Notable Non-Tenders: Pitchers

After examining some of the interesting hitters non-tendered, let’s now turn our focus toward the hurlers let go by teams on Saturday. I only included CHONE projections for a select few, as many of these pitchers are still on the rehab trail.

Jose Arredondo

Arredondo was a revelation out of the Angels bullpen in 2008 (8.11 K/9, 3.25 BB/9, 3.62 xFIP), but he endured a nightmarish 2009 campaign and is now set to undergo Tommy John surgery. The small righty with big stuff wasn’t nearly as bad in 2009 as his 6.00 ERA would indicate, as his BABIP was .339 and his strand rate was just 64.9%. Arredondo’s xFIP was 4.03. He missed more bats (9.4 K/9), but his control suffered (4.6 BB/9). Jose also whiffed a bunch of batters (10.5 K/9) and walked the yard (6.1 BB/9) in 20.2 innings at AAA.

Matt Capps (56 IP, 6.91 K/9, 2.41 BB/9, 1.13 HR/9)

Capps was something of a surprise non-tender, but his reputation might surpass his actual contribution at this point. To be sure, he’s nowhere near as bad as his 5.80 ERA in 2009 would suggest: his BABIP was a stunning .370. Capps has excellent control (career 1.66 BB/9), but he doesn’t whiff many batters for a late-game reliever (6.89 K/9). An extreme fly ball pitcher (career 36 GB%), Capps benefitted from abnormally low home run/fly ball rates in 2007 (4.4%) and 2008 (6.8%). In ’09, that figure regressed to 13.5%. Check out Capps’ ERA and xFIP numbers from 2007 to 2009:

2007: 2.28 ERA, 4.31 xFIP
2008: 3.02 ERA, 3.95 xFIP
2009: 5.80 ERA, 4.37 xFIP

Add in Capps’ recent health problems (DL stints for a shoulder injury in ’08 and an elbow malady in ’09), and the non-tender begins to make more sense.

Mike MacDougal (55 IP, 6.71 K/9, 5.56 BB/9, 0.65 HR/9)

The Nationals wisely let the control-challenged, injury-prone MacDougal walk, rather than going to arbitration with a guy whose surface stats (20 saves in 21 chances, 4.31 ERA) far exceeded his peripherals (5.63 K/9, 6.29 BB/9, 4.99 xFIP). MacDougal was as wild as ever in 2009, and his stuff missed few bats. The 32 year-old righty decided to chuck mid-90’s heater after mid-90’s heater (Mac tossed his fastball almost 90% of the time in 2009). Subsequently, his contact rate spiked to 83.9%, compared to a career 78.2% average.

Adam Miller

Sigh. The electric right-hander was once the pride of the Indians organization, and for good reason. His mid-90’s heat and sinister slider fooled plenty of batters in the minors. But injuries have ruined Miller’s career. Elbow problems slowed him a few years ago, and a pair of surgeries on his right middle finger could possibly end his career before it even got started.

(Update: Miller and Reyes have been re-signed by the Indians.)

Scott Olsen

Have you seen Olsen’s career? In 2006, the lefty looked like one of the more valuable commodities in the N.L. At 22 years old, Olsen posted a 4.07 xFIP in 180.2 IP, whiffing 8.27 hitters per nine innings and displaying an excellent slider and changeup.

After a mediocre 2007 season (4.95 xFIP), Olsen’s velocity fell off a cliff in 2008. So did his ability to make hitters miss: 8.27 K/9 in ’06, 6.78 in ’07, and just 5.04 per nine in ’08. A trade to the Nationals did little to revive his velocity and career, and Olsen underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in July. Perhaps Washington will bring the soon-to-be 26 year-old back at a lower cost, but his stock has plummeted.

Anthony Reyes

The former Cardinals prospect has a fantastic minor league track record. However, Reyes likes to work up in the zone with his high-80’s-low-90’s fastball. That has led to a ton of fly balls (35.9 GB%) and dingers (1.35 HR/9) in the big leagues. His career line in the majors: 5.05 xFIP, 6.29 K/9 and 3.65 BB/9 in 293.1 frames.

Reyes’ career has also been marred by elbow ailments, and he underwent Tommy John surgery this past June after an abysmal performance with the Indians. The 28 year-old has a pair of decent secondary pitches in a mid-70’s curveball (+0.13 runs/100 career) and a mid-70’s changeup (+0.32 runs/100). He’s going to have to learn to keep that heater down, though, lest it continue to get scorched (-0.52 runs/100).

(Update: Reyes and Miller have been re-signed by the Indians.)

Chien-Ming Wang (103 IP, 5.42 K/9, 3.15 BB/9, 0.61 HR/9)

Which sinkerballer’s career has imploded more: Wang’s or Fausto Carmona‘s?

Wang (30 in March) had a mind-bending 9.64 ERA in 42 frames this past season: a .397 BABIP and a 53.1% strand rate will do that. He was the most groundball-centric pitcher in the big leagues earlier in his career, getting worm-burners over 60% of the time from 2007-2009. But during injury-plagued 2008 and 2009 campaigns (season-ending Lisfranc problem in ’08, a hip ailment and a shoulder injury requiring season-ending surgery in ’09), Wang’s groundball rate fell to around 53-54%.

He’s still recovering from that June shoulder surgery, and he isn’t expected to take a big league mound until late spring or early summer. If Wang can get healthy, he and his 4.22 career xFIP could still be of use to clubs.

Mark Worrell

A righty reliever with a wacky delivery, Worrell was acquired by the Padres (along with Luke Gregerson) in last winter’s Khalil Greene trade.

While Gregerson was extremely effective out of the ‘pen for San Diego, Worrell underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the ’09 season. Worrell has missed a ton of bats in the minors. He could re-sign with the Padres as he continues his rehab.



Print This Post

A recent graduate of Duquesne University, David Golebiewski is a contributing writer for Fangraphs, The Pittsburgh Sports Report and Baseball Analytics. His work for Inside Edge Scouting Services has appeared on ESPN.com and Yahoo.com, and he was a fantasy baseball columnist for Rotoworld from 2009-2010. He recently contributed an article on Mike Stanton's slugging to The Hardball Times Annual 2012. Contact David at david.golebiewski@gmail.com and check out his work at Journalist For Hire.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Arches
Guest
Arches

Who do we think is the defacto closers for PIT & WAS? I’m throwing out Hanrahan and Bruney as my guesses, but here comes another season of closer roulette!

wpDiscuz