Framing the Friars: Bat Flips & the Padres Bullpen

Credit: Padres

Credit: Padres

If you missed the game tonight, you missed an amazing one.

From the Jabari Blash almost-walk-off home run that was inches foul, to Hunter Renfroe going yard twice, this was one of the most entertaining games of the season.

So what? It was fun and they lost. Big deal.

The highlight of the game was this:

 

Hunter Renfroe DESTROYED A BASEBALL:

Statcast numbers:

annnnnd the bat flip:

The bat flip was majestic and probably had a launch angle higher than his home run did. It was majestic, glorious, incredible, whatever you want to call it. And it set Twitter on fire. I don’t think anyone would have cared if he made it to third, reversed direction, picked up his bat, and flipped it again. Even non-Padres fans were weighing in on Renfroe’s blast. It was THAT good. In a season like this, those are the moments that are fun. And it was so much fun.

Anyways, on to the bullpen…

With the trade of Ryan Buchter & Brandon Maurer to the Royals, the Padres have lost 77 2/3 innings from their ‘pen, as well as two guys who have appeared in plenty of high-leverage situations this season. If (it seems like “when” would be more suitable after this today) Brad Hand is dealt, the San Diego bullpen will be void of three pitchers who normally work together to close out wins. Where will Andy Green go from here?

Let’s assume Brad Hand is traded. It appears as if the only locks to be in the Padres ‘pen for the rest of 2017 (barring surprise trades, of course) would be Jose Torres, Kirby Yates, Kevin Quackenbush, Phil Maton, and Craig Stammen (after he returns from an ailing hamstring). After that, there’s a lot of question marks. Here are guys who we might see in the next few months:

  • RHP Jose Ruiz, a converted catcher who throws in the upper 90’s and reaches 100 on occasion, was promoted to the big league club from Lake Elsinore for tonight’s game. Ruiz had never thrown a pitch above A-ball, so this move was a little surprising. However, given he was on the 40-man roster and his close proximity to Petco Park, this move makes sense in the short-term. He also threw a scoreless inning in which he struck out Yoenis Cespedes, which is mad cool. I would guess that this was simply a move to get another arm in the bullpen for tonight and he will head back to Lake Elsinore tomorrow, but I could be wrong.
  • Jose Valdez seems like a prime candidate to head back to the big league club. The 27-year-old Valdez, who has a live fastball and a hard slider, has had a few impressive outings during some short stints with the Padres.
  • Carter Capps is a “sexy” name who might not be too far off, too. He has been fantastic in his last 12 outings, throwing 15 innings of scoreless baseball with 13 strikeouts. Batters are hitting .083 against Capps during this stretch and he has only walked four hitters. Capps’ velocity isn’t totally back (and might never be again), but he does look comfortable on the mound for the first time since injury

  • Travis Wood, a return piece in today’s trade, might also be a piece coming out of the bullpen. A.J. Preller today said they are looking at Wood as someone who can sort of be a hybrid guy; start some games & come out of the ‘pen for some games. Wood has only started three games this year and has an ERA just under seven, so the Padres are obviously leaning on him bouncing back and giving them some innings in the second half of the season.
  • The Padres could look to claim a bullpen piece or two off of waivers. Given Preller’s love for waiver claims, this isn’t a long shot at all.
  • There are other guys in the bullpens of SA and ELP who *could* get a shot with the big league club, but it isn’t likely. Guys like Jason Jester & Brad Wieck have struggled in Triple-A and are more likely to be in the picture in 2018. Yimmi Brasoban, TJ Weir, Trey Wingenter, & Eric Yardley are all contributing to San Antonio’s incredibly impressive season, but the Padres value winning in the minor leagues… so they will not be promoted the rest of the season.

Jose Torres, Kirby Yates, and Phil Maton all are in line to get more experience in high-leverage situations for the rest of 2017. For the first four months of the 2017 season, the bullpen has been the most consistent part of the Padres. That is obviously about to change, and it started tonight. The Padres bullpen is under construction; let’s see what happens.

How about that bat flip though?!

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John Horvath
Baseball is fun. College sophomore that is aspiring to work someday in the sports industry. Follow me on twitter @Friar_Faithful. Go Pads!

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