Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Zumaya, Bonderman, Willis, Robertson, Galarraga And Their Chances of Returning to Form

There will be five pitchers on the comeback trail for the Tigers at spring training. All have had degrees of success in the past. Each is coming off seasons that indicate their future is less than promising because of injury, poor performance or both. This is how I see those pitchers and their chances of returning to form in 2010.

Joel Zumaya - Even as he struggled last season, Zumaya was lighting up the radar gun. Problem is, he fell behind in the count consistently and seemed to lose confidence, which had been his second greatest asset behind his rocket arm. It wouldn’t surprise me if he does come back and pitch well. His career is on the line. He is a little older and might be scared straight by some of his circumstances in the past. But even if Zumaya dominates early, can he be counted on for the long haul? That will be considered iffy for a long time because of his injury-plagued past.
Chance of having a comeback season: 40 percent

Jeremy Bonderman - The Tigers are paying Bonderman $12 million this season, and he will get first crack at pitching himself into the starting rotation. He seemed healthy last year, but the velocity on his fastball and the bite on his slider just weren’t there after he had shoulder surgery. I figure he is a longshot to return to form. Can’t see him as a finesse pitcher. Feel for pitching has exactly been a strength.
Chance of having a comeback season: 15 percent

Nate Robertson - There is a lot of bulldog in Robertson, but it’s difficult to pitch in the major leagues with a below average fastball and mediocre breaking pitches. He needs a little more zip on his fastball and bite on his slider. His margin for error wasn’t that big to begin with. The last couple seasons it was gone completely.
Chance of having a comeback season: 15 percent

Dontrelle Willis - Just a fact of baseball life: Pitchers don’t comeback from "The Thing." If Willis were to do so, it would be one of the great baseball stories of all time.
Chance of having a comeback season: 1 percent

Armando Galarraga - He is a taller pitcher and sometimes his mechanics get out of whack. Still think he can be a solid fifth starter.
Chance of having a comeback season: 50 percent

I am defining a comeback season as returning to a reasonable facsimile of the form they displayed when they were at their best in the past.



Blogger Barry said...

Pat, Nate is done unless he changes his pitching style. Too bad he could not be a KRogers clone. Bonderman needs to throw hard or he’s done.

2:20 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Other than I think you're giving Zumaya a better chance for success than I give him ... I think you're right on.

Everyone wants Zoom-by-ya back to his voo-doo-child old self - that glimpse of greatness we saw in 2006 - but I think his boat has sailed.

Mind you I sure hope I'm wrong. But when he does pitch I hope they keep turning off the radar gun display.

And take away his video games.

6:33 PM 
Anonymous Jeff H said...

Pat - Unfortunately (for the Tigers' chances) I believe you are correct on Bonderman. If you are right, they better start now with stretching out Coke for a starter spot. If Bonderman doesn't make it as a starter, do they send him to AAA to start the season?

8:36 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bonderman is finished ... might as well pay him his money and be done with it and plan for a pitching draft.

He can barely pitch in Triple A now with his stuff.

8:59 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Nate is not the same caliber athlete Kenny Rogers was, so he doesn't have that extraordinary feel for pitching. Won't make it strictly as a soft tosser, in my opinion.

5:09 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
I don't know about Zumaya. Has off the charts ability. That's why I put his odds better.

5:09 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Jeff H,
I think they will concentrate on stretching out Coke this spring. At least, that's what I've heard.

5:10 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Unfortunately, I think you might be right. I hope, though, we're both wrong. Bonderman had great stuff and enjoyed watching him pitch from that standpoint.

5:12 PM 

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