Sure, anyone can sign Gil Meche to a big contract and watch him exceed expectations. But what will ultimately decide the success or failure of the Dayton Moore Regime is the organization's ability to find low-cost, high-performance contributors. While Ryan Shealy has flopped and Jorge de la Rosa has been somewhat uneven, Moore, at the moment at least, can claim two major scores with Joakim Soria and Brian Bannister.
Bannister (7-6, 3.45 ERA) seemed like an odd fit this winter when Moore traded him for A. Burgos, but through 17 starts Banny has given rise to the hope that he can occupy the high-end of the Bob Tewksbury spectrum. While it must be pointed out that the American League has a way of grinding these kind of pitchers down, a select few are able to escape the "second-time through the league" buzzsaw and become reliable pitchers. At the micro-level, one of the most impressive things about Banny's 2007 is that he's been able to last relatively deep into games, suggesting that even after hitters see him a few times, he's still crafty enough to get them out:
Brian Bannister's Inning's Pitched Game Log
While not an unproblematic stat, a team's record behind a starting pitcher can give a rough approximation of how useful the man has been. In Bannister's case, the Royals are 9-8 in his starts, despite the fact that he's only getting an average of 4.18 runs of support. In a recent interview with BP, Bannister came off as a humble, thoughtful guy, and someone willing to venture beyond the unambitious horizons of jock-speak. Thus, as a small gesture of gratitude, Royals Review presents Brian with a short selection from the English poet Gavin Ewart.
Variation on a Theme of William Blake: Ambitions of Young Women
Some girls long to influence men's hearts
but others concentrate on other
equally private parts
The difference between churches and factories
everyone understands ---
it's the difference between the laying on
and the laying off of hands.
The Father of English Poetry
Spade-bearded Geoffrey Chaucer
only rhymes with saucer --
a word that wasn't around
when everybody (and everybody went for)
that marvellous Chaucer sound.
Bannister faces off against Boof Bonser.
This means: Beguiling Brian Bannister will begin to battle Boof Bonser before bunches of brave, boisterous baseball backers... tonight at the K.