a walk and four strikeouts, not giving up a hit or a run.
Cecil, 30, a lifelong Blue Jay made $3.8 million in 2016 in the last year of his contract and is now eligible to become a free agent for the first time in his career.
In his last year before free agency, Cecil missed the second half of May and all of June with a triceps strain. In his first outing of the season on April 4th, he tied an MLB record with his 38th consecutive appearance without an earned run allowed. Then in his next outing he gave up a 2-run homer, ending his streak. He struggled through April with a 5.79 ERA across 9.1 innings. He only made three appearances in May before doing on the DL.
He gave up 6 earned runs over 8 innings in July, for an ERA of 6.75. Hitters continued to make contact off him, as opposing batters had a batting average of .333 for the month, down slightly from .350 in April. He got better in August, with that OBA dipping below .300 for the first time (it was .188 for the month). Over 8.2 innings he allowed 3 earned runs, good for a monthly ERA of 3.12.
September was his best month by far, though in 7 of 12 games he pitched less than a full inning. His ERA in September was 1.08, as he only allowed one run – a home run to David Ortiz on September 30th which cost the Blue Jays that game. He gave up a total of six home runs over the course of the year.
It was a relief to see him return to form in the second half of the season, because there was a lack of confidence in the team’s left-handed relievers. He continued to strike out hitters and in fact didn’t walk anyone in all of September. For the season, his K/BB ratio was 5.63. He allowed 10 of 29 inherited runners to score. He finished the season with a 1-7 record, 4 blown saves, an ERA of 3.93 in 54 appearances.
Cecil made six appearances in the postseason, including the 7th inning of the tied Wild Card game against Baltimore. He walked a batter with one out, which Joe Biagini was then tasked with stranding. He faced a single batter in ALDS Game 2, walking him. He walked another in the third game of the ALCS, the same game in which he recorded his first strikeout of the postseason. He appeared twice more in the championship series, pitching a full scoreless inning each time. In the postseason he allowed no hits, no runs, walked three and struck out four.
Regular Season Grades
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