Jeremy Affeldt's impressive 2009 seems like a lifetime ago and with each progressive outing, it feels like getting back to that level of pitching is less and less likely.
Even with Affeldt's struggles, he is still in the good graces of Bruce Bochy. He keeps getting the call to pitch in important situations and has been one of the go-to options in the sixth and seventh innings. So, when can we expect Affeldt to bounce of his funk?
To be perfectly frank, I don't think what we are seeing now is the funk. What was out of the ordinary was his 2009 season where he posted a 1.73 ERA, while his other numbers all remained around his career norms. To help illustrate just how much of a blip 2009 was, here is a nifty chart that plots his ERA along with some advanced stats that look to strip out things beyond a pitchers control.
The stats that focus on what pitchers can control all foreshadowed the coming struggles and didn't believe that he was an elite relief pitcher. His run prevention were helped by a strand rate of 86.4% (career 70.7%) and excellent outcomes on balls hit into play not falling for hits (25% vs 30% career).
Another interesting thing to look at is his control and strikeout stuff haven't really changed since his big season either and his numbers are down from his 2008 season prior to joining the Giants.
What this means is the 2009 Jeremy Affeldt was awesome at preventing runs, but the numbers suggest he is unlikely to repeat that level of performance. The Giants coaches and us fans need to expect that as well and not be expecting miracles from the lefty.
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