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6/6/1980 (36 y, 9 m, 19 d)
1998 June Amateur Draft - Round: 2, Pick: 9, Overall: 52, Team: Atlanta Braves
$2M / 1 Years (2017)
Belisle signed a one-year contract with the Twins on Thursday, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. (2/2/2017)
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Paul Swydan (FanGraphs)
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(Click Year to Expand /
By May 2009, most Rockies fans hoped that they never, ever saw Matt Belisle again, but he came back at the end of that season a changed man, and he has been electric ever since. Manager Jim Tracy did his best to Scott Proctor him in 2010, so it took Belisle a little while to work into his 2011 season, but after April, he was lights out save for one appearance in early July, when he randomly allowed six runs in two-thirds of an inning. To a certain degree, Belisle traded strikeouts for ground balls last season, which led to a slight drop in his FIP and xFIP marks, but overall he was still very effective -- his 72 FIP- tied for 26th out of 134 qualified relievers. With Rafael Betancourt, Rex Brothers and perhaps even minor leaguer Chad Bettis likely to see save opportunities before Belisle, he doesn’t carry a ton of fantasy value, but he should accrue a good number of holds and vulture wins. (Paul Swydan)
The Quick Opinion:
Belisle has been one of the more relievers in the game the past two-plus years, but with the Rockies having such a deep bullpen, a lot of dominoes will have to fall for him to end up in the closer’s role.
Belisle will team up with newcomer Wilton Lopez to serve as the primary setup men for Rafael Betancourt. He holds a career strikeout rate that hovers around seven per nine -- which isn’t exactly “roto sexy” for a middle reliever -- but a career 2.1 walk rate and an opportunity to earn some holds could make Belisle a late-round option for those in leagues that reward holds. (Alan Harrison)
Sometimes, a few more runners score. Or score at the wrong time. Or score on bloopers or bleeders. Whatever the case, a few more runners scored against Belisle last season. After three straight seasons with a LOB% over 70%, Belisle was only able to keep 65.4% of runners at bay this past season, which was about four percent lower than his career average. As a result, his ERA climbed over 4.00 for the first time since 2009, and similarly as a result the Rockies sought to bolster their bullpen externally early in the offseason. LaTroy Hawkins replaced the departed Rafael Betancourt, and together Hawkins and Rex Brothers should soak up all of the team's save opportunities. That should leave Belisle right where he has been the past few years, soaking up lots of juicy seventh- and eighth-inning work. And he should continue to do so just as well. Belisle's FIP and FIP- were essentially unchanged from his previous three seasons, and he finished 16th in the majors in holds (and from 2011-13, he ranks 11th in holds). He even struck out more hitters and walked fewer of them than he did in 2011 and 2012. Belisle's velocity continues to decline, but last year it went down only slightly, and he has had few issues adjusting to the lower velocity (last season he incorporated more cutters). Since he is third, at best, on the closing depth chart you should look elsewhere for saves, but if you need holds, Belisle is your man.
The Quick Opinion:
Belisle was essentially the same pitcher he has been every year he's been with the Rockies, but some unlucky sequencing of events led to a higher ERA and to him remaining stationary on the team's late-innings totem pole. Belisle should be good for holds, but look elsewhere for saves.
There are plenty of relievers who would be perfectly happy to take Matt Belisle's 2014 season. It wasn't Belisle's best, but at this stage he's earned the benefit of the doubt. He wasn't exactly clutch last season, but outside of a drop in his reach rate, there aren't a lot of long-term warning signs. His velocity and contact percentages were in range with his more successful seasons. Of course, with his move to a team that has an even more established closer situation than the one he left, there is even less optimism about Belisle getting save opportunities -- and there wasn't much optimism before. What should change though, is his holds output. Belisle fell out of favor with Rockies manager Walt Weiss after April, and as such only recorded six holds for the season. In St. Louis, he should be part of a set-up combo with Jordan Walden and Randy Choate, and as such should get more opportunities for holds. The fact that the Cardinals will be better than the Rockies were should help too. (Paul Swydan)
The Quick Opinion:
Matt Belisle is never going to win your fantasy league for you, but he also isn't as bad as he seemed last year, and if you need a sneaky source for holds, he could be valuable.
Matt Belisle spent much of the early part of his career in hitters' ballparks, first with the Reds and then with the Rockies. He started a bit in the early part of his career, but after he moved to Colorado in 2009, he was strictly a relief pitcher. Given the park, he was always a little better than his ERA indicated, as his FIP hung around three or lower from 2010 to 2013. In 2014, his FIP jumped up to 3.74 and his ERA went with it to 4.87, and Colorado let him go to free agency. With the Cardinals, Belisle pitched fairly well when given the chance, with a 2.67 ERA, 3.64 FIP, but he was lacking in strikeouts and only pitched 33.2 innings due to issues with elbow. Belisle did come back in September and got in a few games, but the Cardinals did not show much interest in bringing him back on a major league deal, instead opting to sign Jonathan Broxton. Belisle could be an average middle-reliever if given the opportunity provided he is healthy, but his ceiling was never going to be too high even with a good year in St. Louis. (Craig Edwards)
The Quick Opinion:
Injuries hurt Belisle last season, preventing him from getting into many games. He could be a decent middle-reliever, but there is not a lot of potential for saves or holds at this point.
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Updated: Saturday, March 25, 2017 3:38 AM ET
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