Breeding Familiarity: A Brief Infographic

As we collectively count down the waning hours of the 2013 trade deadline, hoping for a pair of teams to make a big splash before the calendar switches over into August days, one of the not as boring less dull more flashier trades made in the midst of HugWatch 2013 was the trade between the Detroit Tigers and the Houston Astros. Astros closer Jose Veras was sent to the Tigers for outfield prospect Danry Vasquez in a move that has the potential to be a win-win for the teams. For Detroit in particular, it has the makings of a great move, as they bring in a much-needed arm to their weak bullpen in the form of Veras, who compiled 19 saves and a 140 ERA+ for the ‘Stros.

The 32 year-old Veras is your textbook journeyman, having played for six teams before landing in the Tigers bullpen, all the while possessing a good, live fastball and reasonable strikeout rates as well as some so-so walk rates. Nothing unforgettable, nothing worthy of a shirsey being produced in his honour. Yet something kept tickling the farthest reaches of my mind as I watched Veras pitch today against the Washington Nationals, something that made me cock my head, as if doing so would jog my memory as to what made Veras so familiar, despite his vagabond status. I had seen him before, I had seen it before, in a Tigers uniform, patrolling the 8th inning with a fiery fastball and a painful delivery. To wit, Veras’ delivery:

Ow.

That’s it! This full speed, flailing, herky jerky delivery that, while providing 95+ MPH velocities and an authoritative smack of the catcher’s mitt as a result, has been seen before in the Motor City, with poor results.

Yes, we have seen it before:

Ow ow ow.

The UCL defying, crowd pleasing delivery of Joel Zumaya, reincarnated.

I won’t pile on and go into detail about the medical issues that have felled Zumaya over the years, but I will say that while Veras’ fastball can be electrifying, let’s hope he avoids the foibles of such a mechanically unsound delivery.

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