Manny Acosta - #36
29 years old (30 in May)
5th major league season
6'4" 170 pounds (still??!!)
Bats R/Throws R
The Good: Throws a mid-90s fastball, a "plus" curve-ball and a change-up/split-finger. His fastball and curve were very good last year. He generates a lot of swing and misses (9.6%), and that results in a lot of strike outs (9.5 k/9 last year). His ERA last year was 2.95 in 39 2/3 innings.
The Bad: Walks too many guys (4.51 W/9 for his career, but it improved last year to 4.08) and has seen his fly ball rate climb the last four years. The old book was that lefties hit well against him (.277 prior to last year), but in a small sample size, (46 batters faced), they only hit .163 in 2010. The other 'book' on him is that he struggles in high-leverage situations (8th or 9th inning with runners on in a close game). In low-leverage, his FIP (Fielders Independent Pitching) was 2.63, which is great. But once the pressure increases, his FIP rises to 5.51 in medium-leverage situations, and climbs even higher in High-leverage situations, with a 5.91 FIP. As a quick refresher for those unfamilar with FIP, it stands for Fielders Independent Pitching. FIP just focuses on what the pitcher can control himself (HR, Walks, Strikeouts), and FIP helps you understand how well a pitcher pitched, regardless of how well his fielders fielded. FIP is set-up to mirror a player's ERA (below 3 is good etc).
Interesting splits/notes: One other interesting split from last year was that he struggled at Citi Field, 4.12 ERA at home, versus 1.80 ERA on the road. Acosta threw a first pitch fastball 65% of the time last year.
Role: As per my 1st opening-day roster, I have Acosta ticketed for Buffalo and AAA to start the year, but will be the first guys called up if/when the bullpen's arms fall off due to the starters inability to work deep into games. Pure stuff-wise there is no reason he can't be a big part in a major league bullpen, but needs to decrease the walks, and not melt under pressure in high leverage situations.
Projected Stats: 45 innings pitched, 40 K, 15 walks, 3.60 ERA, 1.40 WHIP
To review his 2010 scouting report, click here.