Reds in 2013: Bronson Arroyo


I have learned one thing in the two and a half years I have been here at Blog Red Machine. One is that Reds fans crave a World Series win. (Boy, do they crave one.)

The other is that Bronson Arroyo will pitch in his next scheduled start. I can only recall once when that was not the case. That actually covers the time Arroyo has been a Red, not just my time here at BRM.

October 1, 2012; St. Louis, MO. USA; (EDITORS NOTE: multiple exposure) Arroyo throws to a St. Louis Cardinals batter during the fourth inning at Busch Stadium. (Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)

Actually, I knew both of those things prior to my time here, but both have become more magnified since.

It’s like clockwork. Set the rotation, look for when Arroyo is scheduled to pitch and…he does. And he does so without any fanfare. He’s steady and reliable, and sometimes we forget that. Well, I didn’t some time ago.

Oh, if you see two Arroyo’s in the image to the right, you’re fine. It is supposed to be like that.

Anyway, here’s how Bronson has kicked his way as a Red.

In looking at Arroyo’s ERA+ and his WAR (not shown), 2012 was Arroyo’s second best as a Red. His best was his first in Cincy, 2006, when he posted that ERA+ of 142 (his career best) and WAR of 6.5, according to Baseball Reference. Last year, those were 113 and 3.4, respectively.

I could honestly go all day about parts of Arroyo’s 2012 that were positive, but there is one game where he seem to get things going in a positive direction. Is it a coincidence it was when the Reds staff welcomed some of us from BRM to GABP? It was that game. In fact, heading into that evening in a game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Arroyo saw his ERA at a season’s high (aside from the ERA after his first outing of 2012) of 4.19. But that evening was different.

Arroyo took a no-hitter into the eighth inning that game, but seemed to tire. He didn’t get the win that night, but after that performance, he trended a different direction for the remainder of 2012. These numbers should show you something…

Pre-June 26: 14 G, 3-5, 4.19 ERA, 1.314 WHIP, 4.29 SO/BB, 15 HR, slash against: .290/.317/.478
June 26 and on: 18 G, 9-5, 3.41 ERA, 1.129 WHIP, 3.29 SO/BB, 11 HR, slash against: .249/.288/.376

I could now bring out what I have in the others in this series (projections), but I don’t have to do that. Why? We already know what to expect from Bronson. Here’s the laundry list.

  • double-digit wins and losses, usually over .500 (his average is 12-11 based on a 162 game season)
  • ERA around 4 (4.09 as a Red)
  • 32 starts (lowest of any season since he came to Cincinnati)
  • 200 innings pitched (199 is the lowest he has hurled in any one year)
  • the occasional bad outings sprinkled throughout the season
  • about 30 HR (his average is actually 29 as a Red…if you take away that dreadful 46 he surrendered in 2011)

And when it comes to singing the virtues of Arroyo, I am not alone here. Yesterday, Jimmi Adair of Redlegs Review offered this:

"Nonetheless, he (Arroyo) continued to take the ball every time his turn in the rotation came up. He was among the team’s stars for many years before Votto, Jay Bruce, and others came along. Oh, how quickly we forget. But not me. In a time when athletes seem to look for any excuse imaginable not to play, Arroyo has proved to be a classic throwback. His grit, will, and service to the Reds is not something which should be taken for granted. There aren’t many “gamers” like Arroyo left in the game today, and it’s nice to know that Arroyo will be around to watch for at least one more year.So, as we clamor over the young budding stars on the roster, let us not forget the contributions from Arroyo. He has played a key role in helping turn the franchise around, and I hope he is rewarded with a world championship in the fall."

One aspect about Arroyo that does get some press is that he is viewed as one of Dusty’s clubhouse guys. With the departures of Scott Rolen (well, the Reds are still waiting on that front) and Miguel Cairo, Arroyo’s role may be a little more broad for 2013.

So, in case you’re wondering about those projections…

Bill James (via Frangraphs): 12-12, 3.88 ERA, 33 G, 218 IP, 33 HR, 43 BB, 136 SO, 1.22 WHIP
CAIRO: 11-11, 4.28 ERA, 32 G, 199 IP, 31 HR, 44 BB, 130 SO, 1.20 WHIP

These show you how predictable Arroyo is, and it’s not all bad either.

He’s not flashy. He’s not overpowering. He’s not one that attracts attention (unless he’s got his guitar in his hand and doing an impromptu performance). He’s…Bronson Arroyo.