Steve Delabar: Toronto Blue Jays Turn Water to Wine

By Charles Davis

If Eric Thames is the water, Steve Delabar is the wine. I guess, given the circumstances, we could call Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos “Jesus”.

At the trade deadline, Anthopoulos made a couple of deals to bring in some power arms in the bullpen. Travis Snider brought in Brad Lincoln and Eric Thames fetched Steve Delabar.

Though one would assume that the trading of Snider would bring in the money, it was actually Thames who fetched the strongest return, at least in the early stages of evaluation.

Thames isn’t very good. Since heading to Seattle, his walk rate has gone down and his strikeout rate has gone up – both of which were extraordinarily poor even before the deal. He is now hitting .233/.267/.453 in a Mariners uniform. Of course, coupled with his trademark efense (you know, defense minus the “d”), the putrid offensive showing makes Thames a lackluster player at best.

Delabar, on the other hand, has been outstanding for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Steve Delabar once struck out four batters in one inning, in extra innings. That was the first time a major league player had ever done accomplished that feat in extras. It was the first time a Blue Jay had ever struck out four batters in a single inning.

Yes, that outing stands as a microcosm of Delabar’s brief tenure with the Jays.

Delabar has now appeared in 15 games for the Blue Jays. In those 15 outings, he’s worked 16.1 innings and shown the ability to work two frames if needed. In those 16.1 innings, Delabar has struck out a whopping 29 batters, good for 16 per 9 innings. Though his 4.41 walks per 9 innings is a bit high, his astronomical strikeout numbers offset the walks, working out to a 4:1 K:BB ratio.

Delabar boasts an outstanding fastball/splitter combination and has been incredibly tough on both right-handers and left-handers, making him a valuable option in the back-end of the bullpen in any situation. Given his proclivity for the strikeout, he can be relied on to strand inherited runners.

Delabar still gives up home runs from time to time, but he’s halved his home run rate since coming over from Seattle from 2.20/9 to 1.10/9. Nevertheless, he does have a propensity for lobbing a beach ball fastball down the heart of the plate. If he can continue to suppress his tendency to give up the long ball, Delabar could become a viable 8th inning option with closer-type stuff.

Alex Anthopoulos may have turned water into wine with the Eric Thames for Steve Delabar deal, but he is no Jesus. The Travis Snider trade still stinks.


Charles Davis is a baseball writer for with a specific focus on the Toronto Blue Jays, their farm system, and prospects league-wide. Read his articles here and follow him on Twitter @CPDavis90.

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