Mid-Season Review: The Bullpen | The Process Report

Mid-Season Review: The Bullpen

The All-Star Break is here. The Rays are 55-41, 2 1/2 games back of the division lead, and sit atop the American League’s Wild Card standings by half a game. Here is a look at the performance of Tampa Bay’s bullpen:

Fernando Rodney: Rodney’s early-season struggles skew his numbers the wrong way. He’s pitched better as of late, even if he won’t match last season’s success. There aren’t many pitchers in the game with better stuff than Rodney, who still works with a hot fastball and elite changeup.

Joel Peralta: No Rays pitcher has worked on consecutive days more often than Peralta. Likewise, no pitcher has worked out of jams better. He’s inherited 17 runners this season and allowed one to score. Peralta may not light up radar guns but he gets by with guts and guile. Add in his leadership qualities, which see him mentor other players throughout the organization, and his value to the club extends beyond his on-the-field production.

Jake McGee: For all the talk about McGee only having one pitch, it’s a pretty good pitch. He’s pulled the reins back on his early-season cutter usage and it appears to be for the best. When a pitcher has an elite fastball like McGee you don’t want him speeding up slow bats or hiding his heat for anyone. He’s returned to the basics and it’s working.

Alex Torres: Arguably the biggest surprise on the roster. Torres’ reliance on his changeup makes him a rare bird. His success to date is going to make it tough for the Rays to move him out of the bullpen, especially since he seemed headed in that direction to begin with. The stuff is good enough to envision Torres pitching in the late innings for years to come. Ultimately his command and control will determine when and for how long.

Jamey Wright: The old man is still useful. Wright is posting career-highs in various categories of importance, and continues to show the ability to spin the baseball. Getting underneath Wright’s stuff with any kind of authority continues to be a challenge for opposing hitters.

Kyle Farnsworth: A rough start aside, Farnsworth has pitched better since yielding the game-winning hit to Jose Bautista in late May. He’s not striking out as many batters as he used to, and he’ll probably allow more hits heading forward, but he’s done a nice job of avoiding walks. Farnsworth might not be the late-inning force he was in the previous few seasons, yet he’s not hurting the team as a seldom-used middle reliever.

Cesar Ramos: Last season’s less-impressive version of Torres. Ramos has quietly maintained the strike-throwing gains he made in 2012. Batters have found it tough to elevate his pitches, as he’s allowed a .071 ISO—or a figure lower than Aroldis Chapman. Ramos is the closest thing the Rays have to a long man at this point, which cuts both ways since it provides him with some extended, if sporadic work.



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