Jon Rauch: With Chad Cordero officially out for the year, Rauch has better job security as the closer. Rauch has blown 5 saves in 21 tries, but has good skills; 8.3 K/9 and a 1.8 BB/9. Although he has cut down on the fly balls, 2006/2007/2008 FB%’s of 49%/53%/46%, it is still a high number and leaves him vulnerable to the longball.
Edgar Gonzalez: Career minor-leaguer, Edgar Gonazlez has done a good job filling in for the injured Tadahito Iguchi, 3/14/.325 in 123 AB. Just be aware that his approach at the plate is less than ideal, 6.8% BB% and a 79% Ct%, and that he is enjoying a .321 BHIP%. Expect some batting average downside in the near future.
Russell Branyan: Branyan has been on an incredible power run since being called up from the minors, 11 home runs in 87 AB. Nobody can keep this pace up and when he does settle down, his poor contact skills, 2006/2007/2008 Ct%’s of 63%/58%64%, are guaranteed to lead to a low batting average, 2006/2007 averages of .228/.196.
Chad Tracy: With Eric Byrnes going back on the DL, Conor Jackson will likely shift back to left field, opening up first base for Tracy. Injuries over the last two seasons have stunted his growth, but with an increasing FB%, 2006/2007/2008 FB%’s of 43%/46%55%, regular playing time is all that he may need to have a second-half power surge.
Brian Fuentes: Fuentes is doing a decent job as closer, 13 saves in 17 tries with 3.94 ERA, with less than ideal skills; 7.9 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, and a 37% GB%. If that is not enough of a reason to trade him, consider that he is going to be a free agent at years end, making it extremely likely that he will be dealt to a contender who will not use him as a closer.
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