A Brief History of All Things Farquhar
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Its understandable to want to give Farquhar a real chance at being the M’s closer next season. He certainly earned the opportunity to be considered. A brief look at his 2013 line really lays out just how much of a resurgence he had once the Mariners slid him into the closer slot in August 2013.
Farquhar was significantly better once he was moved into the closer role. He settled in and embraced the new role. What happened in that time?
For one, Farquhar started throwing significantly more pitches in the strike zone. As a closer, Farquhar threw 39.89% of pitches in the strike zone, up from 35.86% during the previous months. While upping his strike count, Farquhar was able to drop his ERA and opp OBP significantly.
There’s more to it than that though, a quick glance at the heat charts from those same time periods shows that his command actually improved even more than balls vs. strikes.
Farquhar obviously has a tendency to throw down and away, especially towards right-handed batters. But one big change between these two time periods is that Farquhar began to throw significantly more pitches in the bottom of the strike zone. Coincidentally, Farquhar’s wiff rate in the bottom half of the zone also jumped after being moved to the closing role.
These low-strike numbers are also impacted by Farquhar’s adoption of the curveball as a put away pitch. A pitch that Jeff Sullivan called the league’s most unhittable pitch.
All of this to show something that we already knew, keeping pitches low in the strike zone is a major key to success. It’s something that Farquhar was able to do over the second half of 2013, and it’s something that contributed greatly to his success.
This winter the Mariners have asked Farquhar not to play in the Venezualen winter league. They determined his workload in 2013 was too high, and want him to spend a winter recovering to prepare for 2014.
It’s understandable to make an argument for giving Farquhar another shot as closer in 2014, he has certainly shown he has the stuff to do it. I wouldn’t go as far to say that he’s earned it, but he’s done everything short of being the guy in 2014. Now that the M’s have signed Cano, and there appears to be another deal or two on the way, there’s some doubt in how the Mariners are going to rebuild, will they throw Farquhar into the fire and let him develop over the next few seasons, or will they seek a proven closer and try to make a serious run in the next few years?