Last season, the Philadelphia Phillies were able to pull off a major blockbuster trade at the deadline, shaking up their roster and changing the landscape of the National League. The team sent three minor league players, including Kyle Drabek, to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for All-Star pitcher Roy Halladay.
Who is Kyle Drabek, you ask? Many Blue Jay fans were asking the same thing less than a year ago, scratching their heads and trying to figure out what or anything they gained from trading away arguably their best pitcher since Roger Clemens. Well, let’s take some time in getting to know the man who very well might find his way into the pitching rotation for the Blue Jays this season.
Drabek was Philadelphia’s first-round pick in the 2006 Major League Baseball draft. He is the son of 1990 National League Cy Young Award winner, Doug Drabek.
After Spending three seasons in Single-A ball, he finally got his chance to play at the Double-A level in 2009 for the Reading Phillies. The right handed pitcher from Victoria, Texas, would go 8-2 for his team in 15 games that season, but posted a mediocre 3.64 ERA in the process.
The earned run issues for Drabek would be solved in dramatic fashion in his 2010 season, however, as he received a swift change of scenery due to the Halladay trade. This young man found himself in Manchester, New Hampshire, dawning the green and black colors of the Fisher Cats.
The change in area codes did wonders for the Texan, seeing as he finished the season as the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year, while posting a 14-9 record. More importantly, he achieved a very impressive 2.94 ERA in the process.
It was during this decorated season that Drabek would throw only the second no-hitter in the history of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. (He achieved this feat on July 4.) The Fisher Cats would qualify for postseason play, in large part due to the right arm of their newly acquired pitcher, ultimately reaching the semifinals, where they eventually lost to the Trenton Thunder (the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees).
The 23-year-old would make his professional debut against the Orioles last September, striking out five and allowing three runs over six innings of work. Drabek is looking to post similar numbers in spring training, hoping to secure a place in the starting rotation for the Blue Jays this season.
So far, Drabek has pitched in one game for Toronto this spring. He started against the Detroit Tigers, giving up one run in the first inning before retiring all three batters he faced in the second.
The one-time Fisher Cat is the early favorite to win one of the last opening spots in the Blue Jays’ starting staff. This young man will look to impress enough people within the Toronto organization to warrant a spot on the opening day roster.
Photo featured above by Kevin Pataky/MILB.com