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Kyles: Parra and Balfour (paraphrasing): Ready Now


Haudricourt quotes Nashville pitching coach Stan Kyles:

 

"Parra and Balfour are both capable of coming up and doing quality work". Parra is "sitting about 93, 94...I wouldn't be surprised if the major league club sees him sometime soon."

 

On Balfour: "He's throwing the ball 94 to 96mph...firm...his fastball jumps at the end...he's definitely not a AAA pitcher...he's a major league pitcher."

 

These two can't get there soon enough for me.

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If not called up, they're at least trade bait. I wonder if Parra could get us a spark for the stretch run

 

to be honest, These two could be like the Angels calling up K-Rod. Both know how to finish batters, something Capellan has never done (thank goodness he's gone), and Spurling struggles with.

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How's Balfour's control this year?

 

Here is another paragraph from the story:

 

In 22 relief outings, Balfour, 29, is 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA and five saves, with 15 hits and eight walks allowed in 30 innings and an impressive 46 strikeouts.

 

It looks like he has had pretty good control, with a 8/46 BB/K ratio in 30 IP.

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In 22 relief outings, Balfour, 29, is 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA and five saves, with 15 hits and eight walks allowed in 30 innings and an impressive 46 strikeouts.

 

Sorry, I wasn't clear. I know he hasn't been walking many guys, but part of that could be because AAA guys just can't identify his pitches. He's had good control in the minors in the past, but it evaporated when he got to MLB. The last time he was in AAA he walked 16 guys in 71 innings. He then proceeded to walk 35 guys in 65 ML innings over the next two seasons.

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I don't see them getting traded, as our biggest need is in the bullpen:

 

-Cordero is very likely not going to be signed this offseason, so he'll test the free agent market, netting us some draft picks that won't help us at the Major League level for several seasons.

 

-Spurling is teetering on being replaced this season. He's making $975k, and will be a free agent at season's end, so I'd have to believe he won't be back next year.

 

-Shouse has a year of arby left, but he will be 39 (I believe) and may not be re-upped if we have younger, cheaper, better options. He's making $1MM this season, so he'd probably make more next year. I'd rather see Parra at league minimum.

 

-Dessens likely won't see another game in a Brewers uniform, and even if he's not let go this season, he's gone next year.

 

-Carlos V. and Yo Gallardo should not be in the bullpen next season, which means that either Bush and Vargas are getting demoted to the pen or there will be some trades.

 

-Finally, there will be some injuries in the second half of the season where we will need them.

 

Therefore, I see them coming up this season to cover injuries and possibly to replace Spurling. Next season and beyond, they will play vital roles in the bullpen for a low cost, allowing us to retain some players at other positions.

"The most successful (people) know that performance over the long haul is what counts. If you can seize the day, great. But never forget that there are days yet to come."

 

~Bill Walsh

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If not called up, they're at least trade bait. I wonder if Parra could get us a spark for the stretch run...

 

I wouldn't part with either one for half a season of a marginally better LF (or whatever). Doesn't seem worth it, over the long haul.

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JoeHova,

 

I think you have to trust Kyles' judgement here. Kyles may be the best pitching coach in the entire organization (Maddux included) if you ask me. If he were wild and just getting guys out just because they are impatient minor leaguers, would he have declared that Balfour was a "major league pitcher."?

 

Heck a lot of major league hitters when overmatched swing at pitches out of the zone too.

 

Still though his major league walk rate 5.03 BB/9 innings is actually better than Turnbow's 5.15 BB/9 innings and less than one walk per 9 innings worse than Cordero's 4.25BB/9 innings. Power relievers are always going to walk a few.

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After reading the article the only thing that makes me nervous about Balfour is he pitches up in the zone. I am not nearly smart enough to know how that translates from minor leaguers to major leagues but it could mean a few more longballs than desired.
There needs to be a King Thames version of the bible.
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If he were wild and just getting guys out just because they are impatient minor leaguers, would he have declared that Balfour was a "major league pitcher."?

 

Maybe not. Also, I'm not saying I think Balfour will be bad or anything, just that he possibly won't be nearly as dominant as he has been in AAA.

