Then, Fogg made headlines in September and October by pitching during the Rockies' amazing postseason run, including the one-game playoff against the San Diego Padres for the wild card berth (which, unfortunately, turned out to be the best game of the playoffs). Fogg earned his nickname "Dragon Slayer" by besting several top pitchers in September, including Brandon Webb, Chris Young, and Derek Lowe, while also holding his own against Brad Penny. He also pitched an impressive Game 3 in the NLCS before losing Game 3 of the World Series in spectacular fashion.
Fogg turned down a $5 million contract offer by the Rockies this offseason thinking he could get more on the market, but ultimately settled for a $1 million deal with the Reds. As he put it, "the offseason didn't go like a lot of free agents planned." Apparently, teams are unwilling to shell out the cash for sub-Carlos Silva starters these days.
Josh Kalk's pitchf/x card on Fogg confirms that he's a soft-tosser (88 mph fastball), but that he also throws a sinker, slider, and change-up. Top comparables in terms of pitch types and action include Mark Redman, Claudio Vargas, and Phil Dumatrait. Here's a figure showing his pitches from Kalk's site:
Projections and value
Based on my RAR and FIPRuns estimates, both of which are park corrected, Fogg has averaged ~14-16 runs above replacement per season over the past several years. So, we can call him a ~+1.5 win pitcher over that time frame.
Projecting into next season, I'll subtract a half-win for aging and such, and assume he remains in the rotation. That puts him at +1 wins in 2008, which would value him at $4.4 million. Pretty nice pickup for just $1 million.
Of course, the groan from fans is likely to be that we now could potentially start the season with this rotation:
And meanwhile, Bailey, Cueto, Volquez, and Maloney could all start the season in AAA.
I tend to think that this will not happen. My guess is that Bailey will need to pitch badly in spring training to not make the club. Affeldt's chances of making the rotation may be reduced as long as Bill Bray is unable to pitch. I'm also thinking that Belisle's spot is a bit more tenuous now that Fogg is in the picture, as he's no longer the only guy around with experience in the back end of the rotation.
Overall, my personal ranking of the starting candidates prior to playing any spring training games is: Harang, Arroyo, Bailey, Belisle, Volquez, Fogg, Affeldt, Cueto, and Maloney. The latter two are placed where they are simply because they've thrown so few innings above AA. I also rank Volquez and Fogg very close to one another going into this season, though Volquez clearly has the higher upside. It's going to be interesting to see how this all plays out.
Even if it is the case that we do see the above rotation to start the year, I'm going to try not to freak out. That rotation won't last an entire season, and the young kids will almost certainly play their way back into the rotation once one or more of the older guys either get hurt or are proven ineffective. It's nice to have some depth. And who knows? Maybe one of Fogg or Affeldt will be a guy who can net an A-ball prospect come July if the Reds aren't in it.