More on Rakers

Of all the talented players the York Revolution has added this off-season, relief pitcher Aaron Rakers may be the cream of the crop.

Rakers (pronounced ROCK-ers) could be a very strong option out of the Revs’ bullpen. From what I was able to gather on the Internet, Rakers features an average to below-average fastball and his best pitch has always been a splitter. He was always passed over for pitchers with more electric stuff (Chris Ray with the Baltimore Orioles for example), but he’s performed well at every stop in his minor league career.

Rakers has averaged more than a strikeout per inning in 510 career minor league innings and has had an ERA under 4.00 in just about every season he’s pitched. He seemed like he was on his way to sticking in the big leagues after a stellar 2005 season with Triple-A Ottawa. That year Rakers had a 2.57 ERA and seven saves in 77 innings.

But it was soon discovered that the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder was dealing with shoulder issues. Rakers missed the entire 2006 season after having surgery to repair a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder.

Of course, it’s a little early to make a judgment on a pitcher with spring training still a week away. But don’t be surprised if Rakers emerges as the Revs’ closer in 2008. Assuming the club doesn’t bring back Franklin Nunez, Rakers has everything you want in a closer.

He’s a big, imposing guy with previous experience closing games (65 career saves). He has good control (3.28 strikeouts per walk in his minor league career). And he has a big-time out pitch — his splitter.

It looks like Rakers wasn’t given much of an opportunity to pitch in spring training with the Houston Astros this year. But don’t be surprised if he dominates in the Atlantic League.

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2 Responses

  1. He got hit pretty hard in the Pacific Coast League last season (5.70 ERA, 1.53 WHIP). The PCL is a hitter’s league historically, but that ERA is more than twice his ERA from the previous two years at AAA. These numbers are so far out of whack with his career norms that you almost have to assume the shoulder was still a problem.

    If he’s healthier now, and able to throw like he did in 2004 and 2005, he’s going to dominate. Unfortunately, if he truly is back to form, he might not be long for York.

    It really is amazing, that with all of their bullpen issues the last…..ummmm…decade, that the Orioles didn’t give him more a shot.

  2. I couldn’t find any evidence that Rakers was hurt last year, but when you have his kind of injury history and you stuggle a bit, teams are less likely to give you a shot to perform.

    It appears the Orioles were more in love with Chris Ray and Sendy Rleal when Rakers was in their system.

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