Gregerson is Unhittable

If I would’ve told you in spring training that Luke Gregerson would produce a higher WAR from a non-closer’s reliever role than Khalil Greene, you would’ve painted me eight different shades of crazy. It’s not longer insanity, it’s reality. Greene has struggled through his first season in the heartland, posting a .641 OPS to date and causing the Cardinals to acquire alternative options to fill their middle infield roles.

Gregerson on the other hand, has pitched about as well as you could ask. A 2.33 FIP and 2.62 tRA are extremely solid. His sinker/slider combination is producing groundballs (45.5%), infield flies (16.1%), and outfield flies that aren’t turning into home runs (3.6%). Nobody is hitting him. His 65.7% contact rate is one of the lowest in the major leagues. He’s not just blowing fastballs by hitters like Jonathan Broxton either, Gregerson’s fastball sits in the low-90s and he uses his slider (which sits in the low-80s) on a nearly equal basis. There’s some deception involved and his arsenal causes batters to swing out of the strike zone on nearly 40% of occasions.

In the spring, Padres Assistant General Manager Paul DePodesta wrote this on his blog:

We came into this spring knowing that a number of bullpen roles would be up for grabs, and with the recent loss of Mark Worrell for the year to elbow surgery (the other player acquired for Khalil) there are fewer guys in the mix. Our scouts believe that Luke could factor in our pen sometime in 2009, so we’re excited to add him.

I’d say Gregerson has exceeded expectations.

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9 Responses to “Gregerson is Unhittable”

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  1. Steve says:

    Unfortunately the Cards (or at least a decent amount of Cards fans) would rather have any of the 3 RH relievers they traded away (Gregerson, Todd, Perez) over the last year than the one they kept (Motte).

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    • VolsnCards5 says:

      i’m a cards fan…i’d rather have perez than motte, but i still believe i’d take motte over the other two…i don’t think will ever be anything more than a middle relief type(long man even)…gregerson has been a revelation this season, and i could be wrong, but i have a suspicion that this is a fluke

      motte will be much better next season than he has been this season methinks

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      • Joe R says:

        To be fair, in 239 2/3 career professional innings (Majors & Minors), he’s only given up 8 HR.

        Unsustainable? Maybe, his HR/FB is just 3.6% (PETCO-induced, highly likely), but his IFFB rate puts him 11th of 148 relievers. I think this would be helped a lot by looking at his “stuff”, because I do think it’s possible to induce pop ups and have a low career HR/FB rate (see Mariano Rivera).

        Am I saying Luke Gregerson is going to be the next Mariano Rivera?…yes, this is exactly what I’m saying.

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      • Steve says:

        I hope you’re right. It was probably some hyperbole on my part. You’re right in that Motte still has the highest ceiling probably. I still think odds are decent that all 3 (non Perez) end up as middle reliever types.

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      • VolsnCards5 says:

        the third sentence is supposed to say, i don’t think TODD will ever be anything more…

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      • VolsnCards5 says:

        and i hope, for gregerson’s sake, he is the next rivera…and i hope if that is the case, the padres trade him back to st. louis for joe thurston

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  2. Don J says:

    Remember that Gregerson also came up from AA, and has gotten better and more confident as the season has gone on. If the Padres end up trading Heath Bell, I think Gregerson could be in the mix as a future closer, and he’s definitely helped us forget Khalil Greene, (along with exciting young shortstop Everth Cabrera.)

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  3. Pete says:

    Gregerson has been truly awesome this year. I think the Greene gamble was still a good one, but this has not worked out at all for the Cardinals. My bet is that Greene misses a significant portion of the season next year and that Gregerson continues to be a good pitcher (this good? who knows, but his stuff is definitely funky).

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