Wednesday, March 31, 2004

So, who's it gonna be? Assuming the Astros go with 11 pitchers (they might go with 12, but I think we need another backup IF besides Lamb and Viz), and it seems clear that they'll go with Dotel, Lidge, and Miceli, that leaves 3 other relievers...

So, pick 3 from Ricky Stone, Brandon Duckworth, Brandon Backe, Jared Fernandez, and Mike Gallo.

Ok, first of all, Stone should absolutely be on there. I'm going to assume he makes it, so that leaves 2 spots. I say give one of them to Fernandez, because of his incredible variety. Need a spot starter? A guy who can pitch every day, or soak up innings when you're losing 16-2? Plus I just like the idea of having a knuckleballer on the staff to complement all the hard throwers. Finally, a fairly tough decision...Duckworth or Backe?

I'm going with Duckworth, but it's close. Backe is death on righties; unfortunately for him, so is most of our bullpen. Duckworth is better against lefties, but he still allows too many fly balls and he needs to really increase his strikeouts. Hopefully he does it this year. But don't expect him to become mini-Dotel overnight.

What about Gallo? Here's the thing about Gallo. Jimy has said that it's 'nice' to have at least one LHP in the bullpen. Ok, maybe it's nice, but how many left-handed batters are there that scare you in our division? Jim Edmonds. Adam Dunn. Griffey if he is healthy. I think that's about it, honestly. When you consider the whole NL, there are a few more (Bonds, Helton, Giles, Thome...damn, those guys are pretty good)...but it's not like Gallo is unstoppable against them, and...I don't know, I just don't like the idea of using a roster slot on a pitcher that is ONLY going to come in against lefties. That's just me. So my all-righty bullpen, with 2003 OPS splits against righties, then lefties:

Dotel (closer) (564 , 533 .....DAMN)
Lidge (setup) (556 , 719)
Miceli (black-belt in judo...and also setup) (710 , 736)
Stone (tough on righties, double-play specialist) (645 , 830)
Duckworth (tough on lefties, needs more strikeouts) (953 , 685 )
Fernandez (Pitching Utility Guy, aka PUG) (628, 716)

So, in summary, don't use Stone much against lefties, or Duckworth against righties. And Octavio Dotel is so good.

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