White Sox need less walks, more K’s from their bullpen
Other relievers to look out for
Jul 27, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Daniel Webb (40) pitches in the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. The Minnesota Twins win 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
After these four, it’s a toss up. Javy Guerra had posted a 2.91 ERA but really struggled pitching in high leverage situations. Daniel Webb didn’t see many high leverage situations because of his 48 walks in 67.2 innings last season.
Dan Jennings is a lefty acquired from the Miami Marlins that allowed other lefties to hit .291 with a 3.64 on base percentage. Cleto was the one guy who could miss bats but when not doing so, missed the plate entirely (7.06 walk rate in 2014).
The White Sox will likely have three out of these four men on the Opening Day roster to round out the pen. If not, then one of the arms invited to Spring Training will have impressed enough to make the team.
Sep 2, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins relief pitcher Dan Jennings (43) throws during the sixth inning against the New York Mets at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Arms to take a look at include Eric Surkamp, Zach Phillips, Joe Savery, Carlos Rodon and Jesse Crain. With the exception of Crain, each pitcher is left-handed.
Surkamp spent some time in the majors last season with White Sox and like everyone else, struggled with walks. He did however hold lefties to a .167 average.
Phillips and Savery both spent most of 2014 in the minors and performed at a high level. Rodon has a future a top the White Sox rotation but until that day comes, could see time in the bullpen.
Crain spent all of 2014 injured and is hoping to the level we saw him at in 2013 with the White Sox.
Robertson and Duke certainly make the White Sox bullpen better than last season’s but considering how bad things were, that’s not saying much.
However, to make this group great, Jones and Crain are the wild cards.
Both men had incredible seasons in 2013 and would improve the pen greatly if healthy. Jones 100 mph fast ball and 10.27 strikeouts per nine is an asset any team wishes they had. Tommy John surgery took that away from the White Sox last season will continue to do so until at least July.
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Crain had a 0.74 ERA while holding right-handed batters to a .174 average. Since then shoulder and bicep surgeries have kept him out.
Jones and Crain are not a sure thing to successfully return from their injuries. But the high walk, low strikeout bunch from a year ago are hard to be confident in.
If the White Sox have to rely on them to bridge the gap to Duke and Robertson, there could be some issues this season.