Saturday, May 10, 2008

Bondo's peripherals going south

Watching Jeremy Bonderman, from 2004 through the first half of 2007, you got the feeling that, while maddeningly inconsistent, he was very close to developing into a top pitcher. He had two good fastballs (four seamer and two seamer) and one of the best sliders in the game. His fielding independent statistics were excellent - high strikeouts, low walks and lots of ground balls with relatively few homers allowed. For someone reason, Jeremy's ERAs never matched his other stats but there was reason for optimism for the still young pitcher.

Then in the middle of last season starting somewhere around that ten run meltdown versus the Angels on July 29, he lost his control and his pitches didn't seem to be as sharp as in the past. It grew into more than just a slump. It was a miserable second half that ended when he revealed that he had been hiding an injury to his elbow for several weeks. The table below shows that his peripherals went down hill drastically in the second half starting with the Angels game. His strikeouts per game dropped from 8.1 to 6.0, his walk rate rose from 1.8 to 4.2 and his home run rate climbed from 1.1 to 1.5.

It was actually a relief to find out that he was injured and that it was apparently not a serious one as it gave us some confidence that he would be able able to rebound this year. Instead, the table reveals that his strikeout rate (5.0) and walk rate (5.8) are even worse this year than they were in the second half of last season. He has gone from a pitcher with one of the best K/BB ratios in the league to one who walks more than he strikes out. I can't say whether he still has a health problem and I don't know a lot about pitching mechanics but the trend is troubling.

Table: Bonderman's stats: 2004-2008

Year

IP

K/9 IP

BB/9 IP

HR/ 9 IP

ERA

2004

184

8.2

3.6

1.2

4.89

2005

189

6.9

2.7

1.0

4.57

2006

214

8.5

2.7

0.8

4.08

2007 (through July 24)

127

8.1

1.8

1.1

3.69

2007 (July 25 - end)

48

6.0

4.2

1.5

8.50

2008

45

5.0

5.8

1.4

4.80

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