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CubsFan7724 wrote:Where are you getting those numbers from?
He had 16 saves, a respectable 3.06 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP, and 26 K.
Are those just your projections? And by the way, Aquino is slated to be the closer in Arizona.
Aquino exudes quiet confidence
The Arizona Republic
Feb. 19, 2005 12:00 AM
TUCSON - With his calm, quiet and deliberate presence on the mound, Greg Aquino will never be confused with some of the more colorful closers from baseball such as "Goose," "Wild Thing" or the "Mad Hungarian."
But when you have an arm as powerful as Thor, you don't need a cool nickname or some crazy characteristic to fit in. You need only to bring the heat, mow down a few hitters every other night, and rack up the saves, which is what the Diamondbacks hope Aquino will deliver.
Not much to ask from a converted shortstop that never faced a save situation until last season, when he recorded a club rookie-record 16 on a team that lost 111 games. advertisement
"We didn't give him as many chances as he should have got, but he took full advantage of it and solidified himself," left fielder Luis Gonzalez said. "He stepped in and took over when Papa Grande (Jose Valverde) went down and no looking back, he just dominated."
Manager Bob Melvin hasn't ruled out Valverde, who is returning from shoulder surgery to repair a partially torn labrum, but he is calling Aquino the incumbent and on Friday, announced the closer's role is "his job to lose."
"I think I'm going to be better this year than I was last year," Aquino said. "I'm pretty confident about that."
Aquino, 27, doesn't usually say a whole lot, but that was a mouthful. The second-year man, who limited opposing hitters to a .194 average and retired 20 of 34 first batters faced, could be coming out of his shell in more ways than one.
He's not ready to compare himself to Eric Gagne, the Dodgers' star closer, but with a fastball that regularly hits 97 to 98 mph, a nasty slider and a new and improved change-up, he's feeling a little Gagne-like.
"I can use the change-up whenever I want now and feel very comfortable with it," said Aquino, who worked on his off-speed pitches during winter league play in his native Dominican Republic. "I can mix it in with my other pitches and it's going to make me a much better pitcher.
"My arm feels good, everything feels good. I've got to build up my arm strength here in spring training, but I will, and I'll be ready to go help this team win."
It can be a bit dicey giving a young, inexperienced pitcher the role of closer before he is ready, but the Diamondbacks believe Aquino, who switched positions in 1999, is equipped to handle the job. If he slides, they always have Valverde.
But there are other options, from Brian Bruney to Mike Koplove to Brandon Lyon, whom Melvin is calling a potential "sleeper" at the end of his bullpen. Veteran Jose Jimenez, a non-roster invitee, will be given a look, but for now Aquino is the man.
"He had a good year last year and hopefully, he'll feed off that," pitching coach Mark Davis said. "The league knows him a little bit now, so he'll have to make some adjustments, but I think he'll be fine."
The key, as it usually is for the anchor of a bullpen, is the ability to rebound from a poor outing. He rarely got into a funk last season, despite all the chaos and desperation facing the club in 2004. When he did, he recovered and put it in his rear-view mirror.
But can he do it again? For a full season? With far loftier expectations from a team that hopes to make the turnaround of turnarounds?
"It depends on the kid," Melvin said, when asked how many young pitchers in Aquino's shoes could handle the load. "Some people are able to, some people it takes longer to work their way into it. But what he does is dictate the outcome of a game a lot of times, so you have to have thick skin, a short memory and be a competitive guy."
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