Kyle Farnsworth: The Reasoning (or Lack Therof) of Pitching Him

Alex MungerContributor IAugust 10, 2010

SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 26:  Kyle Farnsworth of the Kansas City Royals poses during photo media day at the Royals spring training complex on February 26, 2010 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

This post begins with a simple question. Why did the Kansas City Royals sign Kyle Farnsworth for the 2010 season?

His 2009 season was downright miserable, and there were no signs of a turnaround in 2010.

Arguably the least clutch player in baseball, Farnsworth's BAA in tie games was .625 in 2009. In "high-leverage" situations, it was .548, and in close, late games, it was an even .500.

The weird thing is, he was dominant when he had a four-plus margin to work with on either side. He has good speed on his fastball, but sometimes it looks like he's throwing 96-mph BP, as every single pitch is right down the middle. Surprisingly, he pitched fairly well down the stretch, better than expected, mostly because the Royals didn't use him in clutch situations. But the Royals realized they could find some suckers to bite on this extreme mop-up man's numbers, and they did.

The Braves acquired him for reasons that I can't begin to figure out. With Moylan, Venters, Saito, Wagner etc. the bullpen is better than it has been in probably decades. To add Farnsworth to the mix and then throw him in high-leverage situations just blows my mind.

Last night he allowed four ERs in a third of an inning. In his short stint with the Braves, he has a 16.88 ERA. If the Braves keep pitching him in these situations, it's not going to be pretty (although his ERA with be lower than 16). Just remember Braves fans, next time Farnsworth takes the mound in a close game, shield your eyes.