Originally posted on PRO Rumors  |  Last updated 5/21/12
I have decided to break down Francisco Rodriguez's season for two reasons. Number one, because I'm a Venezuelan and a huge fan of Rodriguez, so I decided to take a closer look at his numbers to see what is going on with him. And number two, because I've heard people here in Venezuela say that Rodriguez is having a rough season because he's not the team's closer and that frustrates him, and I want to prove them wrong. Lets face it, Rodriguez is having a rough season because his abilities have declined, not because he's not closing games for the Brewers. That doesn't mean though, that he will never be the dominant pitcher he once was. He can overcome his problems and become an elite reliever once again. Now lets break down those numbers. One of the first things you notice with Rodriguez is how his velocity has dropped since his arrival to the Majors. In 2002, the average velocity of his fastball was 94.4 MPH. Now, his fastball sits at 91.2 MPH. His famous curveball has also dropped from 81.3 MPH to 76.4 MPH. Looking at the batted balls column we have that 18.9% of the balls hit off Rodriguez, in 2012, are line drives, 49.1% are ground balls and 32.1% are fly balls. His career averages are 17.8% (LD), 43.1% (GB) and 39.1 (FB). That tells us that he is close to his standards, although the 18.9% of line drives is his highest mark since 2008 (19.8%). The biggest problem Rodriguez is experiencing right now is in the SO/9, BB/9 and HR/9 columns. Rodriguez is a career 11.1 SO/9, but this season he has accumulated only 7.3 SO/9. His career BB/9 is 3.9, and this season he has 4.2 BB/9. And his career HR/9 is 0.7, but this season he has accumulated a 1.0 HR/9. So far, the SO/BB for this season is the lowest in his career (1.75), although he is projected to finish with a 2.48 SO/BB. That would be his worst mark since 2009 (1.92). Rodriguez is projected to finish the season with 9.09 SO/9, career worst, 3.99 BB/9, worst mark since 2009 (5.03) and 0.96 HR/9 his worst mark since 2003 (1.26). His BABIP is projected to finish at .310. That would be the second time in his career, without including his rookie season, that he finishes with a BABIP higher than .300 (.321 in 2011). And his WHIP, projected at 1.36 at the end of the season, would be his worst mark in his career. After taking a look at his numbers, we can conclude that his abilities are declining, and that he has to find his way back to the top. But I don't think this has anything to do with not being a closer. His velocity has dropped, he's having trouble striking out players and hitters are getting on-base more often against him. This has nothing to do with your role on the team, and I refuse to believe he's not pitching his heart out just because he's not comfortable with his role. Image by Keith Allison under the Creative Commons License Agreement.
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