The Astros have announced that Brett Myers is going to be their closer in 2012. Is it a good idea?
For starters, Myers wasn’t all that good as a starter last year. As it stands now, his career ERA+ is a perfect 100, but he’s coming off a down year. His K/9 rate in 2011 was 6.7, below his career average and trending in the opposite direction from the league on average.
From that standpoint, moving Myers to a new role seems like it can’t hurt.
Myers was a closer once before, in 2007 for the Phillies, taking over from Tom Gordon. Interestingly, he posted a career high of 10.9 K/9 that year. That might have something to do with his approach, or the batters being more aggressive with the game on the line, or it might have been a blip since it was just 68 innings. Myers’ walk rate also went way up, to 3.5 per 9 innings.
Here are the guys in 2007 to record at least 20 saves with a BB rate of at least 3.5:
Not too many folks survive as closers with such high walk rates.
Here’s what the 7 guys did in the following 4 seasons:
Bob Wickman didn’t pitch in the majors again after 2007 and Myers and Dempster became starters. Isringhausen was mostly hurt, and the rest of the guys have done pretty well. (Valverde and K-Rod have done really well, actually.)
If Myers can get his K rate back up and his BB rate back down, he should do reasonably well.