(Ed Note: You may have gotten a sneak preview of this yesterday, but it was supposed to run on Thursday all along. Doh!)
Another minor league free agent with a non-roster invite to Spring Training in the form of Miguel Batista. Batista fits the Dave Duncan profile:
Ground ball tendencies: Check!
Abnormally low ERA last year: Check!
Batista is taking the “old” thing to a whole new extent as this next season will be his age 40 season. There are too many seasons to digest on the whole career for Batista, but looking at the last few we can get a good enough idea of where he is coming from.
Batista is the opposite of Snell in that he has added 2 MPH on his fastball since 2004. He has also developed a cutter and turned himself into a two-pitch pitcher. Over 95% of the time, he throws either a fastball at 92 MPH or a cutter at 86 MPH.
Bill James thinks he will have a very similar season to last year with the Nationals, but without the abnormally low BABIP (.258 in 2009) that kept his ERA low. So, beware the false ERA straw man. Batista is one of the least exciting pitchers I can think of looking at the stats. He doesn’t strike out a low of guys, he doesn’t have a lot of different pitches, he had an abnormally low ERA and did I mention he is 40?
I cannot see Batista accepting a demotion to Memphis, even though he accepted a minor league free agent deal, but odds are we will not see the 40 year old in the DFRs this Spring. If someone is going to get a chance in the back of the bullpen, I’d much rather see Salas, Sanchez or even Augenstein than Batista.