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Straight A's: Grades for 2006 - Esteban Loaiza

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Ah yes, Esteban Loaiza. THE early season pariah of Athletics Nation. THE hated signing of the hot stove season 2005. THE pitcher who should've come with a warning, "Do not add alcohol to contents for it can cause a combustible combination, especially when mixed with a Ferrari."

What a fun player to try and give a grade. Loaiza was a Dickens novel this year...it was the best of months, it was the worst of months. Loaiza had the second best single month in Oakland Athletics history in August. Without that month, his season might've been a complete disaster. He spent several weeks on the disabled list, but his ERA in April was 8.35, June was 4.91, July was 7.26 and September was 5.11. If not for his four win, no loss, 1.48 ERA August the year might've been a complete disaster.

But Loaiza ultimately wound up earning enough trust from the A's front office to earn a spot as the second starter in the rotation. It was probably the fact that Loaiza had the best August and September of any A's starter (the September stats for the A's starting pitching as a whole were awful).

It's hard to judge Loaiza's stats as a whole, especially because he was essentially throwing batting practice for the first month of the season. Seriously, I think his fastest pitch was 83 mph. By the end of the year in the playoffs, he was hitting 94 mph. Loaiza also failed the A's in his start against the Tigers, but did give the A's a good start against the Twins.

Ultimately, the stats that the A's needed from Loaiza weren't there. But the A's might've not been in the playoffs if not for Loaiza's August.

He's a challenging player to grade for that reason, but I have to go on the overall stats and they aren't good, despite the 11 wins. I do expect Loaiza to be better next year whereas his final ERA will be closer to four rather than the five it was in 2006.

FINAL GRADE: C-