More Thoughts on Joaquin Benoit

  • Joaquin Benoit's career FIP is 4.5 through 590 innings. That's not too impressive for a reliever, but therein lays the caveat. 55 of Benoit's 273 appearances were starts. Benoit failed about as poorly as someone with his stuff could fail as a starter and his career starting FIP is near 5.37. For comparison's sake, Jae Weong Seo's 2007 FIP was 6.07. Benoit's FIP as a reliever is close to 3.8, which is equal to Octavio Dotel's career mark, although he too spent time in the rotation at the beginning of his career.
  • Since becoming a permanent reliever, Benoit's contact rates were: 73.4%, 68.9%, and 72.9%. J.P. Howell's contact rates the last two years are 73.8% and 68.1%.  Benoit has some tremendous swing and miss ability. His fastball tops out around 94 nowadays, and his time as a starter arms him with two secondary offerings: a slider and change.
  • Again, his career splits are misleading. FanGraphs has his career FIP versus lefties at 4.53 and against righties at 4.35. Since becoming a reliever, Benoit has proven more effective versus lefties, which makes sense given his change-up, but still usable against righties. A lot of people are annoyed by the constant calls to the pen, but those concerns aren't as valid with Benoit. He can get batters of both hands out.
  • The ideal bullpen, which is heavily contingent on Benoit being healthy, looks something like this:

LR Cormier

MR Benoit

MR Choate

MR Wheeler

SU Balfour

SU Howell

CP Soriano

  • That looks solid on paper, but so did 2009's pen. Weird things are capable of happening in 40-50 inning stints. Heck, weird things are almost guaranteed to happen. The most you can ask for is a solid core and some depth, and the Rays seem to have both. When someone falters or goes down to injury, there's always someone like Winston Abreu, Dale Thayer, or Mike Ekstrom waiting. Even guys like Heath Phillips or Joe Bateman could be useful. Obviously those aren't sexy or well-known names, but then again, what reserve middle reliever is a sexy name?
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