Monday, February 6, 2017

Matt Belisle, new Twin

Matt Belisle, the pitcher signed late last week by the Twins, is a 36-year-old right-hander with a 13-season resume in the National League.

Most of his 4.20 career ERA has been compiled with the hitters havens of Cincinnati and Colorado as his home parks. The past two seasons -- pitching with lighter workloads for better teams and less difficult home parks -- he has put up ERAs of 2.67 (2015, St. Louis) and 1.76 (2016, Washington).

We can safely assume that Belisle isn't as good as that 2016 ERA suggests; if he were, he would not have been a free agent into February.

According to the Bill James Handbook, last season Belisle threw 56 percent fastballs, 33 percent sliders, 10 percent curves and 1 percent changeups. His fastball, the book says, averaged a bit under 91 mph. Not overpowering stuff (less than seven strikeouts per nine innings) but a strike thrower (just four unintentional walks in 46 innings). He's had a few injury issues the past two seasons.

The results are comparable to Brandon Kintzler, but he gets there by a different route. Kintzler throws a lot of fastballs, and Belisle is pretty heavy with breaking balls.

Dusty Baker didn't trust him. Belisle worked a lot of long relief and had the lowest leverage score on the Nationals staff, at least as Baseball Info Systems calculates it, and the Nationals left him off the playoff roster.

I expect Belisle to make the Opening Day roster for the Twins. I don't expect him to get an important bullpen job. He's a threat to Michael Tonkin's role on the staff, not to Ryan Pressly's.

And, to restate explicitly what was perhaps implied from Saturday's post and today's, I would not give up Byung Ho Park for him. It's possible, of course, that the Twins won't lose Park. But I would not have taken that chance.

No comments:

Post a Comment