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12/10/09

Who is Boof Bonser?

After the Twins removed Boof Bonser from their 40-man roster to make room for the signing of Carl Pavano, they dealt him today to the Boston Red Sox for a yet to be disclosed minor league player. It might seem as a small win for the Twins, since they gained something for a player they were about to lose for nothing, but is it so? The reason stated that Bonser, and not a lesser player like Bobby Keppel, Matt Tolbert or Drew Butera, was removed from the roster was because Bonser did not accept the $550,000 contract the Twins offered him during the offseason and he was headed to arbitration. I suspect that the Twins' brass did not realize that offering him about $90,000 over the minimum would be borderline insulting. So they cut their nose to spite their face and kept Bobby Keppel instead...

Can Bonser be successful? Let's look at the facts starting with a mini scouting report:

Bonser has 4 main pitches: A fastball that averages 92 mph, but hits 95 occasionally with some movement, a plus slider and potentially one of the best curveballs in the game. He is more effective against righthanders (career .699 OPS against) and not effective against lefties (career .891 OPS against, but also .369 BABIP). His career numbers are a bit skewed because he has been both a starter and a reliever, but his future is in the bullpen. There were durability considerations (because of his weight) which made him report to the 2008 training camp several pounds lighter, but the real considerations are with his concentration and mental make up. Boof can pitch brilliantly but when he gets in trouble, he seems to fall apart (Over the Baggy has a great analysis of his pitching numbers, especially his performance with men on base.) When there is someone on first, Boof seems to be a different pitcher (career .956 OPS against in 313 PA), mainly because he looses the control of his breaking stuff and has to throw fastballs in the zone when he falls behind. His 9.5 K/9 and 3.22 K/BB career as a reliever in the major league level (despite the aforementioned problems), along with his devastating curve, project him as a dominating arm in the pen, maybe a future closer, if he deals with his concentration issues. Having a change of scenery and coaching on these respects might be what he needs, and unfortunately this situation smells a lot of the David Ortiz situation years ago...

Bonser was drafted in the 1st round of the 2000 draft by the San Fransisco Giants and came to the Twins in the AJ Pierzynski trade that also brought Joe Nathan and Fransisco Liriano to the team.

Good luck, Boof, but please not against the Twins.

2 comments:

William said...

I thought Boof was finally getting it together in the BP. Did he have options left?

thrylos98 said...

No. He was out of options and arbitration-eligible. What hurts is that the Red Sox signed him to an one year contract for $650K. That is $100K more than the Twins offered. And Keppel is still with the team...