Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Wellemeyer has a legit shot at the #5 spot?
Before I get to Wellemeyer, check this out. It's The Dodgerhater's second appearance on HotStove.com commenting on Giants issues. This time about Aaron Rowand leading off. See my answer, as well as El Lefty Malo's and others right here.
The Giants have signed former Cardinal non-great Todd Wellemeyer to a minor league deal, similar to the one Juan Uribe signed last year. It would guarantee him a cool mil if he makes the team, but after Obama's tax increases, his salary should net him like $20k. Ha. Sorry. Sometimes I can't resist.
What's interesting about Wellemeyer is that he has been a swingman throughout his career and has had a little success both in the pen and as a starter. With the #5 spot now a tossup between Madison Bumgarner, Kevin Pucetas, Joe Martinez, and Wellemeyer, it'll all come down to whether The Carolina Kid is ready to do this thing on the big stage.
Despite the good things he saw from MBG last year in limited action, part of me thinks that if he's thrust into the #5 spot from the get go and struggles, that it could be a real confidence killer. The last thing we need is a talented sadsack. Those are the most frustrating.
It may be best for Bumgarner to start off in Fresno, get his confidence rolling, then promote him in May or June, so that he's in the groove, but doesn't have a tired arm like he did when he was promoted last September.
A look at Wellemeyer's career numbers gives us something concrete to work with. Last year he sucked, and upon further review, he sucked in the following seasons as well: 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2009. Keep in mind, he's only pitched in parts of seven big league seasons, and his rough going early on was simply due to inexperience.
So, how do we figure this guy out? His 5.89 ERA in '09 was hideous, but his 4.14, 4.54, and 3.71 ERA's in '06, '07, and '08 are at least palatable. Let's take a look at him when he's at his best.
Wellemeyer is one season removed from his best as a pro. Interestingly, it game when he was exclusively used as a starter (a pattern in his career). In 32 starts, he sported some truly respectable stuff: 1.25 WHIP, a nearly 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio, and stranded 77% of runners on base.
He's a three pitch guy, (fastball, slider, change), of which his best is an 85 mph slider that he threw for 26% of the time in '08. Last year, in which he blew big time, he only threw it 17% of the time. This would indicate that he either lost confidence in it, or simply couldn't command it worth a damn. Confidence is a bitch.
It's really hard to say what exactly happened to T-Dub last year. He did deal with an elbow injury where he missed 25 days on the DL, but his strike percentage was nearly identical to '08, and his velocity was only down about 1 mph overall.
This just looks like a common case of lost command and a little bad luck.
In '08, his BB/9 rate was an excellent 2.91/9 innings. In '09, this rate ballooned to nearly 5 per 9. This, coupled with a rise in BABIP up from a below average .273 in '08 to a high .346, shows me that the man was just getting the ball up in the zone, and he was losing batters to walks that in '08 he was able to get out.
It could've been injury, confidence, fatigue, whatever...
I will end the most epic post about a minor league signee/potential 5th starter ever with this:
If we get the '08 Todd Wellemeyer who went 13-9 with a 3.71 ERA, Sabean has unearthed another gem off the scrap heap, a la Juan Uribe, Brandon Medders, Justin Miller, etc.
If not, it's another minimum risk/high reward signing. A pattern this offseason.
Now, we eagerly await the outcome of Timmy's arby case in Tampa...
Also, a melancholy happy trails to one of my favorite TV personalities of all time, Captain Phil Harris of The Cornelia Marie and of Deadliest Catch fame. It is not often that a total stranger's passing makes you feel this crappy. Allow me to say a few words.
Phil was a man's man. A brash, chain-smoking, tattooed outlaw of the seas. A father, a husband, a skipper.
A guy you'd work hard for, even if it meant staying up for 36 hours hauling crab pots during 20 degree weather in 30 foot seas.
People like us only knew Phil for a few years on television, but those of us who watch Deadliest Catch religiously, felt like we knew him well.
I speak for myself when I say, I'll miss you skipper.
Smoke a Camel Filter, pound a redbull, and slay those crab up in heaven. We'll miss you buddy.