Looking to 2012: Bronson Arroyo

I think the following is a correct statement…

During the 2011 season, no single pitcher drew more ire from Reds fans than Bronson Arroyo.

I’m sure some might say the now departed Edinson Volquez. Others may scream of Nick Masset. While those two did receive their fair share of “complaints”, Arroyo was knocked for being everything to a batting practice pitcher to being sent out of town (which won’t happen).

So as I perused Arroyo’s numbers and 2012 projections, there was a few things that did jump out at me…both good and bad.

Stats and 2012 Projections (totals reflect those only with Cincinnati)

1. Peaks and valleys

This isn’t 100% true, but it’s pretty darn close. For the six seasons in which Arroyo has been a Red, the third and sixth are his two “worst” statistically and not taking merely wins and losses into consideration. This is in examining the peripherals. After his third season in Cincy, Arroyo showed some signs of performing a “bounce back” for two consecutive seasons. There are a number of instances in reference to certain stats.

You could look at LOB%, HR/FB, BB/9, BAA and BABIP. There are a few others, too. Here’s BAA (AVG), WHIP and BABIP as just one example.

2. The “workhorse” tag
With the exception of last season, Arooyo has hurled at least 200 innings in every season since coming over from Boston. There’s no reason to think he can’t exceed that number again in 2012. If you believe he will attain that, add in the almost 200 innings from Johnny Cueto and the almost 200 innings from Mat Latos, and you’re saving your bullpen from from work and the grief felt by Reds fans when the bullpen is utilized.

3. Health
This was, in my opinion, the single greatest factor for Arroyo suffering his worst season as a Red. Desert fever, mono, whatever it was, had an adverse effect on him. He was never the same pitcher we saw in 2010. Not even close for my money. And his health for 2012? He told the following to Mark Sheldon in a Shledon post from late in the season.

“It’s going to be a whole mindset of taking care of myself and that being No. 1, and pushing everything else off,” Arroyo said just before his season ended. “I’ve seen too many people have decent careers fade away very quickly. You’re like, ‘Whatever happened to that guy? He had a monster year for three or four years.’ All of a sudden he’s nowhere to be found. I’m not letting that happen to me.”

No boats, no parties, no kidding?

1. HR/9
You knew I would get around to this, but not because of the obvious fact that Arroyo surrendered more home rtuns (46) than walks (45). Not only that. For 2011, Arroyo’s HR/9 was a depressing 2.08. If Arroyo would have tossed a complete game last season, odds were that he would deliver two long balls in the process.

2. GB/FB
Last season marked the highest percentage of flyballs (42.7%) Arroyo permitted. His 0.91 GB/FB ratio (and that does not include line drives) was his worst since 2007 (0.81). Yes, it’s a familiar refrain about flyballs, line drives and GABP…

3. WAR
I’m not huge on WAR, but this is a trend that cannot be overlooked.

I don’t believe you can look at that and have a positive spin on it.

I do believe Arroyo will bounce back from a disastrous 2011 season. He is healthy (from all indications) and he won’t be viewed as the #2 guy (although many of us ever accused him of truly being such). The Latos trade not only helped Cueto, it helped Arroyo as well. I think 11 wins is fair but don’t be shocked if he rebounds for at least 14 wins.

Yes, I may be a lone wolf on that.

Maybe it’s also due to the fact that Arroyo is my sister’s favorite player so I subconsciously issue him a pass.

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