Tuesday, December 21, 2010
2010 Final A'ssessment: The Bullpen
Andrew Bailey -- (25 saves, 1.47 ERA)
2010 Grade: B+
The Good: Bailey made the American League All-Star team for the second straight season and followed up his 2009 Rookie of the Year award with another solid campaign. He didn't give up a run in his first 12 appearances (through May 8) and surrendered just three earned runs in his final 25 innings (June 10 through September 17) while striking out 27. Also, his commercials for the MLB 2K10 video game had a surprisingly high re-watchability factor.
The Not-So-Good: Bailey missed time with an injury to his ribcage that sidelined him for a stretch just after the All-Star break. Not long after he returned from that ailment, a sore elbow ended his season a few weeks early. His strikeout rate took a not-insignificant dip from 9.8 per nine innings to 7.7. Most of Bailey's struggles here were confined to the first two months of the season when he was playing through a minor knee injury.
And, the rest…: In his first full season in Oakland, Craig Breslow made 75 appearances and struck out 71 in 74.2 innings with a 3.01 ERA. Sidearmer Brad Ziegler remains a bit of an overrated novelty. He's a nice guy who's adored by the local media and revered by fans who still celebrate his record-breaking rookie scoreless innings streak. He's also horrible versus left-handed hitters (.317/.468/.567, 17 walks and 5 Ks in 78 PAs).
Jerry Blevins posted a 3.70 ERA in 63 games and struck out 8.5 batters per nine innings. These solid numbers belie the imaginary gasoline can he carried to the mound all season. His 1.48 WHIP and mediocre home run rate are better indicators of his performance. After his career year out of the 'pen in 2009, Michael Wuertz missed the first month of 2010 with an arm injury that may or may not have been caused by overuse. His innings were conservatively managed and save for a 20-game stretch in midseason (June 23-August 17, 1.56 ERA, 20 Ks in 17.2 innings), he never seemed right.
Finally, Henry Rodriguez and his uncontrollable 101 mph fastball were traded to Washington just last week.