The Kameron Loe Experience, though not always profluent, will be coming to sixth and seventh innings in a ballpark near you.
The 6-foot-8 reliever is projected to maintain the same role he held in 2011 with the Brewers–bridging the gap between the starter and the back-end tandem of Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford. Loe’s ability to be able to pitch on any day, often for multiple innings, is a conducive asset for manager Ron Roenicke. He pitched in a team and career-high 72 games in 2011, accumulating 72 innings of work. Over two seasons with the Brewers after a 2009 stint in Japan, he has maintained a 3.18 era, 1.15 WHIP, and a 0.6 HR/9 ratio.
The 30-year-old Loe, who is, oddly enough, a former high school teammate of Ryan
Braun’s at Granada Hills High in Southern California, relies heavily on a heavy two-seam fastball/sinker. He is a control artist with it and can get the pitch to sink or cut depending on which fingers he places more pressure. In both 2010 and 2011, Loe has relied heavily on the two-seamer, throwing it 79.7% of the time and getting hitters to chase it 39.4% of the time, an insanely high number for a fastball-reliant pitcher. His second-best pitch is easily his Uncle Charlie, which is 10-12 mph slower than his mid-range fastball and can be used deceptively.
With the losses of LaTroy Hawkins and Takashi Saito, Loe remains one of the few proven veteran relief arms in the Brewers bullpen. His
workload and appearances in pressure situations will increase as a sixth and seventh inning man along with former Pirates great Jose Veras. Avoiding first-pitch groovers is a key for Loe, who was rocked at a .397 mark on the first two pitches of an at-bat in 2011. Once Loe merely threw a strike in the count, fortunes changed drastically; in the hitter’s count 3-1, batters only hit .200. Entering games with inherited runners will become more commonplace for Loe as the primary bridge reliever. Opponents batted .315 and slugged .479 with RISP against him last season, compared to a laudable .200 average in 165 PA’s with nobody on base.
2012 RtB Predictions: 3-5, 68 G, 70.1 IP, 3.51 era, 61 K, 21 BB, an expanding file of “That Loe guy stinks!” comments from my grandmother.