Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Romo & Runzler are keys to bullpen's success
Firstly, I'd like to apologize for not getting any articles out recently (other than some nonsense). It's been a little hectic (for my standards). I have been Twittering about stuff, and I encourage you to follow @TheDodgerhater if you're into that sort of thing. It's kinda fun, and I never thought I'd ever be down.
With all the Spring Training topics to BS about (or freak out about), I thought I'd kinda do something different for this post. I could talk about the Bumgarner nightmare, or the fact that Buster Posey has a 1.055 OPS while Big Money Molina's is even better (1.077). I'm choosing to look forward, rather than focus the all too tough-to-decipher Spring Training scene.
Last year, Sabean signed some random dudes named Justin Miller and Brandon Medders to throw baseballs for a living. "I'm a Little Bit Country" Medders and "I'm a little bit Rock & Roll" Miller were serious cogs in our 'pen all season long-- especially Miller.
Miller essentially became the 7th inning bridge to Affeldt and Wilson that Lurch Howry was supposed to be, and goddamn did he excel at it. Until he broke down at the end of the year (which was due to serious injury) Miller was sick.
During this time, Sergio Romo was a bit of an enigma. When right, his movement is purely disgusting. His breaking balls almost look like screwballs and he backdoors left-handers like it's his job. (Uh... yeah)
But as a relatively inexperienced dude, he got into a serious funk befitting Earth Wind & Fire or the Ohio Players. Remember last July when he gave up 7 earnies is 3 appearances? Despite his impressive performance last year overall, there were times when he just wasn't trustworthy. This year he will be required to be Justin Miller-- a steadfast 7th inning monster, minus the "LA" tattoo and the August/September breakdown.
(Quick note: Justin Miller is now a Dodger, so from here on out, he shall not be mentioned)
The other guy in the 2010 pen who is both intriguing and hair-raisingly exciting, is rookie Danny Runzler.
A guy buried on many's radars, The Runzmeister burst onto the scene as a late callup in '09, K'ing 11 in as many appearances. Armed with a gaseous heater and some wicked breaking stuff, we could really be looking at the closer of the future. As much as I like B-Weezy, the "Mullethawked One" will become increasingly expensive in his next two arby hearings.
I believe Runzler to be fully ready to step into a significant bullpen role in 2010 as a both a situational lefty (.059 BAA vs. lefties in '09), and a guy who can give you a solid inning or two in any situation. Currently in Scottsdale, he has K'd 9 in only 4.2 innings.
Yeah, yeah, I know. It's Spring Training, and he's thrown a limited amount of innings as a real pro, but this guy has shown nothing but promise and deliverance thus far.
As the season goes on, he will likely hit bumps in the road as all young big leaguers do. However, all indications thus far tell me that this cat is ready for the show.
As for the rest of the bullpen, I see nothing but good things. Assuming we keep 12 pitchers (not a guarantee), we're looking at a pen of Brian Wilson, Jeremy Affeldt, Romo, Runzler, Medders, Todd Wellemeyer, and either Waldis Joaquin, Steve Johnson, Kevin Pucetas, or Guillermo Mota.
Personally, Pucetas looks like the 5th starter at this point, but that's another article for another day.
Indeed my friends, this bullpen looks deep, it looks solid, and I for one am very excited about it.
Here's to an epic 2010!