 

Quote:
Still though his major league walk rate 5.03 BB/9 innings is actually better than Turnbow's 5.15 BB/9 innings and less than one walk per 9 innings worse than Cordero's 4.25BB/9 innings. Power relievers are always going to walk a few.

 

Perhaps. However, I'm just curious what such a large leap in walk rate means. The difference between Cordero's minor and major league numbers is not nearly so dramatic. Turnbow's is almost as large as Balfour's but even his is not quite as extreme and he walked a lot of guys in AAA.

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An honest question, what's the explanation for Dessens, Spurling, Aquino, and Cappellan all getting shots in our pen before Balfour? He look bad in spring training? Coming off an injury year? Our coaches needed more time to "see what he's got"?

 

I know nothing's guaranteed, but if Balfour steps up as a big help to our bullpen, and if it's true that there's been reason to believe that all along, I'm going to be kindof upset that we've been running Dessens, Spurling, and Cappy2 out there this year, instead.

"We all know he is going to be a flaming pile of Suppan by that time." -fondybrewfan
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I think a couple surgeries and years from having pitched is probably the answer. He needed to get back to pitching, gain some strength and log some innings to show he could actually pitch agian before they would trust him on the major league roster. Especially if he showed promise but wasn't quite ready yet. He would have had to be put on the 40 man and go through waivers if he wasn't quite ready and had to be sent down for a while. This way they have his rights without juggling the roster and is more of a proven comodity when they do bring him up.
There needs to be a King Thames version of the bible.
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I am wondering the same things as JoeHova is about Balfour. He didn't get the nickname "Ball-four" when he was in the Twins organization for nothing. It seems odd that a pitcher would improve their control so dramatically and so soon after returning from a serious injury. That said, I'd call him up just because he throws hard and can get K's.
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"I'm just curious what a large leap in walk rate means".

 

Probably nerves Joe. He's 3 years older now, been through surgery and likely not nearly as easily rattled. Besides, before he pitched in the AL Central. A lot of heavy hitters over there in 03 and 04.

 

"that he possibly won't be nearly as dominant as he has been in AAA".

 

Well if he was, he'd be All Star caliber. Nobody is saying that but this is a guy who fanned a hitter an inning in previous major league stint. Plus he's putting up AAA numbers that are better than he did prior to his first major league stint. So it stands to reason he's progressed as a pitcher and he should be able to improve up his prior major league numbers which I would add weren't terrible by any means. The question is whether he's better than Spurling, and I think he is and if he's exhibits control, with the stuff he's reputed to have, well then he becomes a longshot closer candidate for 08 if Cordero walks. You can't say that about Mr. Spurling.

 

What would I expect from him realistically in say 30 major league innings (the same as he has in AAA so far)?

 

Maybe 22 hits (vs. 15 in AAA), 12 BB (vs. 8) , 36 K (vs. 46). That would be a 1.13 WHIP vs. Spurling's 1.52 WHIP. Plus he has strikeout ability, so he can strand runners on third a lot more easily than Spurling.

 

The "ball four" nickname is ludicrous. Of course a guy named Balfour will be called that every time he walks a guy. If his name was Smith, nobody would pay much attention to his slightly high walk rate in a rather small sample.

 

To wit: Balfour in his major league career has faced 13 batters with the bases loaded. He's never walked in a run while fanning 5 of those 13 batters. Spurling has already walked in the winning run in a game this season. Further, in his 68 major league innings, he's uncorked just 3 wild pitches. Turnbow already has 5 this year in 38 innings. Spurling has 4.

 

 

(fixed accidentally posted emoticon --1992casey)

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In response to Cordero probably not coming back next year, I'd disagree. I've heard him say that here in Milwaukee the Crew are poised to not just maybe win this year, but win for a number of years. And not just win, but win World Series. I know players more often than not try to see what they can get, but with that in mind I'd still say the odds are on him coming back.
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He had more than a slightly high walk rate. He was walking a little over 5/9 IP in MLB, and had a pretty high walk rate in the minors, other than in '03, that translated to the high walk rate once he got the majors.

