Key Stats: FBHS is blogging from the corner of East 59th Street and Lexington Avenue in order to get a better understanding on today’s player profile of Mariano Rivera. The word from New York is the same as it is everywhere the Rivera tour goes. He is a very simple player to evaluate. He throws one pitch. He throws it well. He doesn’t age. Ever. He will always save around 40 games. He will always strikeout a little more than a batter per inning. He will always have a WHIP and ERA that makes an owner proud. That’s the way it’s been for 13 seasons and the way it will be when the 40 year old takes the mound in 2010.
Skeptics Say: As a Red Sox fan I really want to say he’s getting up there in age, but I’ve been telling myself that since 2003 when he was pitching 3 shutout innings in relief in the ALCS. Rivera did give up more home runs last year than he has since he was a rookie and it wasn’t necessarily the new stadium’s fault. He gave up more home runs per inning on the road. Speaking of innings, Rivera threw his lowest output since 2002. No doubt this was caused by Joe Girardi using extra caution not to wear him down, so don’t expect the weight of the ERA and WHIP to be as strong with Rivera than it would be with a younger closer.
Peer Comparison: Some would argue that you shouldn’t go after relief pitchers until really late in the draft. That’s fine unless the reasoning is that relief pitchers are risky because they could lose their job and thus their value at the snap of a finger and come with the same increased injury risk that every pitcher is born with. Looking at the past four seasons it’s been the same crew dominating the top of the list at closer. These guys are the safest picks in the game .
Joe Nathan – Ranked 56, 37, 53, and 25 in 2009, 2008, 2007, and 2006 respectively
Rivera – Ranked 55, 8, 106, and 58 in 2009, 2008, 2007, and 2006
Jonathan Papelbon – Ranked 96, 38, 50 and 37 in 2009, 2008, 2007, and 2006
All rankings according to Yahoo
Team Outlook: The rich got richer in the offeason, but the defense behind Rivera is worth questioning just a little. The UZR of Curtis Granderson is slightly better than Melky Cabrera’s. Derek Jeter had his first positive UZR season since 2002 when the stat first started being kept. It’s likely that he regresses back to the defender he usually is in 2010. Alex Rodriguez is the player most concerning on the defense. Given his age, it doesn’t bode well that his UZR went from -2.6 to -8.6. Then again with Rivera striking out one batter per inning it doesn’t matter much anyway.
What They’re Saying: CBS Sportsline: #4 Relief Pitcher; ESPN.com: #61 Overall; Yahoo: #2 Relief Pitcher and #81 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: #70 Overall; Couch Managers: #95 Overall ;FB 365: #4 Relief Pitcher
Projection: I’ll be tweeting from the Bloomberg building today as they introduce a partnership with MLB.com to revolutionize statistics in fantasy baseball the same way they have in the financial world. Should be fun to meet some other fantasy baseball nerds – and who knows maybe Mo will stop in while I’m in town to complain about not being ranked higher.
40 saves 4 wins 2.15 ERA 0.96 WHIP 68 K in 63.1 innings
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