Tuesday, January 22, 2013

2013 Bill James Projections - Daniel Bard

2011 projection: 6-3, 76 IP, 34 BB, 90 SO, 2.72 ERA, 0 saves
2011: 2-9, 73 IP, 24 BB, 74 SO, 3.33 ERA, 1 save
2012 projection: 6-2, 70 IP, 25 BB, 79 SO, 2.31 ERA, 2 saves

2012: 5-6, 59.1 IP, 43 BB, 38 SO, 6.22 ERA, 0 saves
2013 projection: 3-4, 67 IP, 28 BB, 67 SO, 3.63 ERA, 1 save

We saw it before, when the Yankees screwed up the development of Joba Chamberlain, switching him from starter to reliever and back again, instituting the "Joba Rules" of innings limits and generally making certain to squander the potential of their best reliever outside of the legendary Mariano Rivera.

There were fans who were concerned that the same thing would happen to Daniel Bard when the idea of switching him to a starter was first floated last offseason. I have to admit that I did not share those concerns  despite the fact that Bard's biggest stride in the minor leagues was made when he was switched from the rotation to the bullpen; I should have seen this coming.

The Daniel Bard as a starter experiment was a failure of epic proportions, in a season marked by failures on every level. After a somewhat promising Spring Training, it became very clear once the season started that Bard wasn't working in the rotation. He made ten starts, but ended the season as disappointed as the rest of us.

Hopefully a return to the bullpen will improve Bard's numbers as much as Bill James and his team seems to think - an ERA drop of almost three full runs is nothing to sneeze at. The rotation is (for the moment) full, and there's no need for Bard to deal the the added pressures of closing, since the Red Sox currently have two experienced closers. In addition, the presence of John Farrell can only help things for formerly struggling Red Sox pitchers. I think (I hope!) Bard will return to his former dominance in an eighth inning role in 2013.

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