I was not a fan of the Rafael Soriano signing. It didn’t seem necessary and it was for too much money. Sure, it made the 2011 Yankees better (before the season started), but it was still a short sighted move. Regardless of my misgivings, the Yankees are “stuck” with Soriano (oh how awful).
2011 wasn’t a failure for Soriano, but it definitely didn’t live up to his career standards. There are three areas in particular that I think we’ll have to pay attention to in 2012 to see if they revert back to his career numbers.
First, let’s start with ERA. Soriano’s ERA was a semi-bloated 4.12 last year (108 ERA+). That’s not bad at all, but it’s definitely the exception for MFIKY and not the rule. His career ERA is a fantastic 2.86, giving him a robust 148 ERA+. Soriano hasn’t had an ERA that high since 2002 when he had 8 starts (10 games) for the Mariners and threw to a 4.56 ERA in 47.1 innings. What made it so much higher this year? Let’s look at the other two stats I want to watch in 2012.
Part of Rafael Soriano’s appeal is his control. His career BB/9 is 2.82. This year, though, it shot up to 4.12. Over his career, Rafael has stranded 78.8% of the runners who’ve reached against him. This year, that number was way down to 73.3%. Those numbers–more runners on and more runners scoring–help explain the the rise in ERA.
Of course we should also note that Soriano seems to have been hit a bit harder this year and had more balls land for hits against him. His BABIP shot up to .276 (.245 career) and his tERA was 4.38, the highest it’s been in a full season. If you prefer the StatCorner version, Soriano was at 4.16, which led to a 102 tRA+, the lowest of his career.