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Royal Blues


March 4, 2010 7:34 PM

Countdown to Opening Day: 32 Cruz ER

Spring training action has started in Surprise, but there's still a lot of time between now and Opening Day. I'll be counting down the days with a collection of random Royals-related numbers. Most of them mean nothing - this isn't supposed to be a groundbreaking series of research - but they'll hopefully make the days go faster until April 5.

32 Days = 32 earned runs given up by Juan Cruz
When the Royals picked up the free agent Cruz, it was supposed to add a "strikeout guy" to the bullpen. And he WAS a strikeout guy - the previous two seasons in Arizona, he struck out more than 12 per 9 innings.

That rate dropped to 6.79 K/9 in 2009, the lowest of his career. That drop in strikeouts would be survivable if Cruz never walked anybody, but his BB/9 stayed right in step with where it had been in those high-strikeout seasons.

Those batters Cruz wasn't striking out were getting on base, and Cruz was not leaving them out there. His strand rate was the 2nd-lowest of his career, resulting in the 2nd-highest FIP of his career. (The worst year in both of those categories, interestingly, was his only other American League year - 2005 with Oakland.)

The result of all of that on the scoreboard was 32 earned runs in Cruz' 50.1 innings last year. He wasn't exactly what the Royals had in mind when they surprised the baseball world by signing him. What will he be this year, at age 31?

And now, it's time for Jim and Pam to have Baby Halpert! Squee! I love The Office.


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