Friday, July 30, 2010

Heeeeere's Jonny!

Major League Baseball came to its senses today and rescinded the entire 4-game suspension Jonny Venters had been given following the two-week-old Fielder-gate incident. Venter’s fine was also reduced. I’m a bit puzzled why MLB would erase the entire suspension but then still leave some of the fine. Can’t win ‘em all, I guess.

In addition to Jonny and Bobby Cox’s steadfast denial that the HBP was unintentional, let’s take a look at the numbers that the Braves might have used to plead Venters’ case. First, Prince Fielder has already been hit 17 times this season, including twice within only a week following Venters’ bean ball. Only Prince’s teammate Rickie Weeks (19) has been hit more in all of baseball. At nearly 300lb, Fielder is probably the largest batter’s box target in game. He stands close to the plate and his approach often leads him to ‘fall’ into the pitch as it’s sailing towards him. Venters also isn’t exactly immune to hitting batters this season. In his 44 appearances (50.1 IP) this season, he’s already hit 4 batters and walked 23. Those numbers don’t scream control.

The timing of this decision could not have been better as the reeling Braves head to the launching pad that is The Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. The rookie Venters has quietly (to non-Braves fans, anyway) become a critical part of this team. He began to show dominance left-handed specialist and has since been increasingly used in an 8th inning set-up role. The reasons are obvious..Venters has been flat out GOOD.

Jonny Venters likely won't pick up a single Rookie of the Year vote at the end of the season. He’s not an everyday position player, he’s not a starting pitcher and he’s not even a closer (though he does have 1 save to lead all NL rookies). But he’s been an impressive pitcher out of the pen and his numbers stack up against the league’s rookies pretty well. He leads in ERA (1.07), games (44) and is eighth in strikeouts (51).

Venters’ numbers (through July 29, 2010):

  • G – 44
  • IP – 50.1
  • ERA – 1.07
  • WHIP – 1.03
  • K – 51
  • K/9IP – 9.12
  • BB/9IP – 4.11
  • K/BB – 2.22 

Glad to have him ‘back.’

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