Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Bullpen Staple: 2017 Player Preview for Joaquin Benoit


You know who has had a really good Major League career? Joaquin Benoit.
Oh sure, no one is confusing him with a Hall of Famer. He's not Mariano Rivera. He's not even Tug McGraw. But he's had some very strong seasons.

This is the 12th in a series previewing the 2017 Philadelphia Phillies. Most recently, we looked at Pat Neshak. This post looks at how the Phillies' under the radar move to pick up a solid bullpen piece.

Benoit has pitched in the big leagues through three presidencies. At times, he's put up All-Star worthy numbers. The Phillies picked him up for $7.5 mill. He could end up being very valuable.

Benoit arrived on scene in 2001, getting rocked in his only Big League game.

He returned the following year and spent four seasons swinging between the Texas Rangers' rotation and bullpen, not pitching particularly effectively. He was a poor man's Kyle Kendrick.

After fully converting to a reliever in 2006, the right-hander has put up some impressive numbers. In more than 600 games, pitching 633 innings, he's compiled a 2.95 ERA, 142 ERA+, 3.39 FIP and 1.095 WHIP. He's struck out 9.8 batters per nine innings, allowed a total of 62 home runs and given up just 6.5 hits per nine. His walks allowed - 3.3 per nine - aren't bad, either.

Tell me you wouldn't take ten years of that from Hector Neris.

The thing with Benoit is he rarely had a full-time closer job. He's saved a grand total of 51 games, which is about 200 fewer than I expected.

But that's OK, because 7th inning and eighth inning outs can be as important as the final out.

And that's why he's going to be valuable to the Phillies.

Combine him with Neshak, Neris and Jeanmar Gomez and you could have a very good bullpen.

As with Neshak and Professional Hitter Howie Kendrick, Benoit could nab the Phillies a prospect in July or August.