Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Crystal Ball: Jamie Walker

The Jamie Walker signing concerns me.

On the surface, it looks to be a solid addition to the bullpen. He has averaged an ERA under 3.50 for the past five years, his WHIP has been between 1.15 and 1.25 and while he’s not a big strikeout guy his K/BB ratio is more than respectable.

Unfortunately, he gave up homeruns at near Benson-like levels for the Tigers last year.

While Camden Yards is only slightly more hitter friendly than Comerica Park when it comes to runs scored (both parks are actually pitcher friendly), homeruns are far more likely to be hit at Oriole Park than at Comerica. Did I mention he had an ERA of 4.50 after the All-Star break?

The only hope I can find here is that he consistently pitched below his FIP numbers. I am not completely convinced that pitchers have no control over what happens to a ball that is put in play and if you are consistently getting more guys out than the numbers suggest you should, you obviously have a knack for doing it.

I hope I’m wrong but Walker may not be much of an improvement over our lefties from last year.

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