Wild Card: Chad Orvella

So I was skimming over the 40-man roster and realized that nobody had mentioned Orvella's name in a while, even though he spent all season along the dugout railing. I think it's obvious why: he was pitiful in 2007, but heading forward I'm actually curious if he can become a good middle reliever.


In 2005 Orvella registered 10.9% of his strikes swinging, unfortunately that number dropped to 8.3% and 8.8% in subsequent. Despite the drop, Orvella was still hovering around average. He's shown the tendency to get groundballs as well as walk the world, which is really troubling. The bright spot would be in 2007 Orvella allowed 15.4% liners, but had a .417 BABIP, in 2006 20% liners, .357 BABIP, in 2005 18.3% liners, .289 BABIP. With a 4.11 tRA through 50 innings in 2005, it's safe to say that was Orvella's best season.

The remaining concern is Orvella's high walk rates during his 2006 and 2007 stints where he would walk 7.40 and 11.25 per nine. Unfortunately, Orvella would also give up multiple homeruns per nine during those two seasons, simply compounding his control issues. I would suspect the homerun rates were more of a symptom of the wildness rather than the disease; Orvella would throw a gopher ball rather than get behind in a count or walk someone.

Without knowing either way, I don't think the Rays should jettison Orvella this off-season. It appears that the bullpen will have more candidates than positions, but that's hardly a bad thing. Frankly I've even changed my position on Dale Thayer, not only does he get swinging strikes, he gets them 11.5% of the time and held a 3.03 tRA.tRA.

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