We now live in a baseball world that is defined by bearded, relief pitchers. Weird, right? Every team has one, but Arizona has quite a star in Josh Collmenter. I won’t say anything about playoff chances for Arizona, because every time I think I understand this team, it turns out I don’t….
A typical long-haul guy is hard to come by for any team. There really are no set rules for a long-haul guy, but you have what it takes or you don’t. Collmenter’s got it. The experiment of Collmenter starting games over the years has proved very beneficial for him and the club. On any night, I think Kirk Gibson knows he can get at least four innings from the man they call “Tomahawk.” Something that makes Josh so effective are his oddities. Batters are not used to a ball being released from above a pitcher’s head – it’s just not normal! While the release point is confusing, the velocity isn’t really there either, which causes most batters to look uncomfortable at the plate. The idea of making batters feel uncomfortable is very important for all pitchers, but for pitchers coming into games in the middle innings, it is super crucial. Obviously for Collmenter, his total innings are down from previous seasons, but he has made the most of it. Collmenter has maintained a low WHIP, and a stunningly low ERA through all of this year’s bullpen struggles in Arizona. Diamondbacks fans have become accustom to groaning and moaning when certain pitchers are used, but I think I speak for a lot of fans when I say that Collmenter is a breath of fresh air. In the bullpen bonanza on Tuesday night, Josh went 3 1/3 innings, allowing 1 hit with four whiffs.
Most people look at the numbers for Collmenter and assume he should be a starter, but I would disagree with that. Josh has found his niche as a long-haul bullpen guy. “Tomahawk” is reliable, commanding, and he is sure as heck durable. I think Arizona should build the bullpen around Collmenter and have guys feed off his energy and effectiveness to change the flow a little. Of course no guy is like Collmenter–I’m pretty sure I’d throw out my arm if I threw a ball at that angle, but guys should feed off what he is doing. Another thing I have noticed is that Josh has leaned out this year and has begun to grow into his frame, thus making his pitching style look “better” (for lack of a more descriptive word).
IF this team is to make the postseason, Collmenter is going to be a critical pitcher for Arizona. The D-Backs play an extra inning game every day, so it’s great to have a reliable hurler in the pen.