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The Season That Was: Carlos Villanueva

Carlos Villanueva was one of a bunch of right-handed relievers that Alex Anthopouplos signed before the start of the season. I really didn't think much of him, coming off ERA's of 5.34 in 2009 and 4.61 in 2010, in the NL Central. Figuring the tougher opposition he would face with the Jays, I thought he'd be lucky to make the team, but he was much better than I thought he would be.

2011 - Carlos Villanueva 6-4 33 13 0 0 0 1 107.0 103 49 48 11 32 68 4.04 1.26

Fangraphs has him at a 1.1 WAR worth $5.1 million to the Jays. 

Carlos FIP was 4.10 and xFIP was 4.48 so pretty much in line with his ERA. SIERA of 4.38.

He started the season in the bullpen and had a 1.48 ERA in 13 games. Then he made 13 straight starts. The first few were good, he won 3 of his first 5 starts, with 2 no decisions, but things went down hill. In his last 4 starts he gave up 20 runs in 19.1 innings. After that he went on the DL with a tired arm. He finished off strong, in the pen again, with a 1.93 ERA in 7 appearances.

Carlos had a .271 BABIP, close to his career mark of .281. He struck out fewer batter than normal, 5.72/9 compared to 7.60 career. Walked fewer 2.69/9 compared to a 3.10 career rate.

He gave up line drive at about his career rate (21.9 from a 20.1%). Fewer ground balls (35.6% from 39.4%). Way more pop ups (15.1% from 10.1%). Fewer of his flies became home runs (7.5% from 11.4% career). 

Carlos was better against RHB (.241/.292/.385) than LHB (.259/.320/.394).

Better on the road (.236/.289/.369) than at home (.269/.329/.414).

And, of course, his numbers were better as a reliever (1.60 ERA, Batters hit .161/.264/.259) than as a starter (5.15, .284/.324/.438).

Carlos Villanueva by month:

April: 1-1, 1.84, 8 relief appearances.  Batters hit .093/.231/.233.

May: 2-0, 3.20, 7 games, 2 starts. Batters hit .216/.253/.338.

June: 3-1, 3.73, 5 starts. .261/.297/.336.

July: 1-1, 4.60, 5 starts. .285/.336/.423.

August: 0-1, 1 start. .563/.556/.1.313.

September: 0-1, 1.93. 7 relief appearances. .222/.333/.333.

Villanueva started the season with a 4 game win streak. Longest losing streak was 2 games. His best game score, in his starts, was a 65 July 7th against the Indians. He went 6 innings, allowing 6 hits, no runs, 2 walks with 7 k. His worst start was his last one, a 9 game score from August 3rd against the Rays. He went 2.2, 9 hits, 8 earned, 1 k, 0 walks, 3 home runs. He went on the DL right after that.

Carlos had a far better season that I thought he would. He looked amazing in long relief, at the start of the season. His first few starts went well but he seemed to tire as his innings built up. He did pitch twice as many innings as he had in 2010. I think he has a value in that long relief/spot starter role but I wouldn't expect him to have a 1.60 ERA as a reliever ever again. 

Carlos is eligible for arbitration this year, his 3rd time. He'll likely be making something like $2 million next year and should be worth that. I'd rather not see him start 13 times but he'd be ok for the occasional spot start.