The Blue Jays currently find themselves in a three-way tie for the two wild-card spots with division rival New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. While the Jays lineup and starting rotation have been the driving force behind their season, the bullpen has had some under-the-radar performances that have kept the team balanced. Jordan Romano is the biggest name in that bullpen, but behind him, who has really been great this year? Enter Tim Mayza, who has quietly been one of the best relievers in baseball since the start of June. Mayza’s a simple sinker/slider lefty who doesn’t get a whole lot of whiffs, but can be super effective at limiting hard contact and baserunners while inducing a ton of ground balls (61%). His xFIP since the start of June sits at 2.59, which ranks in the top ten of all qualified relievers (and in some impressive company) and shows just how important he is to that bullpen. Expect Mayza to continue to operate as one of Romano’s setup men, even as other pieces in that bullpen (including Julian Merryweather) get healthy.
- Luke Jackson has been crushing it since August started, as the addition of Richard Rodríguez has done nothing to slow down his hold’s pace with half of his 26 holds coming since August 1st. Over those 18 innings, Jackson has an ERA of 1.50 and WHIP of 1.00 while striking out 27. His fastball remains highly vulnerable (.625 xSLG, .438 xwOBA) but his slider continues to do most of the heavy lifting. allowing him to be a top 25 holds option.
- After a rough end to the month of August, Génesis Cabrera has turned the page in September, not allowing a run over five innings so far. Perhaps the bigger concern is his competition for holds in that bullpen now as fellow lefthander T.J. McFarland has seven holds over the past 30 days.
- It’s taking a while, but we are finally seeing glimpses of the Josh Staumont we were hoping for heading into this season after his mini-breakout in 2020. Over the past month, Staumont has a 2.19 ERA, .81 WHIP, and 13 strikeouts over 12.1 innings. The strikeout numbers are lower than we had hoped for, but Staumont has had to adjust to lower spin rates and velocity this season as he’s battled through some things. The good news is that his velocity has improved over the past month (97.4 MPH) and the results have returned with it.
- About a month ago it appeared that Jake Diekman was turning things around, but over the month of September, things have just kind of stagnated for him. For the month, he has a 9.53 ERA and 2.29 WHIP and has just two holds over the past five+ weeks. He’s not the only one struggling in that bullpen this month, as both Sergio Romo (22.09, 3.00) and Yusmeiro Petit (15.43, 1.71) have also been responsible for the A’s fade from playoff contention.
Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)