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Entries in rangers (15)


Koji Uehara good pick up for the Rangers

WWhen you look at the strong desire by so many teams for set-up men coming out the bullpen, you have to think that the Rangers made a really good deal acquiring Koji Uehara from the Baltimore Orioles.

Uehara is a 36-year old righty who is having a superior season out of the pen. In 43 appearances he has thrown 47 innings with an ERA of 1.72 and a microscopic WHIP of 0.702. He has recorded 13 holds, but he has allowed six homers. His control is outstanding, he has walked only eight while striking out 62 batters (11.9 per 9 innings), a 7.75 strikeout to walk ratio.

Let's take a look...

Uehara has faced 174 batters this seasonOverall batters are hitting just .152 against Koji. Righties are only hitting .171, but what makes Uehara particularly valuable is that lefties are hitting only .136.

Uehara against lefties

Koji pounds the outside against leftiesUehara has faced 96 lefties, allowed a mere 12 hits including two doubles and three homers. He has walked eight and whiffed an amazing 34. For the most part, batters have not been able to go to the opposite field against Uehara, in spite of the predominance of outside zone pitches. Of the 12 hits allowed only two have been to left: a double by Matt Stairs and an infield single by Roger Bernadina, both of the Nationals. Just 18 outs have been record to the left of second base and centerfield.

Uehara with runners on base

Koji has pitched with 57 runners on baseWhile Uehara has allowed 4-of-10 inherited runners to score, the data is somewhat misleading. All four runs scored as a result of a pair of two-run homers from Kevin Youkilis (4/27) and Johnny Damon (5/6). With runners on base, batters are 6-for-52 with 3 walks and 20 strikeouts. He has not given up an extra-base hit with a runner on base since Damon in early May, covering 32 appearances. Overall, batters are hitting .115, righties hitting .227, lefties .033. Lefties are 1-for-30 with runners on base against him and that's the Damon homer. 

As Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News points out:

"The Rangers will, in all likelihood, control Uehara, 36, for 2012. He has a vesting option in his contract that kicks in at 55 appearances. He is currently at 43. The vesting option is for $4 million. The Rangers will also receive "significant" cash from Baltimore."

If Uehara can come close to the same success with Texas as he has with the Orioles, the deal sending to Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter to Baltimore, may prove to be both a bridge to the closer and a bridge back to the World Series.


Added Dimensions

Aaron Gleeman notes that Jorge de la Rosa could be the Yankees back up plan if they do not sign Cliff Lee.  Both throw left-handed.  Both showed significant improvement over their career numbers since the start of the 2008 season.  Jorge is two years younger than Cliff.  De la Rosa would come at a lower cost, and the reason can be seen in the movement of his pitches.  Both pitchers see mostly right-handed batters, so the study concentrates on those hitters.

Jorge de la Rosa, pitch movement to RHB, 2008-2010Note that de la Rosa does a good job of mixing up the vertical component of his pitches.  He throws pitches (mostly fastballs) that stay up, and pitches with a big drop.  Almost all his pitches, however, move toward right-handed batters. 

Cliff Lee, pitch movement to RHB, 2008-2010

Lee adds two dimensions to his pitch movment.  His pitches not only stay up and drop, buy move left and right as well.  Lee forces batters to add two more dimensions to their thinking when trying to judge a pitch, and that makes solving the problem of hitting him much more difficult.  Lee is Kirk to de la Rosa's Khan.


C.J. Wilson Protecting a Lead

Lost in Game 2 of the World Series was another strong outing by C.J. Wilson. It seems like every query we run Mr. Wilson shows up as a top performer.

Let's take a look at the pitchers that hold their opponents to the lowest average when they are protecting a 1 run game... Hello again, Mr. Wilson.

Top 2010 MLB pitchers when protecting a 1 run lead (sorted by opponent avg).