Bronson Arroyo 2013 Preview
Anthony Bosch’s notes — and drugs — could get A-Rod in more hot water.
Back in an early October Podcast, we wondered why Bronson Arroyo instead of Mat Latos was starting Game Two of the NLDS for the Reds.
And then the wily vet went out and retired the first 14 batters he faced and wound up tossing seven shutout frames of one-hit ball with four Ks and just one walk for the win to give the Reds a commanding 2-0 lead in the Best of Five series against the Giants (that they would ultimately blow, but hey, that’s not Arroyo’s fault).
Oh… right. That’s why he was starting that vital game.
And that, in a nutshell, is the story of Bronson Arroyo: unsexy, overlooked and underappreciated, but ultimately dependable, durable and useful – especially in single league formats and 4×4 play.
One of the best things about Arroyo is his ability to start innings off well, getting that all important first out. In fact, last year he ranked third in OBP against (.244) versus hitters leading off an inning.
Overall, it was an impressive comeback effort for Arroyo. Coming off his worst season ever in 2011, year he put up arguably the second best season of his 13-year career.
Durability? He’s started at least 29 games every season since 2004.
Innings eating? Arroyo topped 200 frames last year for the seventh time in eight years.
He once again displayed decent hit rates, superb control (1.56 BB/9 was by far his best showing ever), and managed to cut his home run allowed total by 20 (in three more innings, to boot). Yes, you read that right — 20 less long balls.
Hell, Arroyo even upped his modest strikeout rate to 5.75/9 last year – his best since 2008. Yes, we get that he’s a liability is this regard, but still, factor in that WHIP (1.21 last year, 1.15 in 2010), his ability to either flirt with or achieve an ERA under 4.00 and his consistent winning (double-digit victories in seven of the past nine seasons, with nine wins each in the other two years), and you’ve got a perfectly boring yet functional – and fairly predictable option at a position that’s all about performance volatility and fragility.
As safe as milk. And just as sexy. What’s that? Milk can be sexy? Okay, we stand corrected.
Arroyo reduced his hit batsmen last year and was also much tougher to steal bases against with five of 12 would be stealers caught.
He remains a flyball pitcher, although it wasn’t as pronounced as it was in that ugly 2011 campaign when nearly 16 per cent of his flyballs left the yard. Last year, the figure was a much more typical (for him) 10.6 per cent.
All told, Arroyo compiled his first WAR of 2.5 since 2007.
He was actually middling through his first 14 starts (3-5, 4.19, 15 homers, .290 BAA), but really turned things around in late-June, going 9-5 over his last 18 starts with a 3.41 ERA, just 11 homers allowed and a very fine BAA of .249.
And the upshot?
Arroyo again is an afterthought in mock drafts this winter, with a current ADP of 321. He is currently the 112th starting pitcher going off the board.
But guess what? You can mark it down that Arroyo will likely win around a dozen games with a sub-4.00 ERA this year. And he’ll once again stay healthy enough to rack up over 200 innings.
- The Yanks want to void the rest of Alex Rodriguez’s contract in the wake of yet another PED scandal, which we covered Tuesday. The problem is he’ll have to be suspended first, and that’s not a slam dunk based on the Miami New Times’ report. Unless BioGenesis head man Anthony Bosch himself testifies against the accused players, it’s pretty much impossible for MLB to suspend any of the suspected players. The feds will have to get involved here before Bosch does anything to alienate himself from his future clientele. Even if all that happens and A-Rod does get suspended, New York would still face a major battle to void his contract. Stay tuned.
- The Mets have signed LaTroy Hawkins to a minor league deal as they continue to add veteran arms to a bullpen that was nearly the worst in baseball last year. Righty Scott Atchison was also added recently and these two vets will work behind closer Frank Francisco and setup man Bobby Parnell. An improved bullpen is one of the main keys to turning around a team that has been in regression for the past couple of years.
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