On Thursday, TPR profiled Bobby Jenks as a prime non-tender candidate for the work-in-progress 2011 Tampa Bay Rays’ bullpen. While Jenks would assume a large (pun not intended) role, and potentially be one of the team’s best relievers, there are a few other players who were non-tendered that could be useful in lesser roles.
Former Team: Washington
Age on Opening Day 2011: 35
Peralta is what we call a late-bloomer. Despite spending parts of the last five seasons in the Major Leagues (and five in the minors before that), he enjoyed his best season at age 34 in 2010. With 49 strikeouts in 49 innings, he sported a nice round K/9 of 9.00. In addition to the excellent strikeout rate, he walked just nine batters in his 39 appearances. He was one of just four relief pitchers in the big leagues to boast a K/9 greater than 9.00 and a BB/9 less than 1.75. One of the others was the recently departed Joaquin Benoit.
Meanwhile, there was a bit of good fortune that went toward his 2.02 ERA. His .219 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) was a quite fortuitous as was his strand rate (LOB%) of 85%. Even though he may experience regression in both categories, his home run-to-flyball ratio and line drive rate were pretty normal – suggesting the overall regression may not be as rough.
In terms of stuff, Peralta throws a fastball in the low 90s, a curveball, and an off-speed pitch that has confused pitch classification systems. Baseball Info Solutions (used by fangraphs.com) classifies the pitch as a split-fingered fastball. However, MLB Advanced Media says it is a change-up. Either way, you can just call it effective. The pitch accounted for more than 20% of his total pitches thrown while registering a swing and a miss over a quarter of the time (25.6%).
Due to his lack of career success and his semi-advanced age, Peralta may be one of the relievers to fall through the market’s cracks making him a potential target for the Rays
Former Teams: Pittsburgh/Arizona
Age on Opening Day 2011: 34
After starting 20 games for the Royal in 2005, Carrasco has pitched exclusively in relief since. With his experience as a starter, he has served as a long-reliever for the most part with most of his appearances coming in low-leverage situations. It is a role that he has thrived in for three organizations.
His 3.77 ERA over the past three seasons is a pretty good number, but according to fielding independent pitching (FIP) he’s been slightly better than his ERA suggest. His control rates are mostly average, but his ability to keep the ball in the park is where he scores highly. A groundball pitcher by trade, he has allowed just 12 home runs over his last 210.2 innings. Since converting to relief full-time, his groundball rate has averaged between 47-51% in each season.
Suff-wise, he is unimpressive with a fastball that barely passes 90 mph, but he throws a lot of junk as well. Along with the fastball, he throws a slider, curveball, change-up, and a cutter.
If that profile sounds a lot like Lance Cormier, you’ve been paying attention. That said, Carrasco gets more strikeouts and walks less. With Cormier also receiving a non-tender, Carrasco is a decent candidate for the low man on the totem pole position. Other candidates for this position (groundball, low-leverage, low stuff) include Matt Albers and Sean Green who were both non-tendered as well.