Dissecting Cecil’s Struggles

Image courtesy of Daylife via AP

Earlier this week, it was Jesse Litsch who was sent down to Las Vegas – but should it have been Brett Cecil instead?

Here I was racking my brain trying to pinpoint what has been causing Brett Cecil’s struggles, but I can’t seem to find a concrete answer. Others across the blogosphere and Twitterverse are also having trouble finding out what exactly is wrong with Cecil.

Initially it was thought that the troubles might be stemming from lost velocity on his fastball, but Brett Cecil touched 91 MPH on the radar gun last night, so that can’t be the issue.


Then I thought it was because he was getting behind early in the count. Taking a look at last night’s at bats, out of the 24 batters Cecil faced, he threw 12 first pitch strikes, 9 first pitch balls, and the other 3 were first pitch hits.

However, that seems to be about on par with most American League starters Cecil’s overall first pitch strike percentage is 59.6%, which is right around the median for the AL. Then I took a lpeek at his swinging strike percentage, and that was sitting at 7.9% which ranked 34th out of 56 AL starters.

The only other thing which may be attributing to Cecil’s struggles is his ground balls are down and his fly balls are up. Given he’s only thrown 21 innings so far this year, but when your ground ball percentage plummets from 44.2% to 30.8%, that’s a recipe for disaster.

Consequently, Cecil’s fly ball percentage has skyrocketed from 38.2% last year to 44.6% this year.

It hearkens back to what Gregg Zaun in his infinite wisdom has been saying about Brett Cecil all along; he needs to “pound down” and not leave his pitches up in the zone. Once he begins to elevate his pitches, that’s when Brett runs into problems.

If you guys can shed some light as to what’s wrong with Brett Cecil, by all means please let me know in the comments because aside from what’s posted above, I’m stumped.

Stats courtesy of Brett Cecil’s Fangraphs page

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

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