Folks love Josh Fogg
Pitchers and catchers were due to report to Tucson, Ariz., today, and many of them worked out on a day that was every bit as nice as Denver was nasty. Well, I hear Denver was nasty. Sorry about that.
Anyhow, one of the nicest developments is the presence of right-hander Josh Fogg. Admittedly, it might be hard for him to make the team. But as he noted, he wasn’t going to make the team in 2006 until Byung-Hyun Kim and Sun-Woo Kim suffered injuries late in camp. Fogg stayed in the rotation for two years, went 21-18 and became a fan favorite.
Many folks filled my e-mail box with protests when the Rockies didn’t re-sign him last year. He signed with the Reds, but after a bad year during which he lost his spot in the rotation, was hit in the face with a line drive at one point and generally didn’t succeed.
Now he’s back, under a Minor League contract. Most of the competitors for a spot on the roster are younger and have livelier arms.
But no doubt folks will be pulling for Fogg. He also feels the love of the fans.
“I think I can relate to the fans a little bit,” Fogg said. “I’m not one of those guys that goes out there and lights up the radar gun. I’m a little closer to the guys that played in high school. They see me out there and say, I used to throw 86 mph. I used to throw 85. They know I’m gutting it out a little bit more, not dominating with my stuff.”
… More Brian Fuentes
Tom posed an interesting question in the comments from my last posting. Fuentes had a penchant for letting runners on base — a practice that led a great friend of mine, a loyal Rocies fan, to always say, “Brian is playing with his food.” You asked if it was the light air or big spaces at Coors that led to runners always seeming to be on base. I don’t think that was the case.
I don’t know why there were always runners on base, but I do know this: Fuentes is a better pitcher in traffic. In his career, Fuentes has yielded a lower average with runners on (.220) than with bases empty (.224). The numbers tilted even more in that direction before last season, when Fuentes actually held hitters to .193 with the bases empty, to .226 with runners on base.
I don’t have a scientific reason for this. It could simply be a focus issue. Good closers pitch well under pressure, and many of them seem to create pressure for themselves. Fuentes already has a high strikeouts-per-nine-innings rate, and I expect that to continue with the Angels. I also expect many of the strikeouts to come with runners on base.
And, bloggers, thanks for all the warm welcomes. Honk or yell out my name if you see me around Hi Corbett.