2011 Dodgers Player Profile: Ramon Troncoso, Utility Man

If anything, Ramon Troncoso has arguably suffered from the fact that he's never had a defined role.  During the Joe Torre years, Troncoso has seen duty as a closer, a setup man, a long reliever, and was even rumoured to be considered as a spot starter (he was "stretched out" before 2009 but never recorded a start.)  As a result of his versatitily, Torre felt comfortable leaning on Troncoso heavily in 2009 which resulted in Tron pitching in 79 games which tied for the team lead (with Jonathan Broxton.)  Considering the heavy usage in 2009, some have questioned whether Torre's use of Troncoso in 2009 was a direct factor in his 2010 struggles. 

In 2010, Troncoso's ERA wasn't nearly as solid as it had been the prior year (2.72 in 2009 compared to 4.33 in 2010) and Troncoso had trouble staying with the major league squad. Despite the heavy workload, Troncoso has never been placed on the disabled list, but was optioned to the minors twice in 2010 for ineffectiveness. Despite the noticeable drop in ERA, Troncoso's peripherals stayed somewhat consistent. Troncoso's xFIP rose from 4.22 in 2009 to 4.45 in 2010 (not nearly as significant of a variance as his ERA) and Tron was really punished with the homerun ball as his HR/FB% went from 4.5% to 12.1%.  As such, it may be fair to say that Troncoso's drop off from 09 to 10 had more to do with bad luck and less to do with Joe Torre's bullpen policies.   

Trivia

Since 2008, Troncoso has pitched in 157 games which is 2nd most on the Dodgers and 34th in the National League. Despite being optioned twice in 2010, Troncoso still appeared in 52 games which ranked 5th on the club.

Contract Status

Troncoso was signed as an amateur free agent in 2002.   Tronocoso remains under club control, with 2.080 years of service time, and he has one option remaining.

Stats

Year Age IP BB/9 K/9 ERA FIP x-FIP tERA ERA+
2008
25 38 2.84 9.00 4.26 3.00 2.96 3.56 99
2009
26 82.2 3.70 5.99 2.72 3.58 4.22 3.81 147
2010 27 54 3.00 5.67 4.33 4.67 4.45 4.30 89
2011 Projections - Age 28 Season



Year
IP BB/9 K/9 ERA FIP


Bill James
53.0 3.57 6.45 4.25 3.99


Marcel
60.0 3.30 6.90 3.90 3.88


Baseball HQ
65.0 3.50 6.00 4.02


ZiPS
76.3 3.77 6.36 4.00


Troncoso has been having an impressive spring thus far (in a VERY small sample size.) He has pitched 4.2 innings and has only allowed three hits, no walks, no earned runs,  and four strikeouts.

2011 Outlook

With Vicente Padilla injured and Ronald Belisario being barred entry to the United States, Troncoso would seem to be the immediate beneficiary.  The odds of breaking camp on the 25 man roster (for the fourth consecutive year) seem pretty strong at the moment. The production with the big league club is harder to predict.  It seems simplistic and not terribly insightful to point out that Troncoso is probably a little bit better than he was in 2010 and not quite as good as he showed in 2009. While I believe luck has a bit to do with his struggles, I won't completely rule out overuse as a reason for the poor showing in 2010 either. I highlighted the HR/FB problem above, but it should be noted that Troncoso simply gave up more flyballs in general in 2010 (compared to his career.)  As a sinkerball pitcher, this could be the result of arm fatigue which may well be improved upon in 2011.

I do think Troncoso will contribute in the bullpen in 2011, spending most (if not all) of the season with the major league club. I predict a 3.85 / 3.75/ 4.10 line in 60 innings pitched. 

What is your prediction? Be sure to guess Troncoso's ERA, number of innings pitched for the Dodgers, plus anything else you would like to predict.

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