Friday, July 2, 2010

The Loe Down on Kameron

June 1st, 2010- Milwaukee Brewers purchase contract of RHP Kameron Loe from AAA Nashville

That was the headline I received on that day. I was less than enthused about Loe. I remembered hearing about his very large pet snake while he was pitching for the Rangers, but outside of that, there was little to be excited about as a Brewers fan.

He had started 10 games for AAA Nashville. His line was nothing to write home about. In 62.2 innings, he struck out just 39 batters and walked 19. Not bad, but not great at the same time. The one thing Loe was able to do was keep the ball on the ground, something many Brewers pitchers can struggle with. His career GB:FB ratio was just over two. Very good numbers, but his K:BB was still worrysome.

The Brewers got Loe after he pitched in Japan last season for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. In 27 innings there, he walked 12 and struck out just 18 en route to a 6.33 ERA. Keeping the ball on the ground can only do so much. Pitchers still need to somewhat limit the amount of balls put in play and not walk batters.

For these reasons, I'll admit, I didn't think much of Loe when he was called up.

Then, Loe started showing much more than his periferals would've suggested. Here are his numbers since his promotion.

14 Games
18.1 Innings
0.49 ERA
8 Hits
2 Runs (1 Earned)
15 Strikeouts
6 Walks

That already adds up to a 0.5 WAR. Pretty impressive for a pitcher the Brewers were expecting very little out of. His FIP currently stands at a very impressive 2.48, so his numbers would suggest some luck is involved in his start.

So what can we expect from Kameron going forward?

Loe has a current BAA of .134. His BABIP is .179. I think just about everyone can agree those numbers cannot continue. I don't care if you are Cliff Lee, that is unsustainable. His line drive percentage is at a relatively high 22.2%, which also coincides with the very good fortunes he has had thus far. Loe's career BABIP is .311, which is where I would expect him to go from here.

Even when Loe comes back down to earth a bit, it doesn't mean he can't be a productive pitcher out of the bullpen. If he is able to keep up his solid K:BB ratio and keep the ball on the ground, he could be okay. He is getting batters to swing at balls out of the zone 37.8% of the time. That is a career high for Loe and much better than the current league average of 28.5%. That could be the main reason for his increase in strikeouts and decrease in walks. Right now, Loe's GB:FB ratio for this year is better than 2:1. That can be a very solid weapon for Ken Macha to use to induce important groundballs in last game situations.

Regression for Loe is going to happen. No one can keep up the incredible amount of fortunate bounches he has gotten this year. If he is able to keep missing bats at a solid rate and induce a large number of groundballs, he could be a very nice find for the Brewers. One thing is for sure, I didn't see this coming.

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