Top: Livan Hernandez, p
Hernandez beat the Cleveland Indians in games one and five of the 1997 World Series, so for the longest time I was not really a big fan of the guy.
But as time passed, I have grown to really appreciate him. For one, I really like Cuban players–something about the whole defecting from a communist country thing is really…Cold War-y.
The other is that he was a really good pitcher who hung around for a really long time. I am a big fan of middle of the rotation pitchers who suck up innings; he would average 218 innings in his 17 season career, winning at least 10 games in 11 of those seasons. A big reason for his sustained success was that he aged well, slowly morphing from a power pitcher with a fastball, slider and changeup into a finesse pitcher who relied on location and feel to beat batters.
|162 Game Avg.||12||12||4.44||218||241||73||135||95||1.440|
Bottom: Huston Street, p
Acquired while he was pitcher in the minors in 2004.
I was a fan of him when he was playing at the University of Texas, and was really happy when the A’s picked him up. It was neat seeing him make the majors so quickly.
He dominated his first professional season, with a 1.38 ERA and 1.115 WHIP between A, AA and AAA ball in 2004. In 2005–less than a year after getting drafted–he would open the year in the Oakland bullpen as the teams closer. He would go on to save 23 games, carry a 1.009 WHIP and win the American League ROY.
Steet would be a great closer for the A’s until 2008, when he was traded to the Rockies (with Carlos Gonzalez) for Matt Holliday. He would continue to be a good closer with the Rockies–a job that cannot be fun–and would be traded in 2011 to the Padres for a PTBNL. He continues to close out games in San Diego.
Street is only 29 years old, but has 234 career saves and a 1.036 WHIP. He has been really good the last couple seasons, so I don’t really see any reason to think that he will be less effective this season. One thing going for him is that his effectiveness lies in his control and finesse, so he does not have to depend on strikeouts to be successful…a nice thing for a pitcher as they age.
|162 Game Avg.||4||4||2.98||53||31||70||55||18||71||144||1.036|