We've looked at Matt Guerrier and Jon Rauch for the 2010 Twins closer role, seeing that Guerrier could be due for regression and that Rauch may prove to be a solid, above-average option. Now it's time to look at the hard-throwing LHP, Jose Mijares.
Mijares had a great year in 2009, putting up an anemic 2.34 ERA over 61.2 innings, striking out batters at a 8.03 per nine clip and walking 2.39 batters per nine. His BABIP was .266, which is higher than his career MLB average of .243. However, the sample size for his career BABIP is a mere 71 IP, so keep that in mind. . His FIP was 4.01, which is noticeably higher than his ERA. The reason for this is his insanely high strand rate of 89.0%, which puts him in the top 10 of all relievers. Now, there are some fairly notable names in that top 10 (Rivera, Saito, Papelbon, Nathan and Soria), but at this point it isn't reasonable to conclude that Mijares could maintain the same LOB% in 2010.
For this reason, CHONE and Marcel predict a regression in 2010. CHONE pegs Mijares for a 3.60 ERA over 70 IP, a K/9 of 7.71 and a BB/9 of 3.86. CHONE calls for a LOB% of 74%, a 15% reduction, and a FIP of 4.40. Marcel sees roughly the same thing, predicting an ERA of 3.63 over 57 IP with a K/9 rate of 7.42 and a BB/9 of 3.16. It also sees a LOB% of 77.4%, and a FIP of 4.08.
Despite the inevitable regression, Mijares will still be a valuable piece of the Twins' bullpen in 2010. He is likely to have the highest K rate of the three relievers discussed here, but also the highest BB rate, and will give them cheap production. The Twins are fortunate to have three dependable in-house options to replace Nathan. Is there another name, though? Someone we haven't mentioned?
How about Francisco Liriano?