LHP Fernando Abad
Sep 12, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Oakland Athletics pitcher Fernando Abad (56) throws the ball against the Seattle Mariners during the eighth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Abad was excellent last year, posting a 1.57 ERA and 0.85 WHIP, but his numbers beyond the surface raise some concerns. His BABIP against went from .325 in 2013 to .211 last year. Some of that change was probably due to mechanical adjustments that he made, but pure luck was probably the main cause. If opposing hitters get better luck against him, his numbers should rise significantly this year.
Also, opposing batters went just 1-for-17 on pitches in the middle of the strike zone, according to Baseball Prospectus. Abad clearly got some breaks there as well, and this year expect more of those hittable pitches to be base hits.
The good news is that Abad was so good last year that even if he regresses this year, he can still be a decent middle relief option. With many other talented arms in the bullpen, Abad shouldn’t be asked to do anything more, and he should still be better than the average middle reliever in the league. My projection for him is an ERA around the 3.5 range and a WHIP around 1.25.