Q. Is he an upgrade from Anthony Bass?
A. Not for me, no. I was looking forward to watching Bass, in the sense of being Bass being a good pitcher among bad pitchers. I wouldn't trade you Bass for Cook, but ... you, Gentle Reader, can take comfort in two things.
(1) Bill James' axiom: MLB orgs pay too much attention to what their scouts say, and too little to how their players have performed.
(2) Jerry DiPoto's axiom: Relievers, if they're not Kimbrel or Chapman, wobble like Weebles.
You AARP subcommittee members recall the Weebles that Wobble But They Don't Fall Down? In 2012-14, Ryan Cook used to be fairly good -- I dunno how he was an All-Star, but he was -- so DiPoto's simply making a bet on Axiom 2. I'm not with him, but. Jerry DiPoto pushing a stack of chips into the pot, that's interesting. At least for now.
Q. What's the Ryan Cook template?
A. J.C. Ramirez, Jose Ramirez, any Jack Zduriencik right hand pitcher with a hot fastball and an eyebrow-raising slider and a lack of command. Good to know that DiPoto is married to Axiom 2 more than he is to his other axiom, the one that says "other things being equal, I'll trade some K's to reduce the walks." Cook, even at his best, is a 9K 4BB kinda guy. Bemusing to see Jerry DiPoto pick up a Jack Z kinda short man.
Here is a video of him at his best. His slider can be dangerous, especially whipsawed against a 96 fastball. Dunno that it's repeatable any more.
Brooks Baseball describes him this way:
Basic description of 2015 pitches compared to other RHP:
His fourseam fastball results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, has slight armside run and has slightly above average velo.
His sliderhas some two-plane movement.
His sinker has slight armside run and has slightly above average velo.
His change (take this with a grain of salt because he's only thrown 18 of them in 2015) is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' changeups, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' changeups, is slightly firmer than usual and has some natural sink to it.
Actually Cook's change can take RH hitters by major shock and produce garbage swings. :: shrug :: He doesn't throw it much and he has bigger problems than trying to refine his cambio.
Q. Maybe he's a ROOGY?
A. Without a doubt he's in that category. Or you could try to deploy him that way, at least. Righties basically OPS+ 70 against him and lefties OPS+ 130. He does blow down RHB, trying to cobble smoke-and-mirrors sinker, changeup AB's against lefties.
A. Justifiably omits him from their ledger.
Q. Worst and best case scenarios?
A. As follows:
HI - returns to 2012-14 form and is an average-solid, if overrated, short reliever
HI/MID - is adroitly deployed as a ROOGY and retires some Albert Pujols types for us (129:35 control lifetime, .191/.262/.273 vs RHB)
MID - makes the team based on his contract, but wastes our time in Blake Beavan fashion
MID/LO does get a bobblehead night, but is on the "disabled list" for it
LO - Sent to minors, costs a few bucks out of the self-imposed salary cap
My heart ain't in this one,