...of the Mark DeRosa trade. In no way is Jess Todd going to solve everything, that's far too incredulous a statement.
However, since he is the last piece coming from St. Louis let's break down his numbers.
I want to start by expressing the relief I am feeling that the Indians did not take the other pitcher that was speculated to be on their short-list, Francisco Samuel. Everything I read about Samuel highlighted his inconsistency and questioned his future. Then I saw, first-hand, Samuel blow up at the All Star Futures Game in St. Louis and prayed the Indians would get Todd.
Good pickin' Shappy.
Todd came out of the University of Arkansas as the best Razorback starter featuring four pitches that can reach the mid-90's. The righty's main pitch is a four seam fastball but he partners that with a hard mid-80's slider that he uses as an out pitch. He also throws a two-seamer and a circle change that have been rated as fringe average or below.
The big plus to this acquisition is that Todd's two best pitches were evaluated as two of the best pitches in the entire 2007 draft for the Cardinals (thanks to Future Redbirds for the info).
Todd stands in at 5 foot 11 inches, and doesn't really have the body to intimidate the players that he is throwing to with his size. However, he doesn't have many, if any, mechanical flaws that are often present in players who attempt to overthrow.
Todd is able to keep his velocity up using a "tall-and-fall" pitching method in which he leads with his hips and follows through his tilted shoulders. His motion looks as if he is stepping over an invisible step on the mound, which allows him to more aggressively rotate his hips to maximize his velocity (thanks to Pitchers Hit Eighth for the info).
The Cardinals made the decision to place Todd in the bullpen prior to starting the season, and by all accounts it seems to have gone well to this point. Pitchers hit Eighth believes that his mechanics and stuff are best suited for a late-inning role and Future Redbirds also like the young righty as a set-up man in the future.
In 41 games at AAA Memphis (zero started) Todd has gone 4-2 with a 2.20 ERA and 24 saves. What I like the most about his numbers, and what so many beleaguered Tribe fans have to agree with, is that over those 49 innings Todd has only given up 3 home runs, and just 12 earned runs total. His WHIP has remained low at 1.06, and his K/9 has been an astonishing 10.8.
The walks have not been a huge issue this season for Todd, only allowing 2.4 per nine, and have never been a huge issue, even as a starter.
I would expect to see Todd begin at Columbus, but I wouldn't expect the team to keep him there for a very long time. Hopefully this half of the DeRosa deal will begin paying dividends in Cleveland in a very short period of time.