The bonus for finally ending the Wes Helms Era was King, a fine lefty reliever the Brewers sent to get yet another guy who strikes out a lot and occasionally hits a home run. King was brilliant in 2000 and quite good in 2001-02, not easy when you play for Milwaukee. He’s another heavy guy, listed at 6-1, 242.
King’s main pitch against lefties is a slider, which they rarely hit, and when they do it’s with little authority; lefthanded batters hit .219/.296/.302 against him last season. Against righthanders, he’s merely mortal, giving up .280/.339/.399, but that’s actually pretty good for a pitcher pegged a lefty specialist, especially the control; most LOOGYs (lefthanded one-out guys, tm John Sickels) basically walk any righthanded hitter who can hurt them.
Coming in to writing this, I was thinking King would have to be used as a LOOGY, rather than an all-purpose setup man like Mike Remlinger, or Chris Hammond last year. I’m no longer so sure of that, looking at his splits. He’s better against lefthanders, that’s for sure, but he’s not necessarily just a specialist… He’s been used as a specialist, though. In three full seasons (all with the Brew Crew after a cup of coffee with the Cubs) he’s always had far fewer IP than appearances. Last year, he pitched in 76 games but for only 65 innings. That was actually the closest ratio of his Brewer career. In 2001, he pitched 82 games, 55 innings… Had a sore elbow in April that put him on the DL, but was fine the rest of the year. After the DL stint, he never went more than four games without pitching the rest of the season.
I first became aware of King a couple of years ago when I read a story on the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel website talking about how much he, David Weathers and Curtis Leskanic liked to cook burgers on their George Foreman grill in the bullpen, sometimes wolfing down four or five each during the course of a game. Is it a coincidence they’re all fat?
As you say, King’s certainly got the ability to be more than just a LOOGY (Venafro will probably get that role), but I don’t expect him to be another Remlinger either. Pre-injury Terrell Wade of 1996 or so vintage would be nice.
If nothing else, King continues a Braves tradition of thick-middled black set-up men starting with Donnie Moore and continuing up through Pedro Borbon. Thank goodness they never felt the need to bring in Heathcliff Slocumb.
King was one of the few very good moves Schuerholz made. He saw a gaping hole in the bullpen, identified a good player to fill that hole, and recognized that he had the type of player on his team that the organization King was in would like. Furthermore, he recognized that said player was pretty thoroughly expendable, as was John Foster.
Why is everyone saying King is so great? Honlesty I dont see what the party is about. If someone finds my invatation please pass it on to me. He’s decent maybe a lil better I wont call him good yet. And the Braves always have a whole in the bullpen at the end of the season, thats always a given. And I know this dont even relate to this at all but IM SO TIRED OF PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT JOHN SMOTLZ GOING BACK TO THE STARTING ROTATION. GIVE IT UP! ITS OLD. HES NOT GONNA GO BACK. DEAL WITH IT. ITS TIME TO STOP BELIEVING IT, GET A LIFE! Sorry I’m so tired of people not just here but everywhere talking about him being a Starter this year. Eh!
Having played against Ray from the time I was 7 years old to my last at bat at a seasoned 18 (for the record I walked), Ray King will end up being one of the greatest set-up men in the game. And when he is on, you can’t touch him! Keep up the good work Raymond! Ripley and I am proud of you!