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Roster review: Fernando Abad

Oct 27, 2013, 2:52 PM EST

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Age on Opening Day 2014: 28

How acquired: Minor-league free agent, Nov. 2012

MLB service time: 2 years, 73 days

2013 salary+bonuses: $500,000 (approx.)

Contract status: Arbitration-eligible in 2015, free agent in 2018

2013 Stats: 39 G, 37.2 IP, 42 H, 14 R, 14 ER, 10 BB, 32 SO, 3 HR, 1.381 WHIP, 0-3, 3.35 ERA, 3.26 FIP, 0.3 WAR

2013 analysis: Signed over the winter as a minor-league free agent, Abad posted a 1.06 ERA and 12-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio at Class AAA, Abad earned a promotion to D.C. in late-May. The Nationals, who opened the season without a true matchup lefty in their bullpen, hoped he would help address an obvious need.

Abad fit the bill for a while. He wasn’t scored upon in any of his first 10 big-league appearances, and he boasted a 1.48 ERA by the end of July.

But Abad struggled after that and ended the season on a sour note. He was scored upon in six of his final 10 outings, putting 23 men on base in only 13 1/3 innings.

2014 outlook: Though he offered glimpses of success, Abad is in no way assured of returning next season. The Nationals have made it clear they intend to try to acquire a more reliable left-handed reliever this winter, so Abad is likely going to be a backup plan at best.

If he wants to earn his way back onto the roster — and stay there — there’s one key area Abad must improve: He needs to be able to get left-handed hitters out. Surprisingly, lefties hit .306 against him this year, a full 59 points better than righties did. If Abad can’t consistently retire left-handers, he’s going to have a mighty tough time sticking with the Nats … or with anyone.

  1. David Proctor - Oct 27, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    I don’t get Abad. He has really good stuff. Lefties who throw 95+ don’t grow on trees and he has some good offspeed pitches. But he got hit around and couldn’t get lefties out. It doesn’t make much sense to me.

    • Doc - Oct 27, 2013 at 3:13 PM

      Yeah, me too, DP. Certainly his stuff at AAA and when he first came up was outstanding.

      Abad seems to be wild in the zone. Better location, different times?

      Maybe needs to work things out more with Ramos and/or ? Maybe he’s tipping his pitches to lefties?

  2. Sam - Oct 28, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    Left-handed batters did better than right-handed batters when they hit the ball against Abad. However, Abad struck out 26% of left-handed batters he faced, compared to 15% of the right-handed batters he faced.

    K/BB vs. L: 5.67
    K/BB vs. R: 2.14

    Also important to note that lefties had a .395 BABIP against him, and righties had a .286 BABIP. Also note that in his career, lefties hit .269 (.317 wOBA) versus Abad, whereas righties hit .290 (.370 wOBA). So, the claim that Abad cannot get lefties out is based on a very small – and most likely unreliable – sample. I would definitely bring him back for a chance to compete for a bullpen job in Spring Training.

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