The Twins announced the signing of LHP Fernando Abad, adding to those of Dan Runzler and Buddy Boshers in their search for lefty relief help. Here are 9 facts and thoughts about Abad:
- Abad is a Dominican who celebrated his 30th birthday today and signed as an International Free agent by the Astros at the ripe age of 20. He flew through the Astros system from the DSL to the majors in 4 years. In addition to the Astros, he pitched for the Nationals (singed as a Free Agent in 2013) and the Athletics (traded for OF/1B John Wooten, fresh off a 20 HR season in Beloit, in 2014)
- 2014 was Abad's best season in the majors when he pitched in 69 games (57.3 IP) with a 1.57 ERA (3.25 FIP, 3.06 SIERA), 23.6% K% (8 K/9,) 2.4 BB/9 and 0.85 WHIP (.211 BABIP)
- 2015 was Abad's worst season in the majors when he pitched in 62 games (47.7 IP) with a 4.15 ERA (5.50 FIP, 3.82 SIERA), 22% K% (8.5 K/9,) 3.6 BB/9 and 1.34 WHIP (.264 BABIP)
- In his career, lefties hit .251/.304/.411 (423 PAs) and righties .247/.330/.423 (547 PAs) off him. A lot of people would look at this and tell you that he will be ineffective against lefties.
- However, his FIP (3.54 vs 5.04, against lefties and righties,) K% and K/9 (25.1% and 9.5 vs 15.9% and 6.17,) BB/9 (2.06 vs 3.83) indicate that he has the makings of a decent LOOGY
- And that what he has been with the Athletics: A lefty specialist who pitches in more games than innings, who will face righties if necessary, but usually comes in low leverage situations. Even in his best season, in 2014, he pitched 66.2% of the time in low leverage, 17.1% of the time in medium leverage and 16.7% of the time in high leverage situations
- Why his 2014 and 2015 were so different? Different pitch mix. In 2014 he threw a 93 mph above average Fastball (of both 4 and 2 seam varieties) supplemented mostly by a very good changeup that he threw against righties and an average knucklecurve that he threw mostly against lefties. Since he was in the Athletics organization he started to learn the cutter that was not a pretty pitch for him. In 2015 he threw that ineffective cutter for 20% of the time and got pounded. Also his fastball (especially his two seamer, his four seamer was above average) and curveball was not that effective. I suspect that the grip and pressure of the cutter did affect the grip and the pressure of the two-seamer and the knucklecurve.
- What will the Twins get in 2016? I think that the cutter experiment will be over and they will have Abad pitch to his strengths: four-seamer, two-seamer, changeup and curve, with a heavier those of that change and maybe against lefties as well. That could produce results close to 2014 or maybe even better. Have to remember that Abad has really never been tested consistently in high leverage situations in the majors; however he misses a lot of lefty bats.
- Nevertheless, Abad is not a bad addition. However, like Runzler and Boshers, he is not exactly someone who will step in for the Twins and expected to be in a bases loaded, one run up, one out, lefty in, 7th inning situation, and get a strikeout, which is what the Twins are missing at this point.
A week ago I said this about Abad and the Twins, but I hope I was mistaken:
I can see Ryan signing one of Franklin Morales, Fernando Abad or Manny Parra and call it a day for the #MNTwins bullpen.— Thrylos (@thrylos98) December 10, 2015