It’s always good to take a step back from where you are, and realize that relief pitchers get paid millions of dollars to throw a baseball like 15 times a game. That might be one of the dopest occupations in the world.
“Hey man, you like striking out left-handed batters? Cool here’s like 2 million bucks. You only gotta do it like 50 times a season by the way.”
With such an interesting job description, it makes sense why the position seems so volatile. Some poor relievers finally make it up to the big leagues and get tagged for a few runs and then don’t make it up again for months or sometimes years.
But today, we are happy to say that we support every relief pitcher, no matter how long their stint in the bigs is. In our support for relievers across the world, we are going to showcase a few of the MLB’s relief pitchers that definitely deserve a little more clout than what they get solely from the bullpen. These 3 guys have got some crazy talent, are fairly new to the game, and you should definitely take some time to get to know them too.
Reliever No. 1 – Pete Fairbanks
Pete Fairbanks literally made his MLB debut a couple days ago for the Rangers and holy wow did he make an entrance. Fairbanks K’d the side in his debut against a fairly stacked A’s lineup and made them look bad doing so. This power pitcher has a 99 mph fastball, complimented by a DISGUSTING 90mph slider, and these 2 pitches served as the 1-2 punch for the 2 innings that he pitched.
For a little history on this guy, Fairbanks actually did not pitch at all last year due to TJ surgery/recovery and this year started in A ball with the Down East Wood Ducks. In a span of just 11 games, Fairbanks was promoted to AA Frisco where he did not allow a single run in 6 games. He then was promoted again to AAA where he pitched in 4 games before suddenly being in front of thousands of people on a hot Sunday afternoon, pitching for the Texas Rangers. This year in total, Fairbanks has a gnarly 14.1 K/9 in 23 total professional innings pitched. I think Pete could be the bullpen booster the Rangers have needed all season, and the fact that this is some homegrown talent is all the more better.
Reliever No. 2 – Framber Valdez
Valdez is a perfect example of a guy who has killed it in the bullpen this year, and worked his way into the rotation for an extremely good baseball team. That is no easy feat, so we might as well get to know this great new(ish) face to the Astros rotation.
Good Ol’ Framber has been in the majors for two years now and so far has a sub 3 ERA in his 70 career innings pitched. Valdez has got some absolutely Nasty movement on his curve too which is clearly a factor to why his ERA is so low. Valdez has the potential of becoming another homegrown pitcher for Houston—something the Astros should be quite proud of. That is, if he keeps up his production. I can easily see him becoming a staple in this rotation as Verlander continues to age and Cole is a free agent just after this season.
Reliever No. 3 – José Alvarado
Chances are if you follow any baseball twitter account, you have seen a highlight similar to this one. That right there is probably the most devastating 2-Seam fastball in the game and I cannot imagine seeing that coming at you at 100 miles per hour. The guy you see on the mound is the Rays pitcher, José Alvarado.
Fun fact, Alvarado has a 1-13 win-loss record over 3 seasons, despite having a career 2.85 ERA and 141 strikeouts in 117 innings. He also has gotten a little more wild this year, increasing his BB9 to 6.2, but to be fair, I wouldn’t wanna be swinging at the pitches he’s hurling either.
Considering how good Tampa has been this year too, Alvarado is a vital piece to this bullpen and it is going to be very exciting to watch his development in the coming months and seasons to come. If Alvarado can improve his command, he could become one of the premier closers in all of baseball.