Luis Avilan is now two seasons removed from a frankly unremarkable minor league career, and seems to have found his stride as a Major League reliever, coming off a second consecutive outstanding season. The 24 year old Avilan has now thrown 101 innings at the Major League level and allowed only 67 hits, on his way to a 1.69 career ERA and a 0.980 WHIP. 65 of those innings came in 2013, along with a 1.52 ERA and a 0.954 WHIP.
In 2013, the left handed Avilan faced left handed batters about 45% of the time, a higher percentage than what is found in the subset of nature that we call Major League Baseball, and he was 10 innings short of averaging an inning per game. The role seemed to be more than a LOOGY, but biased towards it, which is proper usage I believe. He was effective against both right handers and left handers in the small sample available, with a .202 BA against righties and a .144 BA against lefties.
Two red flags for 2014 are Avilan’s K/9IP and batting average on balls in play. Avilan did not have a dominating season strikeout wise in 2013, with 38 K’s in those 65 IP, for a rate of 5.3 K/9IP, and the BABIP was a historically unsustainable .205.
While I prefer to celebrate what Avilan did in 2013, it would be dangerous to ignore the probability that he won’t repeat it in 2014. You know, in case any of the trade scenarios involving Craig Kimbrel include replacing him with Luis Avilan.