2012 Prediction Series: Joaquin Benoit

When he initially signed with Detroit in the winter of 2010, the consensus was that the Tigers and Dave Dombrowski were a bit money crazy to invest so much money (3yrs, $15m) in a non-closer/non-starter. Turns out, his 2011 was actually worth the first year of investment. With a bWAR of 1.5 and a fWAR of 1.3 his value to the Tigers was roughly $6m, which is about a million higher than his AAV for the contract.

After eight years struggling with the Texas Rangers, Benoit had surgery on his right rotator cuff that made him miss the entire 2009 season. In 2010 he made the Tampa Bay Rays team as a non roster invitee and had a fantastic season, which in turn, became the basis of the three year contract with Detroit.

Benoit had a solid 2005 as he converted from a failed starter to a reliever, and he had a good 2007 in which he pitched 70 games and had a FIP of 3.17. That was the last year he was healthy, as 2008 was a struggle which eventually lead to the surgery.

Benoit has excellent peripheral stats over the last two years: He has appeared in 63 and 66 games, thrown 60.1 and 61 innings, had an insane 11.9 K/9 in 2010 and dropped in 2011, but it was still a respectable 9.3. is BABIP against in ‘10 was .192, which came back to reality in ‘11 with a .273 but he was still extremely effective as his FIP which was 2.43 in ’10 and 2,96 in ‘11.

The only concern with Benoit is his health. He has shown that he can remain on the field over the past two years, so the concern is starting to go away. Still, any 34 year old reliever is met with worry, and that’s where the Tigers stand.

What he will do

With Valverde closing games out, Benoit will remain the primary setup man, a role he has held for the last two years. If Valverde were to go down, Benoit would move into that role, just as Octavio Dotel would slide into the primary setup role if that happened or if Benoit were to get injured. This was something that Detroit did not have last year: depth in their relief corps. It was exposed in the playoffs last year.

Given that, Benoit should be fairly effective once again.

Walkoff Woodward Bubblegum Card Prediction:

G

GS

IP

H

HR

65

0

67

53

6

HLD

BB

SO

WHIP

ERA

28

23

72

1.18

3.04

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