Friday, December 10, 2010

Giants Roster Question: Dan Runzler vs. Jeremy Affeldt


I was reading PaapFly this morning and something caught my eye that I wanted to dig deeper into.

The question that is brought up is which pitcher makes more sense as the Giants left handed non-loogy guy, Dan Runzler or Jeremy Affeldt?
The Giants have been said to be trying to convert Runzler into a starting pitcher. Why? I’m not exactly sure. I read Sabean said that Runzler’s best shot at making the bullpen is to stretch out and become a long reliever. Let’s ignore the fact that he’s younger, cheaper and has better peripherals than Jeremy Affeldt – thus may be a more serviceable non-LOOGY lefty out of the ‘pen than Jeremy, whom I still adore for his Game Six emergency innings against Philly, by the way. But anyway, that’s perhaps a discussion for another time.
Well I have sometime so I want to have this discussion now.

Here are the numbers for 2009 and 2010:

Runzler:
Year W L W-L% ERA G IP H ER HR BB SO ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
09-10 3 0 1.000 2.61 52 41.1 35 12 2 25 48 160 1.452 7.6 0.4 5.4 10.5 1.92
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/10/2010.

Affeldt
Year W L W-L% ERA G IP H ER HR BB SO ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
09-10 6 5 .545 2.80 127 112.1 98 35 7 55 98 150 1.362 7.9 0.6 4.4 7.9 1.80
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/10/2010.

Most of the numbers are pretty similar, Runzler has more strikeouts but also more walks. Affeldt allows fewer base runners but gives up more homeruns. One stat that isn't here is that Affedlt induces more ground balls then Runzler but Runzler still gets ground balls at a clip of 51% which is solid especially with the strikeout numbers.

To me the decision comes down to a couple of things. Affeldt has a longer track record of success (Runzler has less then 50 major league innings), he has slightly better control and gets ground balls like a champ.

In the long run I think that Runzler has more potential with a big fastball and strikeout stuff but he still scares people with the command issues. So I think that the Giants game plan of trying to groom him for a backup starter or long man role is a temporary thing for one depth and to also give him more innings to try to work on his control. In addition if Runzler does turn into a serviceable starter his value goes up quite a bit, and could be a good trade chip or just a simply piece of mind if one of the front line pitchers goes down.

This of all things is a nice problem to have. You can never have too much pitching talent especially lefties who can get strikeouts and ground balls.

If your on Twitter you should definitely follow the The Crazy Crabbers. If you're not you should really consider joining, lots of good stuff going on there.

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