Originally written on Monkey with a Halo  |  Last updated 2/2/12

Hisanori Takahashi will forever go down in history as being Tony Reagins supposed "big splash" in the 2011 off-season, but he did have some usefulness despite his association with those unfortunate comments.  While Takahashi was more good than bad in 2011, he'll have to do better in 2012 to justify the Angels' investment in him.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to the early start, not all stat projection systems are available yet, but I will update the player preview pages after the fact once they do become available)

2011 Stats: 4-3, 68.0 IP, 3.44 ERA, 58 H, 25 BB, 7 HR, 52 K, 2 SV

2012 ZiPS Projections: 4-3, 75.2 IP, 3.57 ERA, 69 H, 26 BB, 8 HR, 73 K

2012 Bill James Projections: 4-3, 68.0 IP, 3.44 ERA, 62 H, 25 BB, 7 HR, 58 K, 0 SV

2012 CAIRO Projections: 5-5, 88.0 IP, 4.06 ERA, 85 H, 31 BB, 9 HR, 71 K, 6 SV

2012 MWaH Projections*: 2-4, 62.0 IP, 4.08 ERA, 57 H, 22 BB, 7 HR, 46 K, 0 SV

*The MWaH projections are simply my best guess based off my own personal opinion and research

2011 in Review: The Angels made a point last off-season of finally arming their bullpen with some left-handed arms, signing both Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi.  The idea was that Downs could be a setup man while Takahashi could be the middle inning left-hand specialist and maybe a bit more.  Heck, when Taka was picked up, there was even talk that he could move into the rotation or possibly even win the closer's job.  At worst, the Angels knew they were getting a guy who would be death on left-handed hitters.

Or not.  What the Halos thought they were getting was a guy who limited left-handers to a .554 OPS in 2010 (with righties hitting .768).  But in 2011, his platoon reversed.  It was lefties touching up Taka for a .733 OPS, including four home runs, while righties hit just .599 against him.  That unexpected ability to hold down right-handers that allowed Takahashi to finish the season with what ended up being pretty decent overall numbers.  Alas, there probably isn't a single Angel fan that trusts him.

Hisanori didn't walk many batters or allow a lot of hits, so he really should have been more reliable, but his problems with the gopher ball proved to be his undoing.  For reliever, seven home runs in just under seventy innings is too much, especially with four of those homers coming against the left-handed batters he was supposed to be so deadly against.  On the bright side, he did earn himself some additional value by being effective against right-handers, meaning that instead of being a LOOGY, he actually ended up being Mike Scioscia's long man out of the pen.

Three Lingering Questions for 2012:

  1. Can Takahashi reverse his fortunes against left-handers?  With his delivery and repertoire, Taka should be more effective against lefties, and he has been in the past.  But his effective change-up could also allow him to hold his own against righties again.  Is it possible that he could keep getting righties out while returning to his lefty-killing ways?  Or will both righties and lefties hit him hard?
  2. What will Hisanori's role in the bullpen be?  Considering that the Angels were rumored to be looking to add a third lefty to the pen this off-season, it is reasonable to assume that maybe management doesn't trust him against lefties anymore.  Factor in the emergence of Bobby Cassevah, the addition of LaTroy Hawkins and maybe another free agent, how far down the bullpen depth chart might Taka fall?
  3. Is there anything Takahashi can do about his home run problem?  No, there isn't.  He even had the same problem in Japan.  I just couldn't think of an interesting third question.  Middle relievers are boring.

What to Expect in 2012: As a quick preface to the projection discussion, keep in mind that Hisanori's projections are kind of messed up because he has only been in the league two seasons and he spent the first one as a part-time member of the rotation, which is why his innings projections are so high.  For me, I'm assuming he'll pitch in relief all season, though I kind of wonder if maybe he isn't better suited for the rotation.

As my projection suggests, I don't have high hopes for Takahashi.  While I do think that he'll be able to at least partially reverse his fortunes against lefties, I think that his success against righties is going to prove to be quite the fluke.  The reason for that is that his BABIP against righties was an unsustainable .234.  I'm also concerned that Scioscia has lost faith in Taka.  By the end of the season, Scioscia had limited his LOOGY-type appearances in favor of pitching Takahashi for multiple innings.  To some that might suggest Taka "earned" the right to face more righties, but it also means that Scioscia had no problem burning Hisanori in the early innings.  Basically, Takahashi was something of a glorified longman and that won't bode well for him getting used in high leverage situations now that the Halos have a deeper pen.

[follow]

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

David Ortiz vehemently denies that his bat speed is declining

Report: Spurs sign Danny Green to deal, trade Tiago Splitter

Matt Duffy is baseball’s biggest surprise

Jim Harbaugh joins Colin Cowherd for awkward interview

Report: Butler leaning toward long-term deal with Bulls

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Nick Foles ready to lead dynamic Rams offense

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Ex-player Bobby Bonilla gets $1.2M annual payday from Mets

Kings reportedly have 'strong interest' in Rajon Rondo

Report: Country club might be too exclusive for Brady, Gisele

Reports: Jerry DiPoto likely out as Angels GM

DeSean Jackson rips Eagles in new reality TV show

Deciding what the All-Star Game really means

Being a Dallas Cowboys fan could cost Chris Christie votes

Winning and losing the strike zone game: Midseason update

Baltimore Orioles keep finding a way to win

Aldridge recruited to Lakers by Adam Levine, Snoop Dogg

Report: Pelicans sign Davis to five-year, $145M extension

Rex Ryan more excited about Taylor than Cassel?

Jose Aldo out of UFC 189, replaced by Chad Mendes

Landon Donovan takes shot at Jurgen Klinsmann

Hope Solo admits to using stalling tactics on penalty kick

Scottie Pippen: ‘I was LeBron James before LeBron James’

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Selecting the 2015 AL All-Stars

NBA Draft grades: Eastern Conference

Under the radar NBA free agents

Michael Sam, boyfriend broke up?

Mickelson linked to money laundering?

Reminiscing on 'Love & Basketball' 15 years later

Selecting the 2015 NL All-Stars

The Sixers' latest horde

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.