2009 O’s Retrospective: Alfredo Simon

In the first part of my almost 50 part series “Better Know An Oriole” (otherwise known as 2009 Orioles Retrospective), I take a look at pitcher Alfredo Simon… THE FIGHTIN’ FREDO!

Alfredo Simon pitching: will it be a HR or a line-drive hit?

As I had previously indicated, I’d like to look at each player who appeared in an O’s uniform this season. Turns out, that’s almost 50 players. Since I sometimes don’t completely finish these series projects when I undertake them, I thought I’d get a head start with the guys for whom things won’t change in the next couple weeks as the regular season draws to a close. First up is the man who started the year as the Orioles’ #3 starter; Alfredo Simon. (How many of you forgot that he existed?)

Before the season I said:

“A call-up late in 2008 resulting in 13 innings of 6.23 ERA ball; visa problems causing a late arrival to Spring Training; and now a spot as potentially the #3 starter to begin the season. Who the heck is Alfredo Simon?

Simon was picked by the O’s in the Rule V draft back in 2006, and then was signed again in 2008 off of a Mexican league team (I think – I can’t find the exact info). He spent 2007 at Triple-A for Texas putting up a 6.43 ERA (5.36 FIP), and 2006 pitching for San Fransisco at Triple-A with a 6.75 ERA (5.12 FIP) and A+ with a 6.44 ERA (5.02 FIP). His control seems OK (BB/9 around 3.5 the last few years) but he doesn’t strike out many guys (5.5 K/9 in ’07 and in ’08 for the O’s) despite having some good velocity on his fastball (93.5 mph in his 13 innings in the majors) and a good speed differential with his change-up (82.6 mph) and curveball (75.1 mph). Unfortunately I don’t have any Pitch/FX data for him yet (I’m sure there will be some available not long into the season), but it seems like he doesn’t have much movement on his pitches (especially the heater) and that’s what holds him back. being prone to the longball probably doesn’t held either (1.38 – 1.93 HR/9 throughout the minors).”

I didn’t have much faith in Simon, predicting a 5.43 ERA in 70 IP for 2009.  Well Alfredo didn’t even come close to either of those. In his first start of the season – against the New York Yankees no less – Simon managed to get through 5 innings but gave up 4 runs on 4 hits (2 HR) and 2 walks while K’ing 3. He still took the loss.  His second game was a good deal worse, giving up 3 solo home runs to the Rangers in 1.1 IP before leaving the game with the injury that would cost him the rest of the season.  His final 2009 line was 6.1 IP, 9.95 ERA, 13.35 FIP, and a hilarious 7.11 HR/9. His control was OK at 2.84 BB/9, but that way have been a result of batters being anxious to get a crack at him.  Simon had Tommy John surgery in May and isn’t too likely to pitch for the Orioles – or possibly anyone – again.