Saturday, August 10, 2013

2013 Chops: The ATL Relief Corps

2013 Chops #37 Cory Gearrin

 Gearrin was a key component of the Braves bullpen for much of the first half. After an appearance against the Nationals on May 31st, his ERA stood at 1.80 with a 1.16 WHIP, while allowing 27% of the 26 runners he inherited to score. One concerning stat: Cory pitched in 30 of the team's first 54 games (25 innings), which, to me, certainly qualifies as being overused.

After the game against the Nats, Cory's next appearance came on July 6th in Los Angeles. In the course of 16 pitches (0.1 innings), Cory gave up 4 earned runs on 3 hits and 1 walk. While he lasted two innings in his next start a few days later against the Padres, the righty did allow two more earned runs on two hits and a walk. Command was still an issue for Cory in his next four games. His final appearance came against the Marlins on July 3rd, in which he  Struggled again- allowing two more earned runs on two hits, a walk, and a HBP. Two days later, Atlanta demoted the struggling reliever to AAA Gwinnett- and he has not pitched since.

Today, it was announced that Cory has been placed on the DL with right shoulder tendinitis.

2013 Chops #35 Alex Wood
Less than one year after having been drafted in the second round out of the University of Georgia, Alex made his MLB debut against the Blue Jays on May 30th, coming out of the 'pen to pitch a scoreless 9th inning. A starter for his entire professional career to that point, Wood appeared in sixteen games out of the Braves bullpen before his first major league start, July 25th against the Mets. Since then, the left hander with the funky delivery has pitched well against the Rockies and Phillies- picking up a win in each game (his first two wins in the bigs). With Paul Maholm set to return soon, it will be interesting to see what Wood's fate is; I like him in the long-term as a starter, but think he better serves as a reliever this year for Atlanta.

2013 Chops #38 David Carpenter
Another one of those 'reclamation projects' that Atlanta has always seemed to do well with, Carpenter was picked up off waivers from Boston last November after posting an 8.07 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9 with Toronto and Houston in 2012. Other than a couple of shaky appearances, the West Virginia native has been a pretty solid addition to the team- having pitched in 31 games thus far while posting a 1.06 WHIP, 1.85 ERA, and a 3-0 record. Of the sixteen runners he has inherited, 31% have scored. 

2013 Chops #39 Craig Kimbrel

After a Cy Young-worthy 2012 season, Kimbrel has once again pitched very well this season. Unfortunately, some might view his 2013 season as a disappointment- which is ridiculous because he had a season for the ages last year, and it would be nearly impossible to duplicate. 

2013 Chops #42 Cory Rasmus

Thank God for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. First, it was Walden for Hanson; then it was Downs for this guy- Cory Rasmus, the Christmas tree. Plug him in, and he will get lit up. At least he's someone else's problem now.

Colby's little brother was a 2006 first-round draft pick, but suffered numerous injuries through the years. When he finally got his shot at major league hitters this summer, he tanked: 3 games, 6.2 innings, 8 hits, 6 runs (all earned), 3 BB, 4 home runs allowed. Like I said....Christmas Tree.

2013 Chops #44 Jordan Walden

I have to admit, I was skeptical about the acquisition of Walden this past off-season. The fact that he struggled with his secondary pitches was definitely a concern- but Walden has pitched better than expected, with career bests in H/9, BB/9, HR/9, WHIP, and SO/BB. He has inherited 13 runners, with only 15% of them scoring.
In 13 starts for the Angels, Tommy has gone 4-3 with a 5.59 ERA and a career-high 1.581 WHIP. He certainly doesn't have swing and miss stuff anymore, as he has seen an increase in hits per 9, as well as a decrease in strikeouts per nine. Opponents are batting .293 against him this season, along with a .478 slugging percentage.

Advantage: Braves

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