Saturday, June 12, 2004

Affeldt has finally caught up with himself. He blew the lead today and was hit hard three times in three ABs at last count.

While there's no question that he's pitched better in relief than as a starter, he still hasn't pitched that well. He basically stuink as a starter, so even a mediocre performance as a reliever would like good in comparison.

Every time I've seen Affeldt pitch, I don't feel the lead is safe. He has poor control from pitch to pitch and he gets hit hard too often. His statistics as a reliever mask the fact that he's been lucky - lots of hard hit balls have been hit right at his fielders, and he's gotten out of many walk-induced jams with timely pitches. These things always even out in time, and if he keeps walking batters and getting hit hard, he's going to go through a long stretch of blown saves and won't remain the Royals closer for very long.

Unfortunately, he reminds me of Billy Koch - very talented, explosive velocity, little control. He's still young, unlike Koch, so he will have the opportunity to improve his control. But I have to say that I've watched him pitch for a year and a half now, and he really hasn't shown me that much. It can take three years for a pitcher to mature, so I'm not ready to pass judgment. But he's not most definitely not a phenom.


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