One Night Only: Re-Introducing the Rze

For better or worse, today’s edition of One Night Only was penned by a white person.

Ya heard!

Minnesota at Toronto | Wednesday, July 7 | 7:07pm ET
Starting Pitchers
Twins: Kevin Slowey (NERD: 4)
88.2 IP, 6.39 K/9, 1.83 BB/9, .325 BABIP, 27.9% GB, 8.7% GB, 4.64 xFIP

Blue Jays: Marc Rzepczynski (Season Debut)
61.1 IP, 8.80 K/9, 4.40 BB/9, .280 BABIP, 51.2% GB, 14.9% HR/FB, 3.70 xFIP (2009)

Hot Button Topic
It’s amazing how, for all the handwringing and outrage in re the ethics of human cloning, how no one’s mentioned that the Minnesota Twins have been doing it for years. Brad Radke, Carlos Silva, every single pitcher in their current starting rotation: they’re genetically engineered not to walk batters. (Actually, come to think of it, maybe “Twins” isn’t just an allusion to regional geography, but a sly clue as to the organization’s illicit bioengineering operation.)

In any case, Kevin Slowey is very clearly a product of the Twinkers’ advanced scientific efforts. On the season, 54.1% of his pitches have been in the zone. That places him fifth overall among 109 qualified pitchers.

Quick, Get a Graphing Calculator!
And plot the following points (x, y): (2008, 36.1%), (2009, 32.0%), (2010, 27.9%). Now insert a best-fit line up in that piece.

Notice anything? Those y-coordinates are Slowey’s groundball rates. They’re going down, down, down — like, to the point where they might be negative someday.

Question: Should the Twins just play with three infielders when Slowey pitches? Like, have a first baseman, two other infielders, and then a softball-type outfield? I’m not joking a lot.

Actually, What I Wanted to Say Is
Tonight’s starter for the Blue Jays, Marc Rzepczynski, is making his season debut after missing the first three months of the season to a fractured middle finger that he sustained while attempting to field a comebacker during spring training.

You can tell from his numbers above that the Rze had a pretty excellent major league debut, inducing strikeouts and ground balls at an above-average rate, and thus leading to his sub-4.00 xFIP. The Rze profiles — at least, statistically — like a couple others guys: Jonathan Sanchez (but with more grounders), Gio Gonzalez (but with more grounders), Jorge de la Rosa, and Manny Parra.

The thing is, the Rze’s fastball velocity (88.0 mph in 2009) doesn’t even come within 2 mph of the slowest guy on that list (Sanchez, who averages about 91 mph). Moreover, his (below-average) swinging-strike rate of 7.3% suggests that his strikeout totals might have been flukish. Even so, he’s an interesting case study.

How to Pronounce Rzepczynski
Put your lips together and blow — but while you’re blowing, say the entire alphabet in Polish.


If I Had My Druthers
• Either Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion would hit a Kevin Slowey fastball all the way to America.
• U.S. armed forces would shoot down said home run ball — via both air and ground fire — at the very moment it crossed into American air space.
• The entire thing would be videotaped using the same technology as in The Matrix.

Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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13 years ago

it’s pronounced zep – chin – ski

the r and 9 of the z’s are silent.

13 years ago
Reply to  erik

silent letters suck