We recently explored the position players who earned big early-season roles after entering camp on minor-league deals. That’s no guarantee of continued success — or even ongoing opportunities. Some have already been dropped from their respective rosters. The same holds to an even greater extent in the ever-changing world of relief pitching.
Let’s have a look at the relievers who have already thrown at least six frames after settling for minors pacts over the offseasons …
- Nick Vincent, Giants: Perhaps we should stop being surprised by Vincent, who has mostly churned out quality results at the MLB level. He owns a 2.03 ERA through 13 1/3 innings with the Giants and is on track to hold onto a big-league job all season long — perhaps in a different city, if he’s dealt.
- Alex Wilson, Brewers: Another pitcher who struggled to find a job despite an established track record of solid innings, Wilson has not found success thus far in Milwaukee. He’s generating 10.6 K/9 but an untenable 6.6 BB/9 and 1.64 HR/9, leaving him with an unsightly 8.18 ERA.
- Ryne Harper, Twins: He’s carrying a 2.70 ERA through ten frames of action. While the peripherals don’t jump off of the page, it’s a solid start for a pitcher who waited a long time for a shot at the majors.
- Javy Guerra, Blue Jays: Though he was recently designated for assignment, Guerra was able to generate a dozen strikeouts in ten innings. He did that in spite of a middling 6.5% swinging-strike rate, however, and was drawing grounders just 28.0% of the time.
- Luis Avilan, Mets: The 29-year-old has generated very little soft contact to this point and has coughed up two long balls. That has left him with ten earned runs in his nine innings, though the Mets will likely allow him some leash to right the ship.
- Luke Bard, Angels: He was given a shot to open the season but was just optioned after 8 2/3 innings. Bard gave up three long balls in that span, but did show a 13.6% swinging-strike rate and managed to hold onto his 40-man spot for the time being.
- Jeanmar Gomez, Rangers: The veteran has solid K/BB numbers but has been tagged for a whopping .481 batting average on balls in play. He’s just not fooling anyone at the moment (6.3% SwStr%, 50.0% hard-hit rate).
- Francisco Liriano, Pirates: It has been a pleasing return to Pittsburgh for the southpaw, who’s getting strikeouts (12.3 per nine) and grounders (52.6%) to begin the season. The 35-year-old is also doling out a few too many free passes, as usual, but a 14.8% swinging-strike rate suggests that the ball is coming out of his hand well.