Friday, December 29, 2006

The Crystal Ball: Kris Benson

I’ve tried. I’ve really, really tried.

I’ve tried to look for hints that Kris Benson will rebound next year. I’ve looked at his career stats, peripherals from last year, recent trends and anything that suggested he turned a corner last season that may carry over into next year.

I’ve got nothing folks. What we saw is probably what we’re going to get.

When the Orioles traded for Benson last off-season, it was hoped that he would be a number 1 or 2 in the rotation. Compared to what was in that rotation to begin with, it did not look like an unreasonable expectation. Instead, he had a 4.82 ERA and gave up 33 homers over 30 starts. His last three months were worse than his first three months. He had a WHIP of 1.40.

Here are the few bright spots:

1) He had a 3.95 ERA at Camden Yards. For some reason, he likes pitching here.
2) He induces a fair amount of ground balls.
3) He eats up some innings. 183 IP last season with three complete games.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the $8.3 million a year 4th starter for your Baltimore Orioles!

I didn’t mind the trade of Jorge Julio and John Maine for this guy. (BTW, John Maine is not that good and will regress this season but that’s another article) It was certainly worth a shot to see if Mazzone could coax something out of the guy. Unfortunately, Leo’s going to have to coax about 13 or 14 homers back in the park for this to work out for the Baltimore faithful. I am hopeful but not optimistic.

(edit: I did read this article over at the Hardball Times that suggests Benson was a bit unlucky as far as his homer totals go but 26 homers still means you're getting hit hard.)

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