A few weeks back, I wrote a piece outlining why I thought Carter Capps has the makings of an elite relief pitcher. This week I am taking my second crack at finding a player who has the makeup to dominate in the late innings.
In my first attempt, I took the pure sum of the z-scores of six different metrics (K/9, BB/9, HR/9, GB%, Contact%, and SwingStrike%) and Capps found himself at the top of the leaderboards. This time around I took a slightly different approach; I averaged together the three metrics that correlate to strikeouts. Then I took that number and averaged it with the remaining three metrics to get the average z-score for each pitcher. This list was topped by a number of current closers including Zach Britton and Luke Gregerson. In order to find guys who were under-utilized in 2015 I took a look at all pitchers who threw between 20 and 40 innings out of the ‘pen.
The list is once again topped by Capps and he is followed by a couple of lefties in Marc Rzepczynski and Randy Choate. Behind that pair of lefties, there are a couple of youngsters in Aaron Sanchez and Mychal Givens. This post only considers the numbers Sanchez posted as a reliever in 2015, but he also made eleven starts over the course of the season. Sanchez had better numbers out of the ‘pen showing better K/9 and BB/9, among other things, signaling that his future could project better down the road out of the bullpen.
However, the main focus of this piece is Givens, the young Baltimore Orioles pitcher, who with the departure of Darren O’Day, could find himself thrown into eighth-inning duties in 2016. Givens was a shortstop prospect as recently as 2012, but was converted into a pitcher full time in 2013.
In the bigs in 2015, Givens flashed well above-average control with a BB/9 of 1.8. This is slightly concerning as walks were an issue when Givens was converted back to the mound, but the positive sign was he showed decent control in the minors as well in 2015 (2.51 BB/9). Givens also flashed a well above-average K/9 a number that grew on a yearly basis upon his switch to the mound.
Givens will be called upon to pitch important innings for the Orioles in 2016 as their current roster stands, and the numbers suggest that he has what it takes to excel in that role. Still incredibly young, with only a few years of professional pitching experience, Mychal Givens could progress into one of the more dominant relievers in the league.