Sunday, March 21, 2010

30 A's in 30 Days – Brad Ziegler

Acquired: Signed as free agent (June 18, 2004).
Contract: One year thru 2010.
Position: Set-up reliever, my son's favorite pitcher.

Projected ERA: 2.92

Over/Under: Ziegler's regression from his ungodly 2008 numbers was baseball's easiest-to-predict event. He was exceedingly lucky on balls in play which helped him post a 1.06 ERA over 59.2 innings, despite a mediocre strikeout rate and strikeout-to-walk ratio. In 2009, Ziegler was almost equally unlucky. He was felled by the flu in late April, missed a week and then came back too soon – plus nearly 10 pounds lighter. From his first game back on May 7 through June 6, he gave up 10 runs in 12.1 innings and hitters pounded him at a .364/.419/.509 clip.

From June 8 through the rest of the season, Ziegler's ERA was 2.54. He finished with a 3.07 ERA and accomplished this in spite of a crazy-high BABIP (.351). With an improved defense behind him and the likelihood that his BABIP will normalize somewhat, his projected high-twos ERA isn't an unreasonable place to set the bar. I'll take the OVER, though, as Ziegler's Achilles heel remains an established blind spot against left-handed hitters.

By the Numbers: .568, .861 – On the left, you'll find Ziegler's career OPS vs. righties. On the right, you'll find his career OPS vs. lefties. He gives up 71 more points in batting average to lefties, 117 more points in OBP and 175(!) more points in SLG.

Surefire 2010 Prediction: After watching a few minutes of the MLB Network's laughably bad "Fantasy 411" studio show, here's some free advice from me to you: With A's closer Andrew Bailey out with (sigh) tennis elbow and RP Joey Devine still on the mend from ligament replacement surgery, Ziegler will be a great fantasy play for saves over the first few weeks of 2010.

Snoop Dogg Track for the Season:
Balls of Steel

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