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Monday, January 29, 2007

Sal Baxamusa on Saarloos

While you all wait (breathlessly, I'm sure) for my upcoming evaluation on Kirk Saarloos, I'll refer you to this excellent workup by Sal Baxamusa at The Hardball Times on the guy. His one skill--inducing the ground ball--could potentially make him a valuable guy in the Reds' park, though perhaps more out of the bullpen than in the rotation (in my opinion, anyway).

Here's an excerpt:
Saarloos was a very successful college and minor league pitcher, but it appears that the scouts were right to think that his stuff wouldn't translate to major league success. Baseball Prospectus 2003 said of Saarloos, "There’s a debate as to whether Saarloos can thrive with a fastball that’s a few ticks south of average. Put us down squarely on the side that believes his minor league dominance portends success in the majors." I would have agreed wholeheartedly. Saarloos isn't a bad pitcher, but he hasn't quite lived up to that prediction or his minor league resume. But his current pitching style, as seen through pitch-by-pitch data, would seem to reflect an approach based on a lack of stuff. This is in turn reflected in his walk and strikeout rates.

But at least Saarloos has that sinker. As a back-end starter, the Reds could do a lot worse than a grounder-inducing junkballer, particularly in a home run park.