Anyone who follows this team at all closely, or even glances at the rotation can tell you that the back end of our rotation sucks. Aaron Harang and Jeremy Bonderman are not MLB level starters. There is no way you could ever convince me otherwise. So I’m going to go over the potential replacements and the reasons why Harang and Bonderman could be replaced and may not be. Here is a hint: it’s not pretty. In Part 1 I covered Harang, Erasmo Ramirez, Hector Noesi and James Paxton. This is Part 2 and discusses Jeremy Bonderman, Blake Beavan and Brandon Maurer.
I’m 99% sure he doesn’t have an awful nickname yet, which is the best thing going for Bonderman right now. Like Harang, Bonderman has made some good starts. And honestly, he has done a decent job. He shut down a strong Yankees team in Safeco, beat the Astros and did a fine job against the Angels. The Twins also destroyed him, but I am feeling guilty because I may have already assumed he was pitching awfully for us. Bonderman has actually been perfectly fine as a back of the rotation guy, and as long as he keeps his ERA well below the Harang-line (5.00 ERA, I’m making it a thing) he can stay. He also will probably stay over Harang as well because Harang is cheaper and easier to cut.
Something that is concerning about Bonderman but has yet to rear its ugly head is his K/9. For those who don’t understand FIP (Fielding-Independent Pitching), the core idea is that once a ball is hit in fair territory the pitcher cannot control where it goes. All pitchers can control are K’s, BB’s (And HBP’s) and HR’s. So good pitchers will have lots of K’s and few BB’s and HR’s. Bonderman’s K/9 is 2.92. That is abysmally low. Like that would be low on the Minnesota Twins. This implies that Bonderman hasn’t been as good as he has shown and has stayed out of trouble by luck. Bonderman should be pitching much worse than he is and regression is on its way. Hopefully its a far off problem, but Bonderman is not as good as his 3.28 ERA. Anyway lets please stay away from the nicknames in case Bonderman remembers his last season in Detroit where he was easily above the Harang-line (Totally a thing right?) He can stay for a while.
Does anybody remember New Blake Beavan? The guy who went and worked with the University of Texas pitching coach and hoped to come into Spring Training and earn a spot in the rotation. Yeah well, that didn’t go great. Blake Beavan really doesn’t have a future in the rotation but seems to be reinventing himself as a reliever. He has been slightly better than awful in long relief, a role he seems suited to. Something else that’s interesting about Beavan: since he moved to the bullpen, he has thrown way more sliders than before. Whether that is a causation of his dominance or is just a weird thing because he’s not a starter anymore has yet to be determined. But that is definitely something to monitor. I don’t see Beavan making the rotation again, but he is an interesting long reliever.
I hate Spring Training stats. They look so easy to project into an actual MLB season, but in all reality, they are awful. Maurer may have already lost his first chance at the MLB roster after he struggled to get LHB’s out in April. Hopefully he is ironing out that issue by working on his change up more. He has made three starts in Tacoma and has an ERA of 1.53. I don’t know how long he can keep that up and have the team ignore him. If he doesn’t get a call up, he should definitely be in the mix for a rotation spot next year. He was pulled from his start this morning after an inning with an ailing back, hopefully this is not a long term issue and he can make his next start.