A part of just about any championship team includes a career year or two. Juan Berenguer fell into that mix. Berenguer’s career spanned fifteen years and was pretty unspectacular. He played for seven different teams, and went from being a starter, to a spot starter/middle reliever, to a reliever, doing well but not exceptional everywhere he went. His best role seemed to be as a reliever, when he pitched for Twins and helped them win their championship in 1987.
While he didn’t log an inning in the post season, Juan Berenguer started 27 games for Sparky and won 11 of them. He looked great at times, but also took his share of beatings. But in the end, he had one of the better strikeout rates on the team, and was one of Sparky’s hardest throwers.
Let’s take a look at the numbers:
Innings Pitched 168 1/3
Pitching Runs Above Replacement 43
Berenguer gave up his share of walks, but he also was pretty good at not letting the ball go over the fence. All in all, he gave the Tigers a nice option as a number four starter, and in my opinion, would mop the floor with Fred Norman if they went head to head.
Scorecard – 1975 Reds 6, 1984 Tigers 6
Also, a quick postscript. Berenguer pitched in four of the five games for the Twins in the ALCS, taking the Tigers to task. I’ve never completely forgiven him for this.