Chad Durbin came to the Phillies as a mediocre swingman who’d spent his entire career in AL Central purgatory. Since then, he’s been (alternately) the bread upon which a World Series title sandwich was built, and a man for whom his fielders didn’t need to show up–whoever he faced either walked or hit a home run.
I once wrote of J.A. Happ that I had no idea how he was effective–he didn’t throw particularly hard or have earth-shattering breaking stuff. But he was. Chad Durbin is much the same. He throws five pitches, all of which (according to FanGraphs) were within 3 1/2 runs of league average in 2010.
In 2008, that mediocre stuff helped Durbin put in an outstanding season in middle relief: 87 innings pitched and a 2.87 ERA. In 2009, Durbin’s control deserted him to the tune of more than six walks per nine IP and a 4.39 ERA that wasn’t half as bad as his performance warranted. For all the talk of which Jimmy Rollins or which Cole Hamels would show up in 2010, Durbin had posted a similar Jekyll-and-Hyde run.
In 2010, Durbin more or less split the difference: a career high K/9 ratio for a full season, a walk rate of 3.5 BB/9, which was more or less in line with his 2008 numbers, and a 3.80 ERA. However, Durbin’s xFIP, which takes into account the various random batted ball and fielding factors, was a career low, even lower than his 2008 mark. With injuries and the constant instability of Brad Lidge marking the back end of the Phillies’ rotation, Durbin, along with Jose Contreras, helped stabilize the middle innings.
Grade: 7.5/10–Durbin wasn’t as lucky as he was in 2008, and battled injuries in midseason, but his 2010 numbers were pretty much what you’d ask for from a middle reliever.
Pat Gallen’s Grade: 7.3/10 — Durbin is always solid and was again in 2010, although the injury knocked him out for a long stretch. He may not be back next year but he’s always been a class act and given it his all on the mound.