Friday, March 13, 2009

Troy Percival 2009

Troy Percival is the favorite to be the Ray's closer when the season starts, assuming he remains healthy enough. That's not a good thing. The days when Percival was a dominant pitcher are long gone. In fact, the days when Percival was an adequate pitcher may be gone as well. While he did have a very respectable 7.5 strikeouts per nine innings, Percival's other numbers were terrible. He was already an extreme flyball pitcher, yet his groundball rate dropped sharply in 2008 to an incredible 23.0%. His control, which had previously been fairly good, left him and his walk rate rose to 5.4 per nine innings. While sample size can make any relief pitcher statistics less meaningful, Percival's age (39) makes it more likely that there's been a real change for the worse in his abilities. With pitchers like Grant Balfour and Dan Wheeler on the team, there's really no reason for the Rays' to take the chance of using Percival as their closer again.

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