Is John Axford Over the Hump?

May 11, 2011


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Before the season started I urged you to use caution when drafting John Axford. While he had the potential to pile up the saves, he struggled with his control at times.
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Right out of the gate he got blasted, blowing a save against the Reds in extreme fashion. Axford gave up four runs that day to walk away with a 54.00 ERA. In his seventh appearance Axford would blow another save. This time he only gave up one run, but he walked two batters. That gave him six walks in his first 6-1/3 innings.
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Had had allowed a run in three of his first seven outings. He only had on appearance that he did not allow a hit. With an 8.53 ERA and a  2.21 WHIP, Axford was a major disappointment.
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Since his second blown save, Axford had converted all four of his save attempts. He has a 2.25 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP in eight one-inning appearances. Three of his appearances he did not allow a hit, but more importantly, he hasn’t walked a batter over that stretch.
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As long as his control is under control, Axford can be one of the better closers in the National League. Despite his struggles, he has seven saves and 16 strikeouts in 14-1/3 innings. He certainly has Ron Roenicke’s confidence as he never put his closer on the hot seat. After Axford’ second blown save, Roenicke said “I’m really not concerned about him. He’s got too many good pitches to get hitters out.”
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While he may have another rough patch or two, Axford remains a solid option.
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