MLB 2011: The Rise and Fall of Toronto Blue Jays Pitcher Scott Richmond

Andy WongContributor IMay 12, 2011

DUNEDIN, FL - FEBRUARY 20:  Scott Richmond #50 of the Toronto Blue Jays poses during photo day at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium on February 20, 2011 in Dunedin, Florida.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

If you are a Toronto Blue Jays fan, you all remember the solid start Scott Richmond produced during the first month of April two seasons ago.

Richmond was 4-0 through his first five starts with a modest ERA of 2.67. He had won the April rookie of the month award, and suddenly he had gained the trust of the Toronto faithful. Richmond was turning out to be a big surprise, as no one expected him to pan out as well as he did. The North Vancouver native was getting a lot of support from his teammates, and the fans (and him being Canadian made everything better!).

Richmond made the team as the fifth starter, but surprisingly, he was the only starter left on the rotation since the start of season at the end of June. Richmond was turning out to be a big steal for the Jays, and everyone was excited for the future of the club, the rotation and Scott Richmond.

Following the next two months, he was decent, but not outstanding. Richmond ended up with a 6-5 record at the end of June, mostly due to the lack of run support during his gems. Out of the four no decisions he received in May and June, he allowed no more than two runs. Nonetheless, Richmond was still impressive. He started against the World Series Champions' Philadelphia Phillies. He recorded a win, by pitching eight innings, striking out 11, and only a allowing a solo shot by Jayson Werth (who just happens to be a former Blue Jay).

However, for the remainder of the season, Richmond struggled through injuries. He was placed on the DL for the first time on Independence Day. As such, he only made a handful of starts in July and August, as he was still recovering from injury.

Something must of happened during that injury, since Richmond was never the same pitcher he was in April.

Richmond only won two more games after coming back on the disabled list. The once dominant Richmond was struggling with his control, ballooning his ERA to 5.52 by the end of the season. He had issues with runners on base, and had a knack of giving up the long ball. Richmond's once rising star was falling faster than it had risen.

The offseason arrives, and many questions about the starting rotation surface. The trade of Roy Halladay provided a large hole in the rotation, and the Blue Jays had to find their new ace. Though Richmond was never in the running for the Jays ace, he was going to be a integral part of the Jays rotation, in hopes he would regain some of the early dominance during the 2009 season.

The hopes of the Blue Jays faithful and Scott Richmond were extinguished once again. Richmond had damaged his rotator cuff once again, and was put on the 60-day DL. He was injured all through the 2010 season, and any hopes Richmond would regain his early 2009 form were gone.

Through Richmond's rehab was successful (he was 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA during his rehab starts in the minors), Richmond has once again developed issues with his control with his fastball.

Currently, Richmond is pitching for the Las Vegas 51s, and he's struggling to find his form to say the least. Richmond increased his walks per nine innings to 4.2, a far cry from his usual walk numbers. His issues with control, runners on base and giving up the long ball has resurfaced again, and the MLB career of Scott Richmond seems to be in jeopardy if he does not regain his confidence to throw his fastball for strikes and pitching with runners on.

I have always been a fan of Scott Richmond. Having a Canadian player on a Canadian team always put a smile on my face. Having Matt Stairs on the roster a couple seasons back was always one of my favourite acquisitions. Stairs has always been one of my favourite players, and having some hometown talent on the ball club provides what I believe a strong backing for baseball in Canada, and that baseball culture in Canada is definitely present.

I hope Richmond does recover from injury, and will hopefully one day don a Jays uniform. He demonstrated his hard work and perseverance to get to the level he did today. From pitching in independent leagues to pitching to the major leagues, he is one story that many Jays fans will never forget. I believe he still has to ability to regain his control, and will one day solidify himself a spot on the Jays roster. My wishes are to him, and I hope only the best from here on out.