has indicated that he would like to limit Kuo to no more than an inning per outing this season, in an effort to keep him healthy. It remains to be seen if Kuo's elbow can hold up, and if he can maintain his Ctl gains. Still, while last season's numbers will be tough to duplicate, Kuo should continue to be very effective when he's on the mound.
- Saito's 2.49 ERA: even if Broxton is replacing him as closer, then you are taking Broxton's prior position as setup away, and I don't think he'll be making up in 2009 the 47.0 IP that Saito put up in 2008, as he put in 69 IP himself, and should not be in that many more games and innings pitched. Right now, the choices are between washed up starters like Jeff Weaver or Claudio Vargas or unproven youngsters like James McDonald, Scott Elbert, Cory Wade, Ramon Troncoso or declining veteran relievers like Guillermo Moto and Yhency Brazoban. Effective relievers like Saito, Joe Beimel, and Chan Ho Park are gone from the roster.
- Joe Beimel's 2.02 ERA: Even if he were signed back by the D-gers, he'll be 32 years old coming off his best season ever where he walked too many and struck out too little, while still giving up a hit an inning, not a recipe for repeating his 2.02 ERA, it seems like it was totally due to his fellow relievers picking it up after him and/or great luck in stranding runners that rarely repeat season to season (his FIP was 3.30, much like his 2007's 3.39 FIP, and similar stat rates). His previous seasonal best was 2.96 ERA and at age 31 for last season, and 32 for 2009, he should not be duplicating his 2008 season unless he suddenly got better, meanwhile his walk rate went up in 2008 to an untenable 3.86 BB/9 (2.70 in 2006, 3.21 in 2007) while his K/9 was a barely tolerable 5.88 K/9. Few pitchers survive long with that type of low K/9, but he's been doing it for 3 seasons now, by getting a lot of ground balls and not giving up much HRs the past two seasons. His stats basically say he is a sinkerballer like ol' Moonman Minton, so he should still be good, but his past suggest 3.00 ERA good, not 2.00 ERA good.
- Cory Wade's 2.27 ERA: Must also have benefited like Beimel did. His FIP was 3.78 in 2008. His BABIP was a great .227 and unless he's a knuckle baller or crafty lefty, there are few pitchers who can keep their BABIP that low over a career, I am not even sure if any pitcher ever had that low a BABIP, as the league average is roughly .300 every season. Those right there suggest that he's not repeating 2008's great ERA. He is a good to great reliever, though, don't get me wrong, 1.9 BB/9, 3.4 K/BB are great for any pitcher to have, his only minus is his low 6.4 K/9 but that's still tolerable given his great walk rate. The caveat there is that his walk rate looks nothing like what he did in the minors, he walked a whole lot more and somehow suddenly figured things out in 2008? Does not seem likely on this angle either. He does get a good number of GB%, leading to a 1.08 GB/FB ratio, which is good. He also had some luck involved, his HR/FB ratio was only 9.2% when most pitchers regress to a 10.0% mean.
- Ramon Troncoso's 4.26: Now here is where the D-gers get some of it back. He pitched much better than his ERA suggests, his FIP was a sterling 3.00. He suffered bad luck with his BABIP that should help him in 2009 as he gives up less hits. However, he managed a 9.0 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9, which are both great for any pitcher, but which don't match the 6.8 K/9 and 5.3 K/9 or the 3.1 BB/9 and 4.7 BB/9 that he compiled in AA and AAA in 2007 and 2008. Most pitchers don't raise their K/9 or drop their BB/9 when they rise to the majors, and even fewer do both. So it is not like he's going to throw a low 2's ERA in 2009, and there are a number of danger signs that he could regress back to his minor's performance.
- Chan Ho Park's 3.40: No longer with the team as he found greener pastures (ungrateful pitcher took off when it was D-ger Stadium that makes him as good as he is: 2.18 ERA at home, 4.50 ERA on road; his new team will get a nasty surprise). And at age 36 for 2009, was unlikely to repeat his performance in any case.
- Hong-Chih Kuo's 2.14: He looks like our Merkin Valdez. He strikes out a lot, walks a lot, and is injured a lot. Even in 2008, when he was healthy for the longest, he ended the year on the DL with elbow problems. His high career K/9 clearly has costed him his health, and he doesn't know how to dial it down. he also had a stupendous 2.4 BB/9 in 2008 while before, in the minors where it should be easier for him to do that, he struggled with his control with 2007's 3.6 BB/9 his best since 2005 (in only 20 IP), so his minor's performance suggest more that his walk total should be roughly double what he did in 2008. He had a low FIP, though, 2.28, so he clearly has the skills to do it again. What's not so clear is whether he has the health to do it again.