Name: Drew Storen
Position: Relief Pitcher/ Closer
Heading into the 2013 season, expectations were high for Drew Storen. While Storen had had a rough finish to his 2012 season with his infamous game 5 blown save against the Cardinals, he was coming off a season in which he recovered excellently from bone chip surgery and was lights-out upon returning. After giving up eight home runs in 2011, Storen didn’t allow a single long ball in his 30 innings of 2012, and lowered his WHIP to a microscopic 0.989.
While Storen was “demoted” from his closers role to a setup man due to the offseason signing of Rafael Soriano, he was expected to continue to put up excellent numbers and be a part of what was projected to be the most dominant bullpen in the NL.
Drew Storen had a very up and down 2013 season. While he started off slowly in the season, posted a 5.23 ERA in April, he recovered in May and June, posting an ERA just south of 3. However, he simply imploded in July. He allowed 14 earned runs in just over nine innings, and was demoted to Triple A Syracuse on July 26th. However, he returned to the team in August with a new delivery, and pitched relatively well for the rest of the season. He finished the year with an ERA of 4.52.
While it is easy to just look at Drew Storen’s ERA and say it was a disappointing season, it isnt that simple. Storen dealt with some bad luck, shown by his BABIP of .324. In addition, Storen’s peripheral stats were impressive. He struck out almost a batter an inning and had a walk rate per nine under three. While Storen certainly dealt with some command issues inside the strike zone in 2013, as his slider had a tendency to flatten out and hang, his struggles had more to do with bad luck than an actual lack of performance. In fact, his demotion in July was likely more to help him deal with his struggles mentally than the team not needing him.
I’m very optimistic that Drew Storen will rebound in 2014. I think he’ll continue to show the promise he showed after his promotion in August and will be one of the top set up men in the National League. I believe he will average near a strikeout an inning and while he won’t collect many saves due to the presence of Soriano, he and Tyler Clippard will rack up plenty of holds. After all, Drew Storen hasn’t lost his mid 90′s two seamer and his sharp slider. FanGraphs predicts similar success for Storen, expecting an ERA in the low threes in 55 innings.