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Rafael Soriano does not care about the bats of the AL East

Feb 22, 2010, 1:17 PM EDT

rafael soriano.jpgGary Shelton of the St. Petersburg Times catches up with new Rays’ closer Rafael Soriano, who is as cool as a cucumber:

Jeter and A-Rod, you say. And he does not quiver. Ortiz and Youkilis, you say. And he does not flinch.

Teixeira and Hill, you are about to say. And he does not wait
for you to finish because the list of imposing American League East
hitters is long.

“I do not care,” Rafael Soriano says softly, firmly. “If I am
healthy, if I am on the mound, I do not care who the hitter is. I am
good, too.”

I absolutely love this response and I wish everyone asked about how tough the AL East is said something similar.

Yes, it’s a good division. Even tougher than it has been if the Orioles take the step forward many are expecting them to take.  But still, every major leaguer is a pro who, at some point in their lives, was the absolute best at what they did in their given peer group. The difference between being merely good and truly elite are not as great as many people realize.

There are differences in quality between the AL and the NL at present, and there are differences between the AL East and everyone else as well. But those differences are not akin to those between day and night or man and boy, and frankly, I’m tired of the exaggerations.

  1. GimmeSomeSteel - Feb 22, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    I love his attitude. He’s moving up my closer list.

  2. Union - Feb 22, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    “and there are differences between the AL East and everyone else as well.”
    Overblown media coverage?

  3. Lawrence From Plattekill - Feb 22, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    So what’s the actual difference? How much more of an era can a pitcher expect in the AL east compared with the NL west?

  4. BC - Feb 22, 2010 at 2:04 PM

    He’ll care when he’s 2-7 with 10 blown saves and a 5.00 ERA.

  5. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Feb 22, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    So what’s the actual difference? How much more of an era can a pitcher expect in the AL east compared with the NL west?

    OPS of teams from ’09:
    Yankees – 1
    Boston – 2
    TB – 5
    Toronto – 8
    Baltimore – 16
    NL E:
    Philly – 6
    Florida – 13
    Atlanta – 17
    Washington – 18
    Mets – 22
    Draw your own conclusions, but he goes from facing 6/13/18/22 to facing 1/2/8/16. He’ll have a tougher year, but we could all just chalk that up to the unreliability of relievers.

  6. Nasty Boy - Feb 22, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    He”ll be singing a different tune when he goes to Yankee stadium with all that left handed power, and facing the right field wind tunnel. This isn’t the National league. Whatever your era is there, just tack a run to two depending on the pitcher on it. He is gonna love seeing his pitches being slammed off the green monster too. The Orioles park is hardly pitcher friendly. I can’t wait to hear you ask for a trade back to the NL. Good luck Raffy , your gonna need it.

  7. Alan - Feb 22, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    He’s pitched just fine against the AL East over his career, gave up zero runs in seven games last season which is obviously far too small a sample to mean anything but at least isn’t evidence that he’ll struggle. Only thing that concerns me about him is his fragility; talent-wise he was the best reliever to change teams this offseason.

  8. Josh Fisher - Feb 22, 2010 at 3:59 PM

    Teixeira and Hill, you are about to say.
    Glenallen? Or Ken?

  9. Josh Fisher - Feb 22, 2010 at 4:03 PM

    Must mean Aaron…I keep forgetting that guy’s good.

  10. Jon S. - Feb 22, 2010 at 5:09 PM

    I love major league trash-talking!!!
    Of course, I also love pro wrestling. Just as long as everyone realizes it’s all just a game…

  11. Bob R. - Feb 22, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    The sample sizes are too small from which to judge, and the teams he is now facing in the AL East as well as the NY ball park are different from those he faced in other years. But not every pitcher who moves to the AL East declines, nor is there anything in Soriano’s history there to suggest he will. Here are his lines vs each team:
    Boston: 56 PAs; .192/.250/.365; 3.50K/BB
    NY: 38 PAs; .147/.237/.147; 1.75K/BB
    Balt: 89 PAs; .225/.295/.363; 1.71K/BB
    Tor: 45 PAs; .071/.133/.119; 9.50K/BB
    His performance in the 5 AL East ball parks is similarly outstanding, albeit in even fewer PAs. His OPS allowed ranges from .118 to .661, again in very few innings of course. No doubt it is possible that with more exposure he will do more poorly, but Soriano is an excellent reliever (if healthy, an important if) and cannot be dismissed too casually.

  12. Markus - Feb 22, 2010 at 5:41 PM


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