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VEB 2018 Community Projections: Brett Cecil

The lefty reliever had an up-and-down first season in St. Louis. Can Brett Cecil gain the trust of Cardinals fans in 2018?

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals-Media Day Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

In 2017, St. Louis Cardinals reliever Brett Cecil was just kind of there. He had a high-threes ERA, a low-threes FIP—it was the kind of season that if it were had by a mid-twenties rookie making the league minimum and coming out of the bullpen, you wouldn’t give him a second thought. It was actually an improvement by ERA and FIP (and innings), so one might even think Cecil had a bit of a breakthrough in 2017.

This was not the perception of Cecil’s season by and large among Cardinals fans. When the former Toronto Blue Jays reliever was signed in November 2016 to a four-year, $30.5 million free agent contract, expectations were that Cecil would emerge not necessarily as a closer, but as a stalwart member of the bullpen. By the standards of expecting excellence, Brett Cecil was somewhat underwhelming, though he was hardly a disaster—he struck out 8.82 batters per nine innings and walked 2.14 per nine. Additionally, he became something of a reverse-splits monster, allowing a .230 wOBA against righties (versus .392 against lefties).

The nature of a relief pitcher season is that quick bursts of poor performance can dramatically impact the perception of the season as a whole. In his second game as a Cardinal, Pham allowed four earned runs and recorded zero outs. If you remove only that performance, Cecil’s 3.88 ERA is cut down to 3.34. There is a huge difference in perception between a 3.88 ERA and a 3.34 ERA.

But which do you think more accurately reflects what Brett Cecil really is? Vote on his 2018 projected performance below, but first, check out what ZiPS, Steamer, and Baseball Prospectus have to say.