The bonus for finally ending the Wes Helms Era was King, a fine lefty reliever the Brewers sent to get yet another guy who strikes out a lot and occasionally hits a home run. King was brilliant in 2000 and quite good in 2001-02, not easy when you play for Milwaukee. He’s another heavy guy, listed at 6-1, 242.
King’s main pitch against lefties is a slider, which they rarely hit, and when they do it’s with little authority; lefthanded batters hit .219/.296/.302 against him last season. Against righthanders, he’s merely mortal, giving up .280/.339/.399, but that’s actually pretty good for a pitcher pegged a lefty specialist, especially the control; most LOOGYs (lefthanded one-out guys, tm John Sickels) basically walk any righthanded hitter who can hurt them.
Coming in to writing this, I was thinking King would have to be used as a LOOGY, rather than an all-purpose setup man like Mike Remlinger, or Chris Hammond last year. I’m no longer so sure of that, looking at his splits. He’s better against lefthanders, that’s for sure, but he’s not necessarily just a specialist… He’s been used as a specialist, though. In three full seasons (all with the Brew Crew after a cup of coffee with the Cubs) he’s always had far fewer IP than appearances. Last year, he pitched in 76 games but for only 65 innings. That was actually the closest ratio of his Brewer career. In 2001, he pitched 82 games, 55 innings… Had a sore elbow in April that put him on the DL, but was fine the rest of the year. After the DL stint, he never went more than four games without pitching the rest of the season.