The Rays and Home Run Prone Relievers

I ran across my Manny Delcarmen post from earlier this offseason and noticed that I never got around to expanding on the Rays and home run prone relief pitchers, yet I have referenced their willingness to ink those pitchers often. To prove my point, I ran this query through Baseball-Reference’s Play Index: 2006-2010, pitchers with 75% or more relief appearances and more than 40 games with the highest HR/9 (in descending order). The results really do the theory justice as the following pitchers were either acquired by the Rays, pitched for them, or were involved in rumors with the club (the number next to their name is the rank – remember, this is in descending order, meaning the lower the number, the more home runs):

1 Alfredo Simon
4 Fernando Cabrera
7 Brian Meadows
20 Alberto Reyes
26 Jonah Bayliss
28 Jorge Sosa
30 Jesse Chavez
43 Troy Percival
49 Juan Salas
53 Logan Kensing
54 Scott Dohmann
56 Octavio Dotel
57 Joel Peralta
62 Gary Glover
66 Jon Switzer
77 Dan Wheeler
83 Kyle Farnsworth
84 Brian Stokes
95 Jorge Julio
102 Joe Nelson
114 Lance Cormier
115 Jose Veras
116 Seth McClung
119 Guillermo Mota
122 Doug Waechter
161 Russ Springer

Those are just the guys with HR/9 over 1 and a few with possible interest (Chad Durbin, Todd Williams, and Matt Capps) were left out. Certainly, it could be a coincidence or an attempt at looking at past results and looking for a pattern, but the Rays focusing on potentially undervalued relievers who other teams may write off because of their gopher balls makes sense too. After all, the Trop can help with the homers and Joe Maddon can help with proper utilization.

You can dig further too. Up until joining the Rays, Grant Balfour gave up 1.4 homers per nine in the majors. Joaquin Benoit gave up 1.2 per nine in 2008. Jason Isringhausen’s career rate is held down by his good seasons, but he gave up more than a homer per nine over the three seasons before signing with the Rays too. And it goes on, and on. This seems like a common aspect in arriving pitchers’ profiles and it’s something to look for in future acquisitions.

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