Chad Durbin, RP (RHP)
2008: 87.2 IP / 5-4 / 2.87 ERA / 35 BB / 63 K / 1 SV / 6 BS / 1.32 WHIP
Summary: For the first three-fourths of the 2008 season, Chad Durbin may have been the team’s most valuable player. Patching up a large hole in the Phillies bullpen, Durbin threw key innings as both a long man and situational pitcher. His coming-out party was a six-strikeout washout of the Mets on July 4. Soon, though, hitters figured him out enough to drop his ERA closer to 3.00. Left-handers drilled him (.311/.401/.394), but he was very effective against righties (.214/.284/.305).
Career Level: Prime (Year 2)
Green Flags: The righty splits are encouraging and scream that he’s more situational than standard. … Durbin’s K rates came back up to respectable levels (6.47 K/9) in 2008. … While his fastball averaged greater velocity in 2008, Durbin relied much more on his slider than ever (38.1 percent from 18.7 percent). That was an effective pitch against righties. Meanwhile, he threw his changeup less — it seems it worked.
Red Flags: Batters hit line drives 20.6 percent against him, as opposed to 15.6 percent in 2007. … He only let up 0.51 home runs per nine in 2008, but that’s far below his average (1.35), so it might be an anomaly. … That he had a poor second half shows hitters might have figured him out quickly.
Prognostication: Durbin’s 2008 was a reason the Phillies were so effective late in games. He probably won’t repeat that success, but there’s reason to believe the drop won’t be that bad. He has engineered his pitches well, and knows the slider spells more success. Look for some shaky outings, but the good should still outweigh the bad.
2009 Projection: 79.2 IP / 4-5 / 3.50 ERA / 32 BB / 55 K / 1 SV / 5 BS / 1.37 WHIP