I've got Hoffman rated as the #8 closer and Kolb is #14. I would much rather have Hoffman than Kolb. Kolb Ks are ridiculously low and even though he is now under Mazzone's tutelage, he had an ERA over 5 in the 2nd half of last year. Anyone that closes and Ks so few, makes me very nervous.
I'm going with Kolb. Reason being: The Braves offense this year is decent: just enough to get you some wins.
Now, check out that pitching staff. Sure, behind Smoltz/Huddy, you're scratching your head. Go ahead and check out Hampton and Thomson's second half splits. Hampton will finally put it all together this year, his third lucky year away from Coors/with Leo.
Kolb's K rate might be down, but that's a good thing. He's been talked to about it, and he's said that he's not wasting time, throwing strikes, making hitters pound it into the ground. When his K rate is down, that's a good thing, because it means that hitters are chasing his sinker, and slamming it into the ground.
The lack of XBH's last year was pretty amazing. Kolb doesn't have the fatigue that Smoltz does, I think he'll have to be helped out, but we have a very decent bullpen this year, and a couple rookies will help out with that. (Watch out for Roman Colon)
Horacio Ramirez is a big question mark, because, even with his ERA last year, all his other numbers were bad, suggesting that he was getting lucky, leaving runners stranded. But, I was talking it over with someone, and we came up with that Horacio's SLG against was just .376. Meaning, his pitching style is to not give into the hitter, not to serve up fat pitches, but rather, make the hitter work for their pitch, and that's how he was successful. He gave up walks because he didn't give in to the hitter, but, he has impeccable control, and Bobby and Leo say that it can be even better if he takes a little off his fastball. I see good things in his future..
That great pitching staff, somewhat weak lineup (I actually think Mondesi will have a decent year... you should see some of his Spring Training quotes, can't question his enthusiasm), Kolb is going to get a ton of Save opps. 50 wouldn't be out of the question IMO.
brandnew wrote:Kolb's K rate might be down, but that's a good thing. He's been talked to about it, and he's said that he's not wasting time, throwing strikes, making hitters pound it into the ground. When his K rate is down, that's a good thing, because it means that hitters are chasing his sinker, and slamming it into the ground.
I don't think a lack of K/9 speaks to how much a pitcher works within the strike zone, even for sinker ballers or knuckle ballers. BB/9 seems like a better choice for that.
2004 BB/9 Hoffman - 1.32
Kolb - 2.35
Both are very good, but Hoffman issues fewer free passes than Kolb does, so I don't see how Kolb can be said to have done a better job of throwing strikes than Hoffman. The difference would be batters have a more difficult time putting Hoffman's pitches in play, as evidenced by thier K/9's.
2004 K/9 Hoffman - 8.73
Kolb - 3.30
The counter arguement would be that Kolb, being a sinker baller, allows fewer hits on the balls he allows to be put in play than Hoffman, but the difference isn't really all that great:
2004 Batting Average Against on Balls in Play Kolb - .239
Hoffman - .245
That difference isn't enough to make up for the fact that Hoffman only allowed hitters to put the ball in play 69.86% of the time last season compared to Kolb who allowed 82.20% of hitters to put the ball in play (basically Hoffman's BAA was .211 while Kolb's was .234).