Jason Frasor is taking over closer duties for the Blue Jays while B.J. Ryan is on the DL. Obviously, this development gives Frasor a load of value -- but how much? Letís try to answer that question by, well, answering a bunch of other questions about Frasor.
HOW WORRISOME ARE FRASORíS EARLY STRUGGLES LAST YEAR?
Frasor was horrible last April: 10.24 ERA, .302 opponents batting average, 7/7 K/BB. Thatís Jorge Julio stuff right there. But Frasor quickly rebounded, and he pitched quite well the rest of the year: 44/10 K/BB from May on.
I wouldnít fret about Frasorís poor start to 2006. Frasorís five good months have to outweigh his one bad one. Heck, anyone can have a bad month.
IS GOPHERITIS A PROBLEM WITH FRASOR?
Yes. This is my major hang-up with this guy. Last year, Frasor surrendered eight home runs in just 50 innings. Thatís way too many, especially for someone whoís going to be closing. Frasor hasnít allowed any dingers yet in 2007, so thatís good Ö but when you look at his fly-ball rate (0.83 G/F), his home ballpark and the AL East lineups heíll be facing, I donít like his chances of eradicating his gopheritis.
Frasor will blow some saves, and when he does, heís going to blow them in spectacular fashion. The long ball is going to do him in at times. Just be aware that comes with the territory if Frasor is on your team.
CAN HE KEEP THE JOB?
There are two parts to this question. First of all, can Frasor pitch well enough to keep the job while Ryan is out? Secondly, when will Ryan be back and take the closer job away from Frasor?
Letís tackle the first question first, because weíre logical people and that makes the most sense. I do think Frasor will pitch well enough to keep the job. He has the dominance (he strikes out a batter per inning), and his control is good enough. That being said, he will get beat by the long ball sometimes, testing the patience of John Gibbons and the Blue Jays faithful. But I donít think this will happen enough to cost him the job.
As for Ryanís health, things look bad for Ryan owners (like me) and good for Frasor owners. Ryan is out four to six weeks with a sprained elbow. Iím no doctor, but this is obviously a tricky injury for a pitcher. When Ryan starts throwing again, heís going to be putting repeated stress on the injured area. What if he aggravates the injury? All itís going to take is a little twinge, and heís going to be out a heck of a lot longer than four to six weeks.
If Frasor is the closer for much of the rest of 2007, I wonít be shocked.