Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Crystal Ball '08: Chad Bradford

For all the bashing the Orioles took in the press for spending so much on free agent relievers (and the bashing that bullpen took all season long), it is important to remember that it wasn't all bad. One of the bright spots of the offseason signings and the Oriole bullpen was Chad Bradford.

Bradford appeared in 78 games (3rd most in the AL) for Baltimore in 2007 posting a 3.34 ERA and allowing only 1 homerun all season. The submarine pitcher is an extreme groundball pitcher and continued that trend in '07 with over 60% of balls hit for grounders when he is on the mound.

Look, obviously a groundball pitcher like Bradford is only as good as the fielders behind him. If you believe that Luis Hernandez is a defensive upgrade over Miguel Tejada (I believe he will be), then that only means good things for Mr. Bradford.

By the way, Chad Bradford is an excellent fielder for a relief pitcher. I guess with all those groundballs he induces, he would have to be.

So what does all this rambling mean? I don't know. Relief pitchers can be so volatile. With the improved fielding and, hopefully, not so much use, I expect a groundball pitcher like Bradford to perform slightly better in 2008. Look for an ERA closer to 3.00.

1 comment:

Crys said...

An ERA close to 3.00 would be considerably better than the team average of 16. I'll take it!