Those who are worried about Harden's control problems may want to check the 2nd half splits. He cut his walks down quite a bit, albeit at the expense of some Ks. His WHIP was 1.49 in the first half, 1.17 in the second.
I see continued progress from Harden this year and a very good season.
The pitching staff will be in a much better position to win. I believe i got in a long heated debate about this a few weeks back with another poster in a thread discussing "K sleepers".
I only used Mulders win total to highlight how very little the overral ERA correlates with the actual amount of wins. I think mulder ranked pretty high last season on run support, he was still able to win 5 games with an ERA over 6 after the break
The bullpen is stacked with very good 2-3 inning type relief pitchers. (Think Yabu, Juan Cruz, & Justin Duke)
Beanes new "philosophy" is working from the back-on-up. (its a cheaper way to get good/effective pitching) In interviews ive read, his plan is to only count on Meyer/Blanton for 5 innings -- you can bank on one thing -- these two wont be breaking the 90pitch bench mark to often, as this team advocates pitcher abuse points as strongly as any. (atleast untill their last years of arbitration where beane milks there arms for everything their worth before he ships them off) IE: Mulder / Hudson last season. (think of all the innings pitched the "big 3" have over the last 3 years)
Haren and Harden will get full/regular "workload". while meyer and blanton will be "babied" into the rotation (atleast this season) on a short leash....that is ofcourse if blanton even beats out Yabu and Etherton for the last spot on the rotation.
as far as the bullpens "effectiveness" or lack there of last year, i believe they were ranked last with the Indians for the most blown saves & holds. i think the converted save % was less then 60%. Calero, Yabu, Duke, Rincon, Bradford, Cruz, and Dotel wont let that happen this year. Rincon can go back to his LHP specialist duty and the rest of the rotation will be playing in their "roles"
Also from what ive read, expect dotel to not get to many 8 inning appearences, as he's stated clearly he wants to be exclusive to the 9th inning...Macha agree's and will use Dotel accordingly. He can afford to this season because of the bullpen depth acquired from the trades. (fantasy implications: those regular handfull of wins that A's closers get should dip some this season because of it)
I don't mean to hijack this thread, but I'm interested to get your opinion on Dotel. When he was in Houston behing Wagner I thought he was going to be an absolute stud. And his K/9 last year was way better than I would have thought. But he blew a bunch of saves last year and his ERA was pretty high. Is he reliable as a go to closer?
He battled elbow tendenitis most of the season. The A's didn't have the luxury to make him exclusive to one inning. As he was by far the best (and almost only) option (8th and 9th) , as our pen got lit up for most of the year.
Thats changed though..expect him to get used more as a closer and less like a setup + closer. The A's are stacked from 1-7 in the pen.
Dotel's tendenitis weakened his off speed and breaking pitches, he gave up more HR's then he ever had previously because of it.
His k/9 is no abberation, he has the upside to be ranked (especially in mcaffee stadium) with the best closers by end of season. I really like him as a monster value pick this season.
Halo wrote:That's great info. He'll no doubt slip a few positions in drafts and you're right, he could be a huge pick. Thanks.
Since I'm a Halo's fan, let me get your AL West prediction.
Yeah I agree with Fantasyfiend here on Dotel, and just about everything he has said about the A's (my boys). I will take Dotel over Francisco Cordero this year, and expect Dotel to have a fantastic year in that role.
No one should question Harden's natural ability but the only caution flag I see with Harden this year is his road ERA last year was 2 runs higher (5.00) than at home. He'll have to show early on that he's willing to handle the different pressures of being the #2 pitcher and handling the road before I'd put him in the upper tiers of pitchers.
I could be wrong in what I'm saying but I'll be dead before I realize it.