Saturday, June 28, 2014


With more legal matters in his past than those referenced by Mouse and the Traps (who??), Alfredo Simon is truly a man who casts a shadow. (And, at 6'6", 265 lbs., it's not a small one.)

But it's taken Simon (who started out his MLB career with an alias...) until well into his thirties to make a splash. Coming into tonight's game in San Francisco (one of four organizations he bounced through in his circuitous journey), Simon, in his third year with the Cincinnati Reds, was an odds-on favorite for a berth on the NL All-Star team thanks to a 10-3 record.

And tonight, facing a team for whom he compiled a 6-20 record while in their minor league organization, Simon allowed just three hits and one run over seven innings. He left trailing 1-0, but was bailed out of a loss when Brandon Phillips hit a two-run HR in the top of the ninth. (The Reds went on to win, 7-3 in eleven innings, pushing the reeling Giants a bit closer to the Dodgers in the NL West.)

Simon had a couple of useful years in the Reds' bullpen after being picked up on waivers from the Orioles in early 2012, but rookie manager Bryan Price (who never got out of the minors as a low-level pitching prospect for the Angels and M's in the 1980s) helped make the decision to put the hulking right-hander into the starting rotation.

The results have been--well, surprising. Most sabermetric stats remain skeptical of Simon: FIP fingers him to fade sharply, while his BABIP is low enough (.243) to raise eyebrows. Our Quality Matrix measure (QMAX) is a bit more sanguine, however.

Currently Simon's QMAX averages are 3.13, 2.88/6.01. His QMAX Winning Percentage (QWP) is .627. The range data is also encouraging: he's hit the "success square" just under 70% of the time, and tonight's game (his first "1S" game of the year) brought him above the 30% mark in the "elite square."

This is all uncharted territory for Alfredo, of course, and baseball logs are littered with guys with impressive first halves who took a dive during the dog days. But we suspect that he'll stay within striking distance of these performance stats over the rest of the year, so long as he doesn't suddenly develop a weakness for the long ball.