Purgatory Online

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Continuing the rundown of non-roster invitees looking to impress in spring training, let's take a look at a pair of dark horse pitchers.

Eric Cyr is a big ol' left-hander from Oklahoma. He'll be 25 in a couple of weeks, so he's rapidly approaching his sell-by date, but the Angels will likely give him a long look inasmuch as they've got exactly one southpaw on the major league roster, and they may be looking to trade that one. Cyr has been in a few different organizations, but has shown generally good command and flashes of brilliance. In 2001, with Lake Elsinore of the advanced-A California League, he posted a 1.61 ERA in 100.2 innings (appearing in 21 games), giving up 68 hits and walking 24 while striking out a spectacular 131 and surrendering only one homer. He also performed well in 2002, splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A (with a very brief stint as a San Diego Padre at the end of June and beginning of July), but saw his numbers come back to earth a little bit in 2003, when he put up a 4.96 ERAin 103.1 innings, giving up 91 hits and 52 walks versus 78 strikeouts, with nine home runs. Opposing batters hit .236 against him, and I suspect that the Angels will end up moving him to Triple-A Salt Lake to start the 2004 season. Cyr will be under significant pressure to impress, given his age and the fact that Bobby Jenks, Ervin Santana, and Chris Bootcheck all figure to be vying for any potential opening in an already crowded rotation.

Pete Zamora, meanwhile, will turn an even crustier 29 years old during the 2004 season, so this may be the last time he gets a chance to catch someone's eye. Zamora has toiled in the minors since 1997, generally working middle relief or closing. He's spent the last three seasons in the International League, and put up solid numbers each time:

2001: 8-4, 3 SV, 2.93 ERA, 89 IP, 64 H, 41 BB, 79 K, 7 HR
2002: 5-2, 15 SV, 3.48 ERA, 62 IP, 63 H, 29 BB, 32 K, 2 HR
2003: 5-3, 1 SV, 3.49 ERA, 90.1 IP, 94 H, 32 BB, 53 K, 3 HR

I'm mildly surprised Zamora never made it up for even so much as a cup of coffee during those three years, but, then again, I may just be used to seeing pitching numbers from the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. In any event, Zamora, like Cyr, is a lefty, and could be good insurance in case the Angels' bullpen (exclusively righties at the moment) stops getting left-handed hitters out.

Tomorrow, we'll move on to some of the position players on the list.