Monday, January 14, 2013

2013 Bill James Projections - Alfredo Aceves

2011: 10-2, 114 IP, 42 BB, 80 SO, 2.61 ERA, 2 saves
2012 projection: 8-5, 118 IP, 43 BB, 85 SO, 3.43 ERA, 0 saves
2012: 2-10, 84 IP, 31 BB, 75 SO, 5.36 ERA, 25 saves
2013 projection: 5-5, 88 IP, 33 BB, 67 SO, 3.68 ERA, 0 saves

Alfredo Aceves was never supposed to be the closer last season. But Andrew Bailey went and got seriously injured in spring training, and Aceves was the best option at the time, though he made it clear (repeatedly, and in no uncertain terms) that he greatly disliked the bullpen, and wanted to be a starter.

He's certainly in little danger of being asked to be the permanent closer, as the Red Sox have signed Joel Hanrahan and retained the now-healthy Bailey.  Unfortunately for Aceves, the starting rotation is looking rather full as well, with Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster, John Lackey, and Felix Doubront.

So Aceves and his attitude are likely to get pushed into the bullpen, where his role will have even less glory and earning potential than it did as a closer, because middle-relief, long-relief, eighth-inning guys, and mop-up men are indeed the UNSUNG heroes of a ballclub: you can't survive the season without them, but they don't usually get a lot of credit.

It remains to be seen whether Aceves will be able to take such a demotion, or if he'll demand a starting role or a trade. Alfredo is a very talented pitcher with some great stuff, but there's a reason that the Yankees weren't clamoring for him back (and it's not because they always look for pricier alternatives).

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