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The Underrated Reliever

    Just how valuable is Shawn Camp to this bullpen? It's suffice to say he's been the best reliever the Rays have had this season. If nothing else Camp has became the first pitcher out of the gates when Joe Maddon and the team need a ground ball out.
    Overlooking the fact that his 4.30 ERA is fourth on the team overall, and second for relievers (only Brian Meadows is lower, and he's pitched 6 less innings) you also look at Camp's record 4 wins, 0 losses, 4 saves. To myself that means that Camp is a very versatile pitcher, one who can either pitch the 9th if needed, or go out there and take over in a tied game and not give up eventual winning run.
    Camp's true bread and butter has been his strikeout rates and his ground ball dominance. A 5.68 K/9 ratio is higher than that of Casey Fossum. His GB/FB ratio of 2.49 is a career best and ranks 6th overall in the MLB (behind ground ball behemoths such as Webb, Wang, and Lowe). He's only throwing 14.5 pitches per inning, meaning most of Camp's outings have been just higher than what would be considered a very good P/IP rate of 10.
    Pre- All Star break Camp had an ERA of 4.99, since in the 12 innings of relief work he's allowed 3 earned runs (1 unearned run) and has struck out 10, walking none, resulting in a 1.12 ERA. If you try and project Camp's stats to about 3 times the innings (he worked 39 pre ASB) for those 12 innings he would still come out with a lower amount of runs scored, (about 12-15 compared to 23) than that of his pre ASB totals.
    He has also been for the most part, been knittable against the Yanks and O`s. Only Alex Rodriguez (4 AB, 3 H) has had great success against him, meanwhile Hidekli Matsui is 1-7 against the Ant Killer (a term I use for a groundball, and now will call the Rays master of ground balls). As for the O's, Miguel Tejada (3-5) and Brian Roberts (2-4) have been the most successful, however Melvin Mora and Kevin Millar are only 1-6 and 1-5 respectively.
    Now I'm not saying Camp, 30, has a future with the Rays, next year's bullpen will be a tough one to crack for almost any of the current pen arms. I am however saying it may be a wise move for Maddon to continue using him as the 7th inning guy and eventually once McClung takes over in the 9th, and before Orvella and Salas get chances at the set up man job it could pay off if we saw the Camp in the role.