Player profile: Manny Delcarmen

Background

Manny Delcarmen had fairly high expectations coming into the 2008 season. After putting up a sparkling 2.05 ERA in 2007, Delcarmen looked like a guy with closer potential and entered the year as Boston’s top setup man. However, Delcarmen struggled out of the gate, putting up a 4.54 ERA in the first half. Many began to write him off, but, mostly due to a change in luck, Delcarmen excelled in the second half. At the end of the year, he had a very good 3.27 ERA while pitching 74.3 innings. What does 2009 hold for Delcarmen?

Skill Set

YEAR  AGE   TEAM IP    ERA   xFIP  TRA*  K/G  BB/G  GB%   BABIPHR/FB%
  2006    24BOS    53.3  5.06  4.04  3.77  7.1   2.7  44.60.373    4.3
  2007    25BOS      44  2.05  4.07  4.06    9   3.7  44.60.214   11.1
  2008    26BOS    74.3  3.27  3.82  3.33    9   3.5  51.80.253    8.4

Delcarmen has put up very good numbers in his last two years, while showing excellent skill in his past three years. Delcarmen is a strikeout pitcher, using his mid-90s fastball to overpower opposing hitters. He gives up his fair share of walks but nothing too excessive. A great sign last year was that Delcarmen upped his groundball percentage.

Delcarmen has excellent skills and this is reflected with his strong xFIP and TRA*. Delcarmen has gotten a little lucky with his BABIP the last two years but even when that regresses, his skills will allow him to keep putting up very good numbers. And if he manages to make some small improvements with his walk rate, he could really take off.

Overall, Delcarmen would make for a solid late round draft pick in standard leagues. He’ll be a good candidate for vulture wins initially pitching in middle relief and if anything happens to Jonathan Papelbon, Delcarmen would be a candidate to fill in as closer. Given this, relief pitchers as a whole are generally volatile from one year to the next. Let’s look at what kind of risk Manny Delcarmen has.

Risk

Experience: Medium risk. While Delcarmen has pitched about three years in the majors, he only has about 180 career major league innings, leaving some room for error.

Playing time: High risk. Delcarmen will start out as a middle reliever but the leverage he will get is a big question. We do not know yet what Boston will do with Justin Masterson and last year Terry Francona displayed a tendency to go to Masterson over Delcarmen despite Delcarmen having much better skills. Also, Boston just traded for Ramon Ramirez, who is a talented reliever in his own right. Part of what makes Delcarmen an attractive pick is that he has closer potential if Papelbon were to get hurt. However, Delcarmen could also find himself third in line for closer.

Skill Risk: Low risk. The only real area of concern with Delcarmen is his walks. A decent jump in walks would be harmful, but the rest of Delcarmen’s skills are strong.

Age: Low risk. Delcarmen will be 27 next year and should be entering his peak as a pitcher.

Burnout: Very high risk. Delcarmen has had a history of injuries in the major and minor leagues. He’ll be attempting to bounce back from his biggest major league workload.

Overall risk: Medium to high risk. Delcarmen’s role is a big concern along with his health risk. While he brings a lot of good skills, Delcarmen also brings some risk, though you likely won’t have to invest a very high draft pick to get him.

Conclusion

Manny Delcarmen shows great stuff along with a very good skill set. He’s an attractive target for someone who doesn’t want to use high draft picks or auction dollars on closers and is an ideal LIMA plan target. He is a potential source of wins and saves, depending on what his ultimate role is. However, he does bring a lot of risk. This makes him an interesting sleeper pick but not someone you want to invest a lot in.

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