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The O-Zone: Will These New Kids Hang Tough?
Posted by Joe Oberkrieser at 5/8/2007 2:33:00 PM
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A few new starting pitchers are being trotted out tonight. Any of these guys worth anything? Letís have a look-see.

JUSTIN GERMANO

If you need a starter, I think Germano is a decent addition to your team for a couple of weeks (assuming youíre in a deep league). That being said, his upside is very limited.

Why? He isnít dominant enough. Last year at Triple-A, Germano whiffed just 5.33 batters per nine innings. If thatís the best he can do in the bush leagues, how will he possibly be dominant enough to succeed in the big leagues?

Germanoís K/9 hasnít been any better this year, either. Despite his terrific 1.69 ERA in Portland, Germano is striking out just 5.62 batters per nine innings.

The nice thing about Germano, though, is that although his upside is limited, his downside is, too. Germano doesnít walk many (24 BB in 155 1/3 IP at Triple-A last year), and he keeps the ball in the yard (13 homers allowed last year, none this year). Heís unlikely to put up a horrific outing where he floods the bags with baserunners and gives up more homers than Chase Wright.

If you need a short-term fill-in who wonít hurt you, Germano is a good bet. Just donít expect him to actually *help* you.

ANTHONY LEREW

Lerew, who pitches against Germano tonight, is kind of the anti-Germano: Heís shown a decent strikeout rate in the past, but control and gopheritis problems could prove to be his undoing.

Letís start with the good news: Lerew has pretty good stuff. Last year at Double-A, he whiffed 6.84 batters per nine innings Ö then got promoted to Triple-A, where he fanned 8.75 per nine innings. Both strikeout rates occurred in small sample sizes, but theyíre still encouraging -- especially that Triple-A mark. If Lerewís 8.75 K/9 is the real deal, he should be dominant enough to succeed in the majors.

But will he do anything else well enough to succeed in the majors? Thatís my worry. Lerew gave up a whopping 12 home runs in 71 Triple-A innings last year, so we have to be concerned about gopheritis. Control is a worry as well: Lerew walked 4.56 batters per nine innings during last seasonís Triple-A stint. He was wilder than a room full of first-graders with a substitute teacher.

Iíd stay away unless youíre really, really desperate. Too much downside here.

BRAD THOMPSON

When I started my Thompson research, the first thing I saw was his Triple-A numbers from last year: 33/6 K/BB in 42 2/3 innings, 2.11 ERA. Pretty good skill here, I thought.

But then I looked at his big-league numbers. Letís just say Iím staying far away from this guy for a while.

This year, Thompson has a 4.67 ERA (pitching in relief), and his 10/8 K/BB in 17 1/3 innings inspires no confidence. His previous big-league stints arenít much better. A 32/20 K/BB in 56 2/3 innings in 2006 Ö yuck. Neither the dominance nor the control are OK.

Combine that problematic skill set with workload concerns, and you have reason to worry. Moving from the bullpen to the rotation suits some guys fine -- look at Thompsonís teammate Braden Looper -- but the potential for ineffectiveness and/or injury is always present when someone moves from one-inning stints to six-inning stints.

Thompson could be a decent option someday, but someday is not today. Nor will it be this year.


Comments....

NKOTB references? Good-bye, street-cred. Gus, you gotta downgrade the O-Zone next week ; )
Posted by spianow at 5/9/2007 11:53:00 AM
 
I guess I'll take all my Menudo references out of the next O-Zone ... :)
Posted by joeo at 5/9/2007 12:28:00 PM
 
It does remind me of that great trash-talking moment in "Swingers" . . . Double-Down Trent says, right before Video Hockey: "You ready, hip hop? You ready, New Kids on the Block?"
Posted by spianow at 5/9/2007 2:23:00 PM
 

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