If you haven’t read my article on the issues with the San Francisco Giants bullpen last year, then you may not know that I’m very concerned with the lack of strikeout guys in the bullpen.
The San Francisco Giants bullpen was dead last in strikeouts last year – granted they also threw the fewest innings. But I believe that had a lot to do with the Giants having the most blown saves of any team last year.
Neil Ramirez is a guy who could get you a big strikeout late in games. In 81.2 major league innings he has a K/9 rate of 10.1, which would have been third best on the Giants last year.
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He struck out 24 batters in 24 innings last year splitting time between the Cubs, Brewers and Twins.
In nine minor league seasons he has a career K/9 of 9.6, which is just over a batter an inning.
Ramirez was a starting pitcher the first six years of his career, but was converted over to a relief pitcher in 2014, which got him his first shot in the big leagues. He posted a 1.44 ERA for the Cubs that year in 43.2 innings pitched with a K/9 of 10.9.
He backed that up the following year with a 3.21 ERA in 14 innings with a 9.6 K/9 rate.
The San Francisco Giants are hoping that last year was just an aberration, and that the 27-year-old right-handed pitcher can find his form again that made him so reliable out of the Cubs bullpen in 2014.
There will obviously be a lot of competition in the bullpen this spring, but I think Ramirez has a very good chance of making the team if he can strikeout right-handed hitters on a consistent basis.