21 March 2012

Dontrelle Willis as a Reliever Could Be a Good Thing

It was announced yesterday that the Orioles have signed Dontrelle Willis (who was recently released by the Philadelphia Phillies) to a minor league deal.  Take a look at the following four lines:
21.0 IP  30 K   8 BB  2.13 FIP
44.2 IP  17 K  48 BB 7.27 FIP
17.0 IP  20 K   2 BB  2.01 FIP
58.2 IP  37 K  35 BB 4.71 FIP
All four of those lines are one created by Willis.  The first two are from his 2010 season for the Tigers and Diamondbacks.  The second two are from last year with the Reds.  The first and third lines are his numbers against lefties and the other two are his numbers against righties.

Willis' career lines?
vs L 10.5 k/9   2.92 bb/9   2.50 FIP
vs R  5.7 k/9   3.86 bb/9   4.61 FIP

Some Year-by-Year FIP?

A wrinkle in all of this obvious information about Willis' brilliance against lefties and symbol as a harbinger of the apocalypse when he faces right handed batters is that he has had only three relief appearances over his entire career.  He has been quite insistent in the past that he was a starter.  His change of heart will likely bring him a great deal of success, but it is not exactly something we can take for granted.  Relievers prepare differently than a starter.  Furthermore, a reliever who faces a couple lefties and sits down really needs to be someone who has a rubber arm.  A guy who can get up and down several times during a game and be able to pitch several nights in a row.  Otherwise, you have a near black hole in the bullpen with a guy who will give you about 100 southy outs in a season.

All that being said...it is somewhat interesting how so many of the things I have asked for in the past are being done with this team.  Yes, these moves are not deciding whether or not the team makes the playoffs, but it is helpful to find cheap upsides that can help the team down the road in terms of future performance or in acquiring talent.

1 comment:

Jake said...

My guess - DD reads the blog and thinks to himself "Hey... That's a good idea!"