Aceves was ridiculously lucky in 2011 as an ace reliever (10-2 is vulture territory, and so are the rest of his peripherals below. So far in 2012 he has not been a particularly successful closer (0-6 and 20-24 saves isn't great for a closer), but he has not been especially unlucky. The key indicators of pitchers' luck from 2011 to 2012 (data from Fangraphs; league averages from memory, please update):
- HR/FB goes from 5.3% to 8.2 (league average close to 11%)
- BABIP goes from .231 to .272 (league average close to .300)
- LOB% goes from 80% to 68% (league average close to 75%)
Two key indicators of skill and risk are unchanged:
- GB% goes from 39.6 to 38.4
- BB/9 goes from 3.32 to 3.35
He's still who we thought he was -- a flyball pitcher with indifferent control, including the occasional HBP. But two other key indicators have jumped:
Something about the job has helped Aceves take the next step up -- it could be the shorter appearances; it could also be the high leverage, since Aceves seems to like the challenge.
Andrew Bailey might be back in six weeks, the god of thumbs permitting. Should he get the closer's job? Is Melançon's stuff good enough to merit another chance at high-leverage innings in the meantime?