White Sox veteran relief pitcher having early success to start 2017 season. Did the South Siders strike gold with reliever?
While the Chicago White Sox may end up a bottom-feeder in 2017, they do have a litany of talented arms to ship out come July. Considering most of the chatter has centered around Jose Quintana and David Robertson, there is another member of the pitching staff that isn’t getting a lot of attention. That would be Anthony Swarzak, who has been downright dominant this season.
Since having a shutdown bullpen seems to be the name of the game come October, is it possible that a team would overpay for Swarzak? The answer to that question is yes, however it comes with two conditions. First, he has to stay healthy and second, Swarzak must continue to pitch at the level he is currently.
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As many of you saw on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Swarzak allowed his first three runs of the season (all earned). That is quite impressive considering he has made sixteen appearances so far, totaling 19.2 innings altogether. While he may not be pitching in the eighth inning all the time, he has shown an ability to retire hitters in the sixth and seventh innings, which is valuable to any bullpen.
If any executive were to simply look at his stat line, one thing would jump off the page. That being a ridiculous walk to strikeout rate. Swarzak has only issued two free passes the entire season, while fanning 22 hitters. That equates to a 1 to 11 ratio, not to mention 1.15 strikeouts per inning pitched.
Even though his ERA was non-existent until Wednesday, the aforementioned ratio is still more impressive. Anyone who follows baseball understands that in order to prevent runs from scoring, one must keep them off base in the first place. A terrific way to do this is by not walking batters, which Swarzak has been exceptional at so far in 2017.
So, would another front office actually give up a top prospect in return for Swarzak? Highly doubtful, however if he continues to pitch at a high level it is very possible the Sox could net a solid return from a club, such as a B-level minor leaguer. Since the second wild card has made late-July a sellers market, the Sox will have the upper hand in regards to their key personal, especially their pitchers.
Overall, Anthony Swarzak has exceeded everyone’s expectations by a significant margin. Now it is unlikely that he will continue his dominance, but he could be a valuable trade chip due to the necessity of pitching down the stretch. Could the Sox have multiple suitors? That is yet to be seen, but it is an interesting scenario with the possibility to drive up his price, aiding the Sox return.
Biding your time until trade season, Sox fans? Don’t worry, only about another month until the action heats up.