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7/19/1985 (31 y, 8 m, 10 d)
$0.8M / 1 Years (2016)
Frieri agreed to a minor league contract with the Yankees on Thursday that includes an invitation to spring training. (3/16/2017)
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How Safe is Ernesto Frieri's Job?
Mike Podhorzer (RotoGraphs)
Bullpen Report: August 29, 2013
Colin Zarzycki (RotoGraphs)
(Click Year to Expand /
Petco Park has been a wonderful home to Mr. Frieri, who has give up exactly zero career homeruns in his home park since debuting late in the 2009 season despite a measly 23.8% ground ball rate. On the road, he's surrendered 0.89 home runs per nine, which is probably a little light for someone giving up that many fly balls. Playing a lot of road games in Dodger Stadium and AT&T Park must help. Frieri has posted big strikeout (11.08) and big walk (4.84) rates in his two-plus seasons with the Padres, and his platoon split is quite massive: .242 FIP and 3.33 xFIP against righties, but 4.46 FIP and 5.61 xFIP against lefties. Thankfully Bud Black is aware of the issues with batters of the opposite hand and has done a nice job keeping Frieri away from lefties. With Mike Adams, Chad Qualls, and Heath Bell all gone, Frieri figures to assume the majority of the seventh inning work behind Huston Street and Luke Gregerson in 2012. He's definitely a high-strikeout, low-ERA sleeper in holds leagues, and should offer value in most ottoneu formats. (Mike Axisa)
The Quick Opinion:
Frieri is a nice sleeper in holds leagues thanks to his low-ERA and high strikeout rate, but he has a massive platoon split and has been helped immensely by Petco Park thanks to his fly ball happy ways.
What's not to like about Frieri. He struck out every third batter (37% strikeout percentage, 13.3 strikeouts per nine) he faced in 2013. The 27-year-old's ERA has been one point lower than his FIP over his career (3.32 vs. 2.32). The reason for this difference is that he pitches lights-out with men on base. Bases empty: 4.02 FIP, .264 batting average on balls in play; Men on base: 3.13 FIP, .132 BABIP; Runners in Scoring position: 1.57 FIP, .071 BABIP. Also, his fastball increased around four mph over the course of the season in 2012. The only issue with Frieri is his miniscule ground-ball rate (25% for his career). If he is not able to continue to strike out batters at such a high rate, the fly balls may begin leaving the yard more often. Ryan Madson may not be ready to begin the season, and if he stumbles in his return from surgery, Frieri will be there to close once again. (Jeff Zimmerman)
The Quick Opinion:
Ernesto Frieri should be a top-five relief pitcher 2013, but his team just signed Ryan Madson to close, ostensibly.
The good, the bad, and the ugly. The good: his strikeout rate and his contact rate are among the best of all relievers in the game. The bad: while his walk rate has gotten better each of the past five seasons, it is still below the league average. The ugly: his home runs. He has permitted 20 homers over the past two seasons. 11 of those came last season, which led to his 3.80 ERA. It may surprise many to learn that Frieri was 37 for 41 in converting his save chances last season. He had 50 scoreless outings of 67 last season, but was scored upon multiple times in eight of those outings, five of which came in the second half of the season. His second half slash line was .266/333/.477, which was quite a jump from the .178/.282/.308 line he had in the first half. He is a fly ball closer, but his home run per fly ball rate has been constant over the past two seasons so his issues with homers are not bad luck. They're simply a result the volume of fly balls he generates when he doesn't miss bats. (Jason Collette)
The Quick Opinion:
He is a fly ball closer, but his HR/FB rate has been constant over the past two seasons so his issues with homers are not bad luck. They're simply a result the volume of fly balls he generates when he doesn't miss bats.
What a nightmare. After pitching terribly, Ernesto Frieri was traded for another struggling reliever -- Jason Grilli -- and then he pitched even worse in Pittsburgh, ultimately getting released before the Pirates made their stretch run. Frieri’s command has never been good, and while his walk rate dropped in 2014, hitters barreled his pitches better than ever before. Missed spot after missed spot led to a staggering 11 home runs allowed in roughly 41 innings (2.38 per nine innings). Frieri’s velocity wasn’t an issue, but everything else was. Hitters chased fewer of his pitches, and therefore got themselves into better situations. And they made far more contact, upping their overall contact rate nearly 10 percentage points. Unless he starts missing bats again and commanding better overall, we might have seen the last of Ernesto Frieri. He has an uphill battle to fight to even make a difference in a wide-open Tampa bullpen. (Landon Jones)
The Quick Opinion:
Frieri’s struggles were well documented. Command was never his strong suit, and it finally caught up with him. Unless he’s able to refine it, which seems unlikely given his track record, his struggles seem likely to continue.
The Rays took a gamble on Frieri's recent ERA underperformance compared to his peripherals. He had strong strikeout rates and acceptable walk rates in 2014, despite his bloated 7.34 ERA. But the bounceback was not as pronounced as the Rays might have liked, and Frieri -- missing a few points of velocity and unable to make hitters whiff -- was updating his resume by June. The Pirates enter Spring Training hoping the 30-year-old righty will recover some of the velocity and swing-and-miss stuff that made him a viable reliever on the West Coast for several years, but velocity rarely comes back, and there's a good chance Frieri will spend the rest of his career making brief appearances in the majors to cover injuries or shortages. If he does stick in the majors, it will be because he's missing bats again. Never known for his control, Ernesto relies on generating lots of strikeouts to be successful. That will not happen without swinging strikes. Watch for those. (
The Quick Opinion:
He's still missing a tick or two on his fastball, and has now posted two consecutive dud seasons. Frieri may flit back and forth to the majors and back to the minors in the coming season, but if he manages to stay, keep an eye on his swinging strike rate. If it's high, he could be a nice waiver wire steal.
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Updated: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 3:37 AM ET
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