Ah. Hackneyed titles. Does it get any better? The Manny Ramirez saga is ongoing. It seems as though everyone has an opinion.
But aren't we forgetting about another Manny?
Manny Delcarmen, a well-known local boy and future folk hero, is in camp, competing for a bullpen spot for the third time in as many years. What are his chances? With whom is he competing? Just what happened last season?
- Craig Hansen. If you don't think Hansen needs half a season more in the minors, then it's very likely you're not me. The key to Hansen's success at St. John's was an almost unbelievable ability to limit hits. Until his last college season, his walk rate was almost 5 BB/9. Admittedly, his pro rate is about 3 1/2, but this is still not ideal for a late-inning reliever. As could have been predicted, he has not limited hits in pro ball as well as he did in college. He still strikes hitters out, and I believe without help would see his rates get closer to about 1 per inning. What he will need help with is his control. Pitching in the late innings for Pawtucket for about half a season could be ideal; let him focus on his fastball and slider.
- Devern Hansack. It's hard to use Hansack's raw data, he's spent most of his pro career as a starter. His walk rates in the minors were perfectly acceptable, coming in under 3 per 9IP. He's also pretty good at striking out hitters. I get the feeling that Hansack will blow the competition away and become the primary setup man/closer OR spend 2007 in the minors until a SP is needed beyond Jon Lester. Tavarez fills the middle/long relief role acceptably.
Delcarmen at Fangraphs
Delcarmen at Baseball Cube
Delcarmen at THT
- Walks. Walks are something (barring a horrible performance by the home plate umpire) that a pitcher has control over. There are many factors that a pitcher does not have control over in a game: Fielders, Weather, and Luck. But a pitcher does have control over how many batters he walks. Delcarmen improved his walk rates at both the AAA and ML levels in 2007.
- BABIP. This is something that a pitcher may have some control over, but is mostly due to luck and how well his teammates play behind him. Delcarmen has been well above average both of his ML seasons. Very few full-time ML relievers had a higher BABIP than Delcarmen's .385 last season. One would expect this to normalize a bit (normal being somewhere on the south side of .300), which should improve his overall performance considerably. A reduction down to .300 might be too much to ask for, but reducing the number to something more like .310-.330 is possible.
- FIP. What is FIP? Basically, this is a way of measuring how good a pitcher was independent of his fielders' performance. Delcarmen's FIP in 2006 was 3.02, which would have been a great number from a secondary setup man. xFIP is generally considered to be a better measure, as it normalizes home run rates to arrive at its data. Delcarmen's in 2006 was 4.04. Something in the middle may be more appropriate, as Delcarmen has been phenomenal at keeping the ball in the park since switching to relief full-time.