Thursday, June 01, 2006

How are they doing so far?

We saw how effective Liriano and Nathan were Wednesday night against the Angels, but now let's take a look at how Liriano, Nathan, and Bonser are doing so far this year.

Joe Nathan - The always reliable closer has been fantastic so far this year, even if he hasn't gotten all that many chances to show it. In 18 innings of work, he's given up only 4 runs, good for a 2.00 ERA. But that doesn't do justice to how good he's been. He has racked up 26 strikeouts this year with only 2 BB. His WHIP sits at 0.67 right now, and teams are batting only .191 with a .262 SLG against him. Not too shabby. In spite of all this, he's only got 6 saves, but that's the fault of the starting pitching, which has been pretty awful. Hopefully that will change with the youth movement in the rotation (AKA the next 2 guys).

Francisco Liriano - Liriano started the year in the bullpen, but he was moved to the rotation after Carlos Silva could not get his sinker down. But wherever he's pitched from this year, Liriano has been special, and he's only 22. In 15 appearances (3 starts), he sports a sparkling 2.11 ERA to go with a 1.20 WHIP and .241 BAA. Despite some control problems, he's still got a nearly 4:1 K:BB ratio, thanks to his 47 strikeouts in 38.1 innings. Another amazing stat - in his 3 starts, he's pitched 16 innings, and he's given up 7 hits and 1 run in those 16 innings. I'll take that anyday.

Boof Bonser - Boof Bonser was the most highly regarded prospect that the Twins got in the deal, but he's been overshadowed by Liriano. Nonetheless, he still projects to be a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter, and he has shown that through 2 starts. In the 2 starts, he's got 1 win, and has pitched 11 innings with a 4.09 ERA. He has given up 13 hits and walked 4 in those 11 innings. However, the most encouraging sign would be that he has shown the ability to get out of tough spots, which he has to do time and time again, in part because he has been able to strike guys out. He already has 13 strikeouts in his 11 innings. In 799 career minor league innings, Bonser had struck people out at a rate of 9.38 per 9 innings. Very encouraging.