San Francisco Giants: Steven Okert’s Role in 2017
By Kaila Cruz
It’s been a little over a year since Steven Okert‘s debut for the San Francisco Giants on April 19, 2016. However, Okert has proved his progression since his debut against the Arizona Diamondbacks throwing two shutout innings on a hit, two walks, and two strikeouts.
Okert, not the first person you think of when you hear “San Francisco Giants”, but nevertheless, is lineup worthy-especially with the start we’ve had this season. Last night in a frustrating loss to the Rockies, Okert relieved Cory Gearrin and ended the game with a 0.2 IP and 14 pitches.
As for background on the 25 year old LOOGY, Okert was a 4th round pick from Oklahoma in 2012 and has since collected a 2.76 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP and has pitched 16.1 innings.
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Okert falls within the stigma of pitching well against hitters of the same hand. He has difficulty against right-handed batters when his location is off but has a lively left-side arm. Okert is generally overpowering against left-handed hitters much like his fellow lefty teammate Josh Osich, who’s been reassigned to the minors.
The problem with Steven Okert is his lack on control and command. His command is often inconsistent, especially when faced with right-handed hitters but he exemplified a strong improvement in his command this spring.
Despite not having made the final 25 man roster, Okert is a big lefty that could make the Giants second guess the makeup of the excuse we have of a bullpen. With the spring he had, Okert should’ve been on the 25 man roster, however “should’ve” isn’t always the case-evidently.
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Okert is expected to serve as a prime LOOGY and primarily be the go-to guy as a valuable middle reliever. A bullpen that relies on Mark Melancon, Hunter Strickland, Derek Law, and Steven Okert would be a team strength-in my eyes. Hopefully in 2017, Okert will get to prove he deserves a spot to be vital player to this team.