So anyways...I've always avoided Todd Jones in all my drafts. I was skeptical last year and only picked him up in leagues that I was desperate for saves in. I figured he was just getting lucky last year.
I was wrong...Todd Jones definitely did not get lucky last year.
Jones had a GREAT year era/whip wise. WAY better than what he's done as a career average (2.10 versus 3.91 and 1.03 versus 1.41). So I was thinking 'this guy got VERY lucky'. I used the DICE formula to project his ERA based on ip, k, bb, hbp and hr and his whip using my own formula that's pretty accurate using ip, k, bb and hr. What I found was very surprising - 2.28era and 1.079whip. Not quite what he actually had so a little luck there but WAY better than his career numbers.
So at this point I started wondering what was going on with these numbers. Todd Jones is supposed to suck! I figured it HAS to be his K/9. Nope - last year he was at 7.64 down from a career average of 7.89. The story is told by two things - his walks and his home runs allowed. His bb/9 was a paltry 1.73 while his career average was 3.89. And his hr/9 was a miniscule 0.25 down from a career average of 0.81.
Now...quite a bit of the hr/9 could simply be playing in Florida. His career average isn't bad and even if he reverts to that we're only looking at 6.5hr's allowed instead of 4. Assuming he reverts most of the way and gives up 6hr's this year but put up the same type of numbers beyond that we have a projected 2.99era with a 1.13whip. I'll still take those kind of numbers out of a closer. It's his lack of walks that made him successful last year.
So was it sample size or was it the development of better control in his 'old age'? Well, he did manage to drop his bb/9 in 2004 and 2005 both by quite a bit. One things for certain though - last year was not luck. It could be a fluke and he may start walking people again. But if he comes back healthy and manages to keep his walk rate where it was last year, his k rate where it was last year and to just keep the ball in the park at his career averages then he could actually succeed as a closer. May be the perfect guy to buy REALLY low on if you happen to have Rodney on your roster right now. Don't pay too much...he's old and has a bad hammy. But if you can get him very cheaply he may provide a present surprise.