by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Last Friday FanRag’s John Heyman reported:
“Cam Bedrosian is seen as the current favorite for the closer’s job. Another alternative could a closer by committee deal.”
The news is a bit of a surprise, after Blake Parker performed well in the role in 2017. Of course Bedrosian has long been viewed as a potential closer of the future, though injuries have consistently derailed his chance to run with the role. Will 2018 finally be the year? Let’s take a look at both candidates:
The 26-year old is coming off a somewhat disappointing campaign, with a 4.43 ERA and 1.30 WHIP over 44.2 IP. Part of that was simple poor luck, given a .313 BABIP (despite a 16.8% line drive rate) and a 62.8% strand rate while showing enough of the skills we look for:
- Strikeouts – 10.68 K/9
- Control – 3.43 BB/9
- Groundballs – 42.9% groundball rate
He’s always brought strikeout stuff, backed up by a career best 12.9% SwStr%. That coincides with the continued increased usage of his slider, which also was at a career high 42.41% last season. That’s his strikeout pitch (19.49% Whiff%) and is a pitch that opponents struggle against (.193 BAA, .337 SLG), so it makes sense to throw it more.
While he did blow 5 saves last season, the biggest question has always been his health. If he stays healthy he could run with the role whenever the opportunity arises. While the fact that he is the “favorite” may be a surprise, the upside isn’t.
His chance in the Majors was a long time coming (he turned 32-years old during the season), but he took full advantage as he pitched to a 2.54 ERA and 0.83 WHIP. There was a bit of luck behind those numbers, with a .229 BABIP, but the skillset was obvious:
- Strikeouts – 11.50 K/9
- Control – 2.14 BB/9
- Groundballs – 47.0%
Like Bedrosian it was a change of approach that sparked the impressive season, as Parker threw his split-finger fastball 32.85% of the time. The pitch generated a 25.22% Whiff% and opponents posted a .159 BAA on the pitch.
He went 8-for-11 in saves last season, so it is a bit of a surprise that he’s reportedly trailing in the competition (even with a poor start to his spring). Given the history of Bedrosian it seems likely that Parker gets an opportunity before long, even if it isn’t on Opening Day, so don’t push the panic button if you already own him.
Considering the news Bedrosian should be the draft day target, though both pitchers are worth grabbing as they should each see save opportunities. Of course the uncertainty limits the potential value, and that means looking towards them as a CL3/bench option and nothing more until we get some clarity on the situation.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
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|Starting Pitchers||1-20: 03/24/18|