Patrick: Welcome to Bleacher Bums. I’m Patrick.
Derrik: And I’m Derrik.
Patrick: With two months left to play in the regular season, it’s pretty clear which teams are in and which teams are out. It’s easy to talk about the Nolan Arenados, the Freddie Freemans, the Justin Verlanders – regular superstars and MVPs who are helping to lead their team, but the Bleacher Bums want to give credit where credit is due. We want to talk about the guys on playoff bound teams who aren’t getting enough love. We each have three picks. Derrik, you start.
Derrik: First of all, I want to give an honorable mention to Andres Muñoz from the Seattle Mariners. He’s been very good in their bullpen this year. My first pick was the most obvious to me. We’ll see if he can be healthy, as he is currently injured, but my pick is J.P. Feyereisen from the Tampa Bay Rays. In 22 appearances out of the pen, he has a 0.00 ERA. I’m not joking. 0.00 ERA this year. He only has one save, so he wasn’t being used to get the last outs, but you could make the argument that he was getting the biggest outs right before he went down with a “shoulder impingement.” Even though Feyereisen might be out for a little bit still, he will be one of (if not the) most important piece(s) in the Rays bullpen if he is healthy in October.
Patrick: Great pick. The Rays bullpen is always crazy and always anonymous. All three of my picks are former Red Sox because clearly there will be no current Red Sox making the playoffs. I’ll give you three guesses…
Derrik: I’m going to guess Santiago Espinal for the Blue Jays, and then my other guesses are Adam Ottavino for the Mets, one of Jalen Beeks or Jeffrey Springs for the Rays, and Collin McHugh for the Braves. Yes I cheated and had more than three guesses. I don’t care. It increases my odds of guessing correctly.
Patrick: For starters, you got them all wrong. Also, you cheated earlier with an honorable mention. I cannot let this go unnoticed. Anyway, my first pick is everybody’s favorite former right-fielder, Hunter Renfroe. He’s having a solid season for the Brew Crew hitting in the meat of the order, but I want to point out a really crazy stat: In Milwaukee’s wins, he has an OPS of 1.002. In their losses, he has an OPS of .585. He is going to be absolutely vital to winning a playoff series. Somehow, this man is still not a household name.
Derrik: So it obviously seems like you have a theme for this, considering you are picking only former Red Sox players. I also have a theme, and I think you are going to see it again with this pick. My next pick is Jhoan Duran of the Minnesota Twins. Yes, another reliever. In 34 appearances, Duran has a 2.30 ERA and a 2.43 xERA. He has 6 saves in addition to 10 holds. For a team that doesn’t have a set closer (maybe their new addition Jorge Lopez?), I think that Duran has been the most impressive reliever on the team. Also, he throws over 100 mph with a splitter that has been termed a “splinker” by Pitching Ninja that can be anywhere from 95-100. And I’m not exaggerating when I put 95-100, as he threw a 100 mph splitter earlier this year. He also has a curveball and cutter to go along with that. Definition of nasty stuff, and if he nabs that closer spot he could become a bigger name if the Twins have any success this year.
Patrick: Fine, I’ll give you a reliever. And this one will surprise you: David Price. That’s right, the man the Boston Red Sox are paying $15 million to not play for them. He’s in the final year of his monster contract and has implied that this year will be last. Not only do I think it’s important to acknowledge the fact that he was one of the nastiest southpaw starters for nearly a decade, it’s also very likely that he will end that decorated career as a World Series champ on this stacked Dodgers squad. He’s playing a role no pitcher wants to play (especially no Cy Young winner wants to play), which is the low leverage situation reliever. Someone has to pitch the dummy innings, and with the only other consistent lefty Alex Vesia taking the important matchups, Price gets the leftovers. And there are plenty of low leverage innings when your team is in the lead by a bunch. He might not be the most important in October (he was left off of playoff rosters last year), he’ll be important in giving the main guys rest down the stretch.
Derrik: My final pick is a very interesting one. One team has a lot of bullpen arms that fit my mold of young, hard throwing relievers, as did Muñoz and Duran. That team is the St. Louis Cardinals, and I am going to cheat again by picking Jordan Hicks, Génesis Cabrera, and Junior Fernández. Hicks struggled as a starter, but since going back to the pen, has a 0.82 ERA in eight appearances. Cabrera, in 29 appearances, has a 2,60 ERA (although the peripherals don’t like him as much). Fernández has a 1.26 ERA in 12 Major League appearances this year. Hicks is in the 100th percentile in fastball velocity, Fernández is in the 99th percentile, and Cabrera is at a measly 88th percentile. All three of them are young guys who throw gas, and will help bridge the gap to Giovanny Gallegos and another flamethrower in Ryan Helsley. Yes, I’m once again cheating, but I couldn’t pick just one of these three.
Patrick: Unfortunately for you, I’m the one that edits this.
Derrik: That’s fine. I made it short and sweet though considering I threw in three guys there. There’s a bunch of guys that just missed my list so I know you have some good options to pick from for your last pick.
Patrick: You took all the time I had left for another pick! I’ll throw these two picks out there real quick: Christian Vazquez and Trey Mancini. Yikes! Who would you shout-out? Let us know in the comments. Until then, I’m Patrick…
Derrik: And I’m a proud cheater.
Patrick: And we’re a couple of Bleacher Bums.