 

Like I said, I don't care because he gets K's.

 

He's got pretty similar numbers to another scrap heap guy the Brewers picked up.

 

Turnbow's minor league BB/9: 3.80

Balfour's minor league BB/9: 3.35

Turnbow's MLB BB/9: 5.15

Balfour's MLB BB/9: 5.03

 

I know players more often than not try to see what they can get, but with that in mind I'd still say the odds are on him coming back.

 

He may think that, but Melvin's not going to give out a huge contract to a 32 year old reliever.

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Guys that strikeout a high percentage of hitters are generally going to walk more than guys that don't strikeout guys for the simple reason is that hitters have a hard time putting balls in play off them and hence get deeper into counts.

 

To be wringing our hands over Balfour's walk rate misses the point. The guy has been lights out for more than a month, fanning at least 2 hitters in 10 of his last 12 innings.

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to be honest, These two could be like the Angels calling up K-Rod. Both know how to finish batters, something Capellan has never done (thank goodness he's gone), and Spurling struggles with.

 

I think that's a problem the entire staff other than Tbow and Coco have. Sheets and Yo stand out to me as guys that get a lot of 0-2 and 1-2 counts only to have them end up full.

 

Consider me firmly in the camp that Balfour, Thatcher, and Parra could be very beneficial down the stretch or in the future. Without going into the detail I have in the past I'd take:

 

Balfour over Wise

Parra over Spurling (if it works out, he takes a long time to warm up)

Thatcher over Shouse

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

- Plato

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."

- Plato

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Sorry, I wasn't clear. I know he hasn't been walking many guys, but part of that could be because AAA guys just can't identify his pitches. He's had good control in the minors in the past, but it evaporated when he got to MLB. The last time he was in AAA he walked 16 guys in 71 innings. He then proceeded to walk 35 guys in 65 ML innings over the next two seasons.

 

That's not entirely true, he was becoming a pretty valuable pticher before the injury onslaught. I did my research on him back in May when I first started pimping for him on the minor league forum. While his numbers weren't earth shattering there was quite a bit of positive press about him.

 

I would think that after all he's gone through, he's learned to be a better pitcher, to pitch smarter. The guy has incredible fortitude to come back from 2 separate and career threatening injuries. I'm not willing to write him off based on 65 innings in 2003 and 2004.

 

Obviously I'm biased. Maybe I just love a comeback story.

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

- Plato

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."

- Plato

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Balfour over Wise

 

I agree with your other two, but not this one. Wise is working on his third year in a row of being at worst a good bullpen arm, and at best ('05 and '07, so far) an excellent one. I think there's only two spots - Spurling and Shouse - that could change hands (unless Gallardo were to go back down or in the event of an injury) and that they should go to Balfour and Parra. I like Thatcher, but I think he's third in line because he seems to be a LOOGY whereas Parra can work a whole inning, and when needed could work 2+.

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Well, Thatcher regularly would pitch a full inning or 2 before AAA, so I hope you're not basing your opinion on what he's done in Nashville which is loaded with backend bullpen arms.

 

In my mind Wise would have to take the ball 2 days in a row and pitch well to be excellent. It's certainly possible I'm way off base, it's just early on he never pitched well back to back days, and without looking it up I'm unable to recall the last time he actually did pitch 2 days in a row. I find his lack of durability (for lack of a better term) to be very limiting during a 162 game season. Ironically I think he's perfect for the post season roster with the off days in the playoffs.

 

Of the 3 on the roster, I definately agree with you that Wise should go last, if he goes at all. He's been fairly successful, but he's been handled very favorably by the coaching staff in my opinion. He's never going to take the ball 3 days in a row.

 

In regards to the minor league arms, I'm not sure Parra fits the reliever mold, and from the sounds of it neither does the organization. Apparently it takes him quite a bit of time to warm up. Though it would probably help Yost's bullpen management to have to think ahead more. Let's just say I'm all for Balfour, and intrigued by Parra and Thatcher at this point.

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

- Plato

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."

- Plato

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