The Cincinnati Reds acquired Claussen along with Charlie Manning for Aaron Boone in 2003 right after Jim Bowden's departure, a move that ultimately resulted in the New York Yankees winning the World Series. Claussen broke in with the Reds in 2004, and in 2005 he pitched his first full season with the big league club with decent success. This year he is considered our #3 starting pitcher, and as such the Reds are counting on him to pitch fairly deep into ballgames and keep the team in games.
For additional biographical information, please see Red Hot Mama's profile on Brandon Claussen in her Human League.
Historical Stats (Please see the Baseball Statistics Quicksheet for explanations and definitions of the statistics used in this profile):
His HR-allowed rate is a recent phenomenon, and seems to correlate well with his time in the major leagues. Claussen is a fairly extreme flyball pitcher; 36% of all balls hit into play off him last year were hit into air. The reason for the increased HR-allowed probably has a lot to do with the ability of major league players to hit for power and less to do with some sort of change in Claussen's pitching strategy, though I haven't seen this addressed anywhere. By and large, however, one has to declare his 2005 campaign a success and hope for further improvements this season by the still-young southpaw.
First of all, the left-handed Claussen has performed better against right-handed batters. While he has struck out lefties at a higher rate, they have hit an absurd number of home runs off of him--11 homers in ~50 innings against lefties, vs. 22 homers in ~150 innings against righties. I don't expect this trend to continue, but I think it is reasonable to suspect that Claussen enjoys no particular lefty/righty advantage.
Overall, Claussen has pitched about equally well at home and away. However, looking at his individual year splits tells a different story. In '04, he pitched quite well at home (3.96 ERA), but was miserable in away-games (8.80 ERA). In '05, it was just the opposite. He struggled at home (4.81 ERA), but was very effective on the road (3.48). Given his tendencies as a fly ball pitcher, he is a poor fit for GABP, which allows an above-average number of home runs. Therefore, I would expect to see him continue to perform better on the road in this and coming years. Nevertheless, I strongly hope that he can improve his performance at home to be the consistent guy in the middle of the rotation that we all hope he can become.
Baseball Archive, The
Baseball Cube, The
Baseball Prospectus '06 Annual
Baseball Think Factory
Hardball Times '06 Annual