7:17 p.m. update: By the way, the Brandon Morrow physical in Florida is now done.
Brandon League took his physical today and is sitting in his hotel lobby in downtown Seattle at the moment watching Michigan State play Texas in the college basketball game of the year.
He’s all set to fly home tomorrow, but is looking forward to being back in Seattle and playing on the West Coast.
“I’m from Hawaii and I have family out here,” said League, whose mother lives in San Francisco and sister is also in the western part of the country. “It’s going to be good playing in a place that’s so close to home.”
Probably not a bad thing that he’s moving on from Toronto either in the trade that also brings Class A outfielder Yohermyn Chavez to the Mariners in exchange for Brandon Morrow. League has only really had two full seasons with the Blue Jays, with on and off stints from 2004 through 2007 before that.
League has always had a high groundball rate, but 2009 saw him dip slightly from previous norms.
“It’s probably because I wasn’t as effective with my sinker,” he said. “But the thing I did take away from it was I was able to develop my splitter and this was the first time I really started to use it consistently. Now, I have a lot of confidence throwing it.”
Photo Credit: Marc Duncan/AP
League can also mix in a change up.
If he polishes up the sinker a bit more, that sinker-splitter combo can be a lethal weapon. The sinker is his groundout pitch. while the splitter is what he uses to notch strikeouts.
Either way, it gives him something to build off last season with. We’ve already talked about how his Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) and xFIP numbers suggest his ERA was more akin to that of a pitcher with an ERA in the mid-to-low 3.00s. Throw in that Seattle defense behind him and this could be one of those undervalued pickups that makes the M’s look very good later on.
“It never hurts to give yourself another weapon,” League said of his new pitch. “I think that’s going to help me.”
Another thing that could help is the schange of work locales. League said he’s “real excited” about getting to work with Mariners pitching coach Rick Adair once again. Adair was the pitching coach of League’s Class AA New Hampshire team in the Toronto organization in 2003.
“I know a lot of situations where a change of scenery doesn’t hurt and can really help a player,” he said. “With me, this is what’s happening, I’m excited to be coming to Seattle — I’ve always liked coming here — and I’m hoping I can build off what I started last year.”