Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Crystal Ball '08: Jamie Walker

Jamie Walker certainly exceeded my expectations last year. An aging, flyball relief pitcher in Camden Yards? Not exactly a recipe for success. I predicted a disaster and Walker proved me wrong.

He led all AL relievers with 81 appearances while posting a 3.23 ERA. He and Chad Bradford were the anchors of a bullpen that could have been far, far worse, if you can imagine that. Walker did not see the increase in homeruns allowed that I expected and was very effective when the day was done.

There is nothing about Walker's numbers, outside of his ERA, that predict this kind of success. He's not a big strikeout guy, has only fair control and does not induce a lot of grounders. Still, he relies on that good slider to lefties and gets by on his marginal fastball and changeup against righties. And he's done it for many years. If you looked up "crafty lefty" in the dictionary, there would be a picture of Jamie Walker.

I am predicting that Walker will remain an effective pitcher but with a slight decline in performance in 2008. Think of maybe a 3.50 ERA.

Given his track record, I'd be crazy to bet against him.


the wayward o said...

>I'd be crazy to bet against him.

He would hunt you down if you did.

DempseysArmy said...

Well played sir, well played.