Nobody has walked people at a higher rate than Mike MacDougal in the last four seasons. (Harry How | Getty Images)
Anytime you earn a nickname as closer, you've done well for yourself. Such is the case for Mike MacDougal, the former closer who was once known as "Mac The Ninth" in Kansas City. He made the All-Star team with 2003 as a Royal, saving 27 games. The notoriety of once holding the sacred job of closer makes it easy to be noticed when fighting for a job in spring training.
Jon Heyman even took notice, tweeting on Friday, "dodgers think they've fixed the talented but perpetually underachieving mike macdougal (0.00 ERA so far this spring)." The only problem with that train of thought is that: (a) it's spring training; (b) that ERA of 0.00 is in all of 5 1/3 innings; and (c) MacDougal has actually walked four and struck out two this season.
Ah, the walks. They have plagued MacDougal in his entire career. He has walked 4.8 batters per nine innings in his career, but in recent years it has been worse. From 2007 to 2010, there have been 517 pitchers to throw 100 total innings or more. MacDougal has the worst walk rate out of all of them, at 6.46 walks per nine. In his last 132 1/3 major league innings, MacDougal has 95 walks and 99 strikeouts.
In the minors, MacDougal hasn't been much better, walking 5.01 batters per nine innings over the last three seasons. There has been talk this spring of MacDougal possibly making the club, with Ken Gurnick of MLB.com noting MacDougal's use of a neti pot this winter to help the reliever's chronic sinus problems.
In person, MacDougal is impressive. Watching him throw long toss on Friday with several other Dodgers, MacDougal stood out. He throws hard, and it is noticeable in a crowd.
The fact is, MacDougal hasn't been very good for quite some time. Even during his renaissance with the Nationals in 2009, when he saved 20 games for the third time in his career, his 3.60 ERA was belied by the fact that he had the same number of walks (31) as strikeouts. The Dodgers have numerous options for the bullpen, many of whom are already on the 40-man roster.
MacDougal tossed the first no-hitter in Wake Forest history, on March 12, 1999, against Duke.
MacDougal signed a minor league contract on January 28.
|2011 Projections - Age 34 Season|
I don't think MacDougal will make the team, and unless a few people get hurt he probably won't join the Dodgers this season. My prediction is zero innings for Mac the Ninth.
What is your prediction? Be sure to guess MacDougal's ERA, number of innings pitched for the Dodgers, plus anything else you would like to predict.