2014 Arizona Diamondbacks Review: Bullpen
By Thomas Lynch
Addison Reed saved 32 games for the D’backs in 2014. Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
The mission of the 2014 Arizona Diamondbacks’ bullpen was simple: don’t fail as much it did in 2013. To that end, a trade was made to shore up the closer’s position after the team blew a sky-high 29 saves. The results were a bit better but as a unit, they still let up too many big hits at inopportune times. Help from the Minors may be on the way from a guy like Jake Barrett and a trip of fireballers currently in the Arizona Fall League: Enrique Burgos, Kaleb Fleck and Jimmie Sherfy.
Addison Reed: Though the D’backs only gave up third base prospect Matt Davidson to get him, the trade was curious in the sense that Reed is a fly ball pitcher and would be coming to a hitter’s park. The results were predictable as the 25-year old right-hander served up 11 home runs in only 59 1/3 innings. He did help solidify the stopper’s role with 32 saves in 39 opportunities. Still, allowing a total of 72 baserunners in those 59 1/3 innings is entirely too many for a closer. Reed recorded his 100th career save on August 29th against the Rockies.
Brad Ziegler: The veteran returned to his accustomed setup role after finishing out 2013 as the stopper. It was a typical Ziegler year until right before the All-Star Break. Before a game on June 27th, he tweaked his knee during pregame warmups. There was a noticeable dropoff in production after that as Zielger posted an ERA of over 5.00 in July and August before undergoing microfracture surgery on his knee on September 9th. Although the veteran is confident he will be ready for Spring Training, a procedure like that for a 35-year old reliever can be considered career-threatening.
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Evan Marshall: The rookie enjoyed a solid debut, ranking fourth on the Snakes in appearances with 57. Marshall used his 95 MPH fastball and hard breaking pitch to become the 7th inning guy for the D’backs. He finished with a 2.74 ERA with 54 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings. However, like Reed, he allowed too many baserunners as he surrendered 50 hits and 17 walks. That being said, he could easily be promoted to the main setup man should Ziegler experience a slow recovery from his surgery.
Oliver Perez: The veteran southpaw signed with the D’backs in March and ended up being the team’s most effective reliever. He tied with Zielger for the club lead in appearances with 68 and posted a 2.91 ERA. Signed mainly as a lefty specialist, Perez was often called on to pitch at least one inning or more. He walked 24 and struck out 76 in 58 2/3 innings. The 76 punchouts represented his highest total since his last full season as a starter in 2008.
Randall Delgado: The move of Josh Collmenter to the starting rotation meant Delgado became the guy in the long relief/spot start role. While striking out 86 and walking only 35 in 77 2/3 innings, Delgado gave up almost a hit an inning. He appeared in 47 games (4 starts) and had a 4-4 record with a 4.87 ERA. However, his notable moment in 2014 came when he drilled Andrew McCutchen in the back one night after Paul Goldschmidt‘s season was ended when a pitch broke his wrist.
Matt Stites: The man with the 98 MPH fastball did not fare as well as fellow rookie Marshall. Stites had his moments at times but when you walk 16 batters in 33 innings and allow six home runs, bad things are bound to happen. Still, appearing in 37 games should provide a good base going into 2015 for the 24-year old right-hander. He will have some competition in Spring Training to remain in the Majors.
Joe Thatcher: He is the true definition of a lefty specialist. In 37 games for the D’backs before being dealt in July, Thatcher pitched a total of 24 innings. He gave up 23 hits and three walks while striking out 25. Opponents hit .247 off Thatcher who was traded along with Tony Campana to the Angels for a couple of Minor Leaguers Zach Borenstein and Joey Krehbiel.
Will Harris: One of the better D’backs’ relievers in 2013, Harris got off to a rough start and was sent to the Minors in mid-April. He was recalled in the middle of June and would go on to appear in 29 games, enduring another Minor League demotion in July. Harris went 0-3 with a 4.34 ERA. He allowed 27 hits and nine walks in 29 innings while striking out 35.
Eury De La Rosa: The 24-year old left-hander did not get called up until the beginning of July. He enjoyed varying degrees of success, appearing in 25games and posting an ERA of 2.95 in 36 2/3 innings. De La Rosa allowed 37 hits and 14 walks while striking out 32. His best outing came on August 13th when he hurled three shutout innings in a 1-3 Arizona victory over the Indians.