Toronto Blue Jays: Kyle Drabek Dazzles in Debut, Molina the Next Jason Varitek?

Justin BoninAnalyst IApril 2, 2011

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 22:  Kyle Drabek #4 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch in the first inning of play against the Seattle Mariners on September 22, 2010 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Matthew Manor/Getty Images)
Matthew Manor/Getty Images

Kyle Drabek went seven innings strong allowing only one hit, one run and walking three.  He had a no hitter through six and a third innings and put on quite the show earning his first career MLB win as the Jays beat up on the Twins for the second straight night, winning 6-1.

All of his pitches were working well for him today and he started very strong, striking out the side in the first inning.  His cut fastball looked exceptional and he was throwing it both inside and outside on hitters with great late movement.  He had the Twins' batters looking silly as they swung over top of his cutter, which was there one minute and gone the next.  His two-seam fastball and curveball looked great as well.  

Overall, he looked as cool as a cucumber and as composed as a veteran.  He also capitalized on some good run support and an excellent catching performance from Jose Molina.  Just about every time the camera cut to Kyle Drabek, Jose Molina was right there beside him discussing the game.

The chemistry that has developed between Toronto’s top prospect and their veteran backup catcher is a great thing to see.  With such a young pitching staff, Kyle Drabek must seek guidance from other sources.  Pitching Coach Bruce Walton and manager/former MLB pitcher John Farrell are certainly two excellent people Drabek can go to for advice off the field and between innings, but it is important for him to have someone he can go to for guidance and advice on the field as well. 

Not to take anything away from JP Arencibia’s game but Drabek has really found a reliable teacher in Jose Molina.  Molina is going above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to guiding Kyle Drabek and the Jays head office and fans alike should be very appreciative.

With Jose Molina as the designated catcher for Kyle Drabek the Jays will really be able to build on the success today (as well as the strong chemistry the pitcher/catcher duo built and put on display in today's game).    

We saw this strategy implemented not all that long in Boston by current Blue Jays manager John Farrell, when Jason Varitek was assigned as the designated catcher for knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.  I understand this was done because Varitek was one of few catchers capable of keeping up with Wakefield’s unpredictable knuckleball but the potential benefits that can come from having Molina catch for Drabek is a legitimate reason for Farrell to try this strategy with the Jays.   

Although Kyle Drabek does have a fair bit of movement on his pitches, I am quite sure JP Arencibia would not have a problem keeping up with him.  What is most important are the benefits that would come from having such an experienced catcher (and a great teacher who is willing to work with younger players) as the designated catcher for top prospect Kyle Drabek. 

John Farrell spoke today about his plans to utilize his bench players as much as possible in order to keep them involved and to give them plenty of opportunities to help their team win (which Jayson Nix and Jose Molina did tonight). 

Therefore, designating Jose Molina as the catcher for Kyle Drabek is most certainly mission accomplished for Farrell.  This strategy will help the team win now and by having Molina help Drabek develop as a big league pitcher it will also go a long way in helping the Jays win down the road as well.

Thanks for reading and let's go Jays!