Originally posted 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

DeMar DeRozan: It will be ‘pretty tough’ for me to leave Raptors

Super Bowl referee says Cotchery play could have been a catch

The NBA is one step closer to putting ads on jerseys

Archie Manning defends Cam Newton over press conference

Dwight Howard: ‘I have not asked the Rockets to trade me’

Nazem Kadri fined $5,000 for throat-slashing gesture

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Hassan Whiteside suspended one game for elbowing Boban Marjanovic

Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has torn labrum

Report: Antonio Tarver suspended six months, fined $50,000 for positive test

Texans owner wants team to draft a top quarterback

Subban undergoes larynx surgery, out at least eight weeks

Report: Raiders staying in Oakland for 2016 season

Chris Harris: Von Miller should get paid more than JJ Watt

4 likeliest Dwight Howard trade scenarios

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Penn State the latest to offer generic football jerseys for sale

Gary Bettman praises the NHL’s new website and app (which are currently awful)

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

NBA to weigh adding advertisements to jerseys

ESPN, Stephen A. Smith and Little League International sued by parents of Jackie Robinson West

Kobe Bryant shoots down notion he wants All-Star MVP record

Justin Tuck will sign one-day contract to retire with Giants

Ronda Rousey returns to training

Von Miller likely to get franchise tag from Broncos

Barry J. Sanders transferring to Oklahoma State

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

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker