Friday, March 18, 2011
30 A's in 30 Days: Craig Breslow
Acquired: Signed off of waivers from Minnesota (May 20, 2009).
Contract: One year thru 2011 (eligible for arbitration after 2011).
Position: Left-handed set-up reliever; STILL the world's smartest man.
2011 Projected ERA: 3.04
2010 Season: Breslow established career-highs in innings pitched (74.2) and strikeouts (71) – leading the Athletics in both categories, along with games pitched (75), by a wide margin. He was almost equally effective against right-handed and left-handed hitters, with most of his opponents' OPS difference (.637 (RHH); .586 (LHH)) coming from a 40-point gap within his still-impressive on-base percentage splits (.285 (RHH); .245 (LHH)). His month-by-month performance was obviously inspired by the intellectual protagonists in Revenge of the Nerds. In the opening month (April ERA: 4.70), Breslow was kicked out of the dormitory and forced to live in the gymnasium. In May (ERA: 0.71), he found acceptance within the black fraternity, Lambda Lambda Lambda. In June (ERA: 3.60), the Alpha Betas released several pigs into his party. In July, Breslow made gains (2.84 ERA) with a panty raid and some liquid heat. But, by August (6.10 ERA) he was staring at a burning "NERDS" sign on his front lawn. Breslow finished strong during the final month (1.65 ERA) in the climactic musical number.
2011 Over/Under: The A's haven't always been conscientious with the workloads of their relievers. They pitched Billy Koch into an early grave, allowed septuagenarian Alan Embree to throw a career-high number of innings in 2007 and may have ruined Michael Wuertz by riding his lights-out slider over 74 in-game appearances and (unofficially) 500 "warming up in the bullpen" episodes in 2009. Relief pitchers are, of course, inherently volatile. And, Breslow's 2010 xFIP (an esoteric stat that correlates well with future ERA) was 4.37 -- far above his actual 3.01 ERA. Take the OVER on that above projection.
By the Numbers: 2, 3 – Breslow double-majored at Yale University (biochemistry and molecular biophysics). I briefly majored in journalism, then English, before obtaining a degree in marketing from San Diego State University. There's still time to catch me, Craig.
Surefire 2011 Prediction: I will find the county fair that produced this novelty magazine cover. I want mine to say "AA-MAZING AARON!" with me stealing third base. Y'know, what...? Just Photoshop me into this.
Old School Rap Track for the Season: Brain Damage, Eminem