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Key Stats: Justin Duchscherer was good enough to be in the conversation for starting the All Star game after the first half of last season in which he posted 10 wins, a 1.82 ERA and a sick 0.87 WHIP.

Skeptics Say: The A’s may have gotten rid of Rich Harden last season, but they did not get rid of the Rich Harden problem. Duchscherer has had a history of injuries and staying on the field has always been an issue for an otherwise talented pitcher. Even if Duchscherer is healthy, don’t expect him to hold a lot of value in the strikeout category.

Peer Comparison: Here’s how Duchscherer stacks up against pitchers making the transition from RP to SP in recent years.

Duchscherer the reliever in 2006: 2.91 ERA 1.10 WHIP 51 Ks in 55.2 innings
Duchscherer the starter in 2008: 2.54 ERA, 1.00 WHIP 95 Ks in 141.2 innings

Braden Looper RP in 2006: 3.56 ERA 1.30 WHIP 41 Ks in 73 innings
Braden Looper SP in 2007: 4.94 ERA 1.34 WHIP 108 Ks in 199 innings

Joba Chamberlain RP in 07 & 08: 1.53 ERA 1.00 WHIP 78 Ks in 59 innings
Joba Chamberlain SP in 2008: 2.76 ERA 1.30 WHIP 74 Ks in 65.1 innings

Derek Lowe RP in 2000: 2.56 ERA 1.23 WHIP 79 Ks in 91.1 innings
Derek Lowe SP in 2002: 2.58 ERA 0.97 WHIP 127 Ks in 219.2 innings

Clearly it has been a tough transition for many players. It should be noted that all of these guys were starters in the minor leagues and only Looper had more appearances as a reliever coming up through the system.

Team Outlook: The addition of Matt Holliday to the A’s lineup is fantastic news to A’s pitchers who were getting their run support from the worst slugging percentage and batting average in all of baseball. Huston Street’s departure will not hurt the A’s Bullpen because he hasn’t done much the last two seasons. What will hurt the bullpen is the fact that Brad Ziegler will not approach the level of play he had last season. There is also a great chance that the A’s could trade Duchscherer at some point, likely hurting his ERA if he is moved to another AL team.

What They’re Saying: #51 Starting Pitcher; CBS Sportsline: #73 Starting Pitcher and #244 Overall; Fox Sports: #46 Starting Pitcher; Yahoo: #57 Starting Pitcher and #211 Overall

Projection: On one side Duchscherer was starting to come apart before the hip injury. On the other side this is a contract year and he has the incentives in line for a big year.
13W, 3.20 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 117 Ks in 171 innings

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