2020 Toronto Blue Jays Reflections: Ken Giles

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We continue to look at the 2020 Toronto Blue Jays by looking at a pitcher whose 2020 difficult to swallow, mostly because of his health: Ken Giles.

Giles, now 30, was originally drafted in the seventh round of the 2011 draft out of Yavapai College by the Philadelphia Phillies. He made his mark in the major leagues fairly quickly tossing 45 2/3 innings for the Phillies in 2014 with a stellar 1.18 ERA and 0.78 WHIP, striking out a whopping 64 batters while walking only 11 and earning a fourth-place finish in National League Rookie of the Year voting that year.

Giles was still dominant, earning 15 saves for the Phillies in 2015, throwing 70 innings with a 1.80 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, striking out 87 and walking 25 but he was traded in the offseason to the Houston Astros.

Giles took a bit of a step back in 2016 for the Astros but regained his magic in 2017 (2.30 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 83 strikeouts and 21 walks in 62 2/3 innings), saving 34 games. He started 2018 struggling for the Astros, posting a 4.99 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 30 2/3 innings despite 31 strikeouts and just three walks. He famously was so angry at himself for giving up a go-ahead home run early in the season that he punched himself in the face, an incident that resulted in a three-game suspension that came down from MLB.

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Giles was traded to Toronto in mid-2018 and finished the season strongly, posting a 4.12 ERA and 1.12 WHIP with 22 strikeouts and four walks in 19 2/3 innings, saving 14 games for the Jays. When he returned in 2019, he was dominating (despite missing a little bit of time with a sore elbow). He threw 53 innings and saved 23 games for a bad team, posting a 1.87 ERA and 1.00 WHIP, striking out an insane 83 batters (that’s a 14.1 K/9 ratio).


Coming into 2020, Giles pitched four solid innings in spring training, giving up just a solo home run while striking out four. But when the season started, he would just pitch twice, allowing two runs in his second outing on a hit and three walks. He went on the injured list after an elbow injury and returned in mid-Sptember to pitch twice more, allowing a run in each of his two outings, one against the New York Mets and one against the New York Yankees.


It was announced before the season ended that Giles would undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his season and putting a wrench into his free agency plans. Now a free agent, Giles will be out all of 2021 and will have to look toward 2022 to revitalize his career.


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