Monday, January 19, 2009

Community Projections: O's Closer

The O's should have a solid bullpen next year, though the guy's at the back-end aren't exactly Mo Rivera.

George Sherrill was acquired from Seattle in the Erik Bedard trade and went on to have a good season as the team's closer - even making the All-Star game. The 4.73 ERA was high, but he did pick up 31 saves with a 9.8 K/9, 5.6 BB/9, 1.0 HR/9, 4.33 FIP, 4.07 tRA, 109 tRA+.

For next year I have him projected for 55 IP with a 4.00 tRA.

Jim Johnson was an OK starting pitching prospect, but was moved into the pen when he was brought up to the majors. His mid-90s fastball / curveball combo led to a very good season (2.23 ERA, 3.38 FIP, 3.48 tRA, 122 tRA+) despite a poor strike-out rate (4.9 K/9).

I've got him projected similarly to Sherrill, with 65 innings of 4.00 tRA ball

Chris Ray didn't spend any time in the majors in 2008 due to injury. Back in '07 he was the O's hard-throwing closer, putting up a 16 save, 4.43 ERA, 4.30 tRA season before going down hurt. The previous year he converted on 33 save opportunities with a sparkling 2.73 ERA despite a 4.64 tRA.

I'm not expecting all that much from Ray in '09: 40 IP with a 4.50 tRA.

With three good but not great arms available at the end of games, how will Dave Trembley choose to utilize these weapons? I would use a Sherrill/Ray combo for the ninth inning depending on who's coming up to the plate with Jim Johnson (who seems to be the most effective against non-specific competition - Sherrill is very effective against lefties; .171/.235/.287 career line) serving as the team's "relief ace".

So who's entrance music is going to be playing at the end of O's victories this year?

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