Thursday, March 5, 2009
Ryan Dempster 2009
Ryan Dempster has been striking out lots of batters while putting up a good groundball rate for years in relief. However, his achilles heel was always his lack of control. Moved into the starting rotation last year, Dempster excelled. His control improved, and he ended up with a 2.96 ERA. Is he going to be able to repeat that? The short answer is 'no'. Even if he pitches just as well in 2009, Dempster is unlikely to allow as few home runs again. However, I do think it's possible that his control has actually improved (possibly due to the move into the rotation) and that Dempster might continue to be a very solid starting pitcher. While most pitchers do better as relievers, the one area where I can imagine some of them finding a starting role easier would be in reducing walks. I don't have any statistical evidence to back that up, but it makes sense to me, and I have really seen anything refuting it either. Control is also the one area where a pitcher of Dempster's age (31) is most likely to still be improving. An ERA in the mid-to-high 3s, with plenty of strikeouts seems like a reasonable projection for Dempster this season.