Chad Paronto came out of nowhere last year. Just another journeyman reliever to come out of baseball obscurity and become a valuable reliever with the Braves . It isn't all too shocking, that's something this organization has been well known for since Leo Mazzone's days. Last year's class of Chad Paronto, Tyler Yates, and Peter Moylan joined the past ranks, which include the likes of Kerry Ligtenberg, Juan Cruz, Mike Remlinger, Chris Hammond, and many others who were fringe players before finding success out of the Atlanta bullpen.
Paronto's best pre-Braves season came with the Indians in 2002 when he posted a 4.04 ERA in 35.2 innings for Cleveland. Between then and last year he struggled through the Indians, Brewers, and Cardinals organizations, getting only a cup of coffee with Cleveland. Then last year, after signing a minor league deal with Atlanta he posted a 1.02 ERA in 17.2 innings before getting the call. A much improved sinker brought with it†great success for the 31-year old in 2006. Paronto 56.2 innings with the big club, with a 3.18 ERA. He became the groundball specialist that Bobby Cox's bullpen had lacked since trading away Kevin Gryboski to the Rangers.
After adding a changeup over the offseason, the expectation for the big right-hander was that he would again be an interval part to the new and improved Braves bullpen. He met those requirements early on, allowing zero earned runs through his first five†appearances. Then, he in a game against the Marlins, he strained his groin and headed to the DL. When he came back, it was not easy sailing. With a sinker that had lost most of its bite, Paronto saw his ERA skyrocket from 2.25 all the way up six runs to 8.25 with a 10.24 ERA for the month of May.
I have to admit, all this was sparked by a recent comment from I read from a Braves fan saying we should release Chad Paronto. That comment came only a day ago and surprisingly, most of the fans that responded seemed to agree with him. Look at the numbers as a whole and I see where they are coming from; a 5.71 ERA isn't exactly what you'd call dominant, but it just seems like fans are completely ignoring what he has been doing lately. The sinker has regained its sharp drop-off, which has lead to a 2.00 ERA for June and no earned runs in his last six innings.† What does he have to do to stop the criticism?