#HIGH5 | Blacks In The Bullpen To Watch

#HIGH5 | Blacks In The Bullpen To Watch

Being a relief pitcher in baseball has to be the greatest job in the world. Observing the action from the bullpen, you have one of the best views in sports to watch the greatest game ever created.

Despite that, it comes with a high price as the pressure is on 100 percent, the second you enter the game.

After just the first half of the season, a few of our MLBbro relievers have become diamonds under the pressure. 

 

Here is my #HighFive list of a few current black relievers and how they have fared this season.

 

Devin Williams, Milwaukee Brewers

The 2020 National League Rookie of the Year got off to a slower start than expected this season after posting a 0.33 ERA in 2020, but has recently stemmed the tide and appears to be back to his dominant self.  He currently has a 3.55 ERA with 40 strikeouts in 25 innings.   

READ MORE: Black Knights Sweep MLB Rookie of The Year Award For The First Time Since 1984 

 

 

In six appearances during June, he has only given up one run while striking out 11.  He also has only given up more than two hits in an appearance three times this year and has not allowed a home run since April 24.

The Brewers are tied for first place in the NL Central.  Williams will need to continue to lock the 7th and 8th innings down in order to get the ball to Brewers’ closer Josh Hader who is one of the filthiest in all of baseball.

 

David Price, Los Angeles Dodgers

Black Ace Club Member, five-time All-Star, Cy Young Award winner and World Series champion David Price is taking on a new challenge this season as he is coming out of the bullpen for the Dodgers for the first time since his World Series run during his rookie year with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Price is one of the most accomplished Black starters in the history of baseball and for sure in the current generation.  His 20-win season in 2012 gave him the green light to enter the Black Ace fraternity but with the Dodgers being loaded with pitching options it was thought that Price would be best used out of the bullpen.

 

David Price Still Has That Petro In The Stash | The Black Ace Lives

 

His first two outings this year were a little shaky, but we’ll take that as time spent getting used to his new role.  After giving up five runs in his first two starts, only four runners have scored in 14 appearances. 

Price has an ERA of 3.74 with 24 strikeouts and a 2-0 record, his most recent win coming on Monday after 0.2 innings of scoreless baseball.  He is no longer using speed to blow batters away, rather movement and ball placement have led to many ground balls and fly ball outs for him.

 

Amir Garrett, Cincinnati Reds 

Amir Garrett is literally the biggest reliever in the game.  He stands 6-foot-5, 239 pounds, and was suspended earlier this season for seven games after being involved in a benches-clearing brawl against the Chicago Cubs in the beginning of May.

 

 

He saw struggles before his return, but when he arrived he came with a vengeance, allowing only three runs in eight appearances and 10 strikeouts for the rest of May.

After a bump in the road to start June, Garrett has still been a great anchor for the Reds’ bullpen.  In his last four games,  he has given up one run in three innings and has struck out six.  It may take a while to bring his 8.34 ERA down to more of a respectable number. He’ll need to stay dominant and keep his focus on one start at a time.

 

Taylor Hearn and Demarcus Evans, Texas Rangers 

The Texas Rangers are the only bullpen in baseball with multiple Black relievers.  One throws for the left side and the other the right, but both get it done by throwing flames in Texas’ heat.

Hearn made the Rangers’ Opening Day roster and has had a Jekyll and Hyde beginning to the first three months of the season.  After a few April struggles, he seemed to turn it around in May as he posted a 1.93 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 14 innings.  

As the calendar turned to June, Hearns arrow shifted in a downward direction.  He has given up six runs in six innings, three of them being home runs.  

Evans made his MLB debut May 25 and has instantly become one of the team’s best relievers.  He won the team’s Minor League Reliever of the Year award for two straight seasons and he’s showing the batters in the Majors are not much tougher.  In 8.1 innings, he has only given up two runs and has 11 strikeouts with a 2.16 ERA.

Resilience is the common characteristic found in the makeup of strong MLB relievers. Evans has that. He’s got guts too.

 

 

With the Rangers appearing to be in seller mode as the trade deadline inches closer, Hearn and Evans have the chance to showcase their abilities to be stable pieces in the bullpen for years to come.

Devin Williams Is Grinding Back Into His Rookie of the Year Form Following Bum Shoulder

Devin Williams Is Grinding Back Into His Rookie of the Year Form Following Bum Shoulder

Set up man Devin Williams put on a masterclass during the Milwaukee Brewers four-game homestand in which the Brew Crew took three out of four games against the defending World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers 

 

 

Williams had batters dropping to their knees with his 80 plus mile per hour changeup, resembling something extraterrestrial in movement. 

 

Before defeating the Dodgers, Williams showed flashes of his old self after destroying the newly named National League Player of the Week Fernando Tatis Jr. in a previous game on just three pitches.

 

 

After feeding Tatis a straight diet of changeups, Williams told reporters that the performance helped his confidence as he could now target his pitches in exact locations.

Williams resembled his former self as both instances proved to be pivotal for his psyche.

“I’m feeling where I need to be with my mechanics, my delivery, my overall timing. My command has been better as well,” Williams told the media. 

 

The reigning National League Rookie of The Year showed extended flashes of dominance during the Covid-19, 60-game regular season by tossing 20 straight innings without allowing an earned run, while also allowing just two hits in 62 batters faced while accumulating over 40 strikeouts. This dominance is why he became the third Brewers player and first pitcher to achieve the first-year honors. 

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The Brewers went into the postseason riding the arm of the young phenom. Dejectedly, his meteoric rise to prominence came to a dramatic halt during the National League Wild Card Series against the Dodgers after sustaining a right shoulder injury. 

Williams took the organization’s advice, opted not to have surgery, and chose rest and rehabilitation during the offseason instead. The team brought him along slowly during spring training to keep his arm live ahead of the season, and they continue to nurture him during the infant stage of the 2021 season.

After being lights out down the stretch last season, Williams opened this season by giving up runs in both games against. the Chicago Cubs, which promptly caused concern within the organization. 

Williams is gradually working his way back, and the stats prove it. He started the season allowing nine walks, seven hits, and had an ERA of 13.49. As of May 1, his ERA dropped to 4.66.

 

Williams is returning to his former self as he has accumulated 15 strikeouts in 11 games. Check out Williams’s progression and his otherwordly changeup as the NL Central-leading Brewers travel to Philadelphia to take on the Phillies in a four-game road trip.