We just looked at Matt Guerrier as an option for the 2010 Twins closer role and saw that he's likely to see a bit of regression in 2010, as his BABIP was artificially low and his BB rate was out of line with his career average. Now we're going to look at Jon Rauch, the 6'11" freak acquiring from the Diamondbacks at last year's trade deadline.
Jon Rauch has been a consistent pitcher over the course of his career, posting a 3.79 ERA over 411 career IP, maintaining a career K/9 of 7.36 and a BB rate of 2.89. His walk rate skews a bit high because of his first four years in the majors when he posted BB rates of 4.40, 3.09, 3.30 and 3.55. Since then Rauch has put up BB rates of 2.16, 2.01 and 2.96, which is impressive given his height and the difficulty tall pitchers often have with repeating their mechanics and maintaining good control.
Last year, Rauch put up a 3.60 ERA over 70 IP, striking out 49 batters and walking 23 (K/9 of 6.30 and a BB/9 of 2.96). His FIP was 3.88, and his BABIP of .301 was a tick higher than his career average (.284). In short, Rauch had a 2009 campaign that was roughly similar to his last five years. This is reason for optimism.
CHONE and Marcel look favorably upon Rauch in 2010. CHONE pegs Rauch for a 3.95 ERA over 66 IP, with a K/9 rate of 6.41 and a BB rate of 2.59. It sees his BABIP coming down 10 points to .291, and sees a FIP of 3.96. If only every pitcher could pitch 0.01 point away from their FIP, this analysis would be a lot easier. Marcel calls for a 4.16 ERA over 67 IP, a K/9 rate of 6.99 and a BB rate of 2.48. It sees his BABIP coming in at .305 and a predicts a FIP of 4.19.
In essence, CHONE and Marcel predict roughly the same thing for 2010 that we saw in 2009. They're slightly more pessimistic, and it seems that the reason for their pessimism comes from a normalization of his H9/9 rate, which sat at 0.77 in 2009, which is lower than his career average of 1.05. CHONE predicts a HR/9 of 0.95 and Marcel predicts a HR/9 of 1.07.
Despite this, Rauch should be a dependable option out of the pen for the Twins. Like Guerrier, he doesn't strike out as many guys as you would like, and doesn't boast Nathanesque control. However, he seems to carry slightly less risk than Guerrier, and so it wouldn't be a surprise to see Rauch perform capably in the closer's role.