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Craig Breslow isn't a starter

Craig Breslow is marketing himself as a starting pitcher after only two starts. That’s probably not the greatest idea considering he’s barely even a rosterable relief pitcher.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Craig Breslow is a Major League veteran journeyman, who throughout his decade long career has predominantly served as a mediocre relief pitcher. The Brewers drafted the 35-year-old southpaw out of Yale in 2002. He made his MLB debut for the Padres in 2005 before bouncing around between the Red Sox, Indians, Twins, Athletics, Diamondbacks, and Red Sox again. In total, Breslow has accumulated a mere 1.9 fWAR over the course of his career, with a season high of 0.9 which he posted while with the Twins in 2008.

Breslow was healthy throughout 2015 after battling injuries in prior years, yet was hardly distinguishable in his 43 appearances out of the bullpen. Breslow does not strike out many batters, walks a significant amount, and gives up plenty of long-balls.

Games Innings Earned Runs Hits Walks Strikeouts Home Runs ERA FIP xFIP
Relief 43 55.2 28 62 21 42 10 -- -- --
Starting 2 9.1 2 7 2 4 2 -- -- --
Total 45 65 30 69 23 46 12 4.15 5.27 5.07

In total Breslow posted a -0.6 fWAR, the third-lowest total of any qualified major league reliever. The numbers back it up too — Breslow had the tenth-highest ERA and the third-worst FIP and xFIP for any qualified reliever in the game. His 6.79 K/9 is in the bottom quarter in strikeout rate (114 out of 137), his 3.4 BB/9 is in the bottom third in walk rate, and he posted the fourth highest home run rate of any reliever (as an aside, Alexi Ogando's numbers actually were worse than most of Breslow' think Dave Dombrowski has a bullpen issue on his hands!).

Considering the evidence and his lack of effectiveness as a relief pitcher, Breslow probably tossed two magnificent starts to show potential suitors something, right? Nope. He was mediocre in his two spot starts, and all the peripheral numbers aligned with his regular season totals. He did not get out of the fifth inning in either start, and went only four in his first start of the year which came against the Orioles. Four innings, four hits, two strikeouts. Not a whole lot there to make one think this man makes sense for a back-end of the rotation spot.

In his next and last start of the year — and of his career, mind you — he went 5.1 innings and gave up five hits and two solo home runs. He left the Red Sox in decent shape when skipper Torey Lovello pulled him, but still, there's nothing spectacular about this start either.

The only reason Breslow made two spot starts for the Red Sox is because the team was so far out of contention, it barely mattered. Breslow doesn't strike anyone out, walks the park, and when players do make contact, they do so at one of the worst home run rates for any reliever in the game. The truth is Craig Breslow gets lit up far too often to take the mound as a starter and is a fringe reliever at this point in his career; how's that for light and truth?


Steven Martano is an Editor at Beyond the Box Score and a Contributing Prospect Writer for the Colorado Rockies at Purple Row. You can follow him on Twitter at @SMartano.