The past two offseasons there has been an addition to the Oakland Athletics that has gone unnoticed. For 2013, that addition was Dan Otero. 2014 saw the addition of Fernando Abad, who wasn’t a-bad. That’s right, Abad puns are back! On Thursday, the A’s purchased the contract of Eury De La Rosa from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Could he be this offseason’s big addition the the bullpen?
For starters, he’s coming from the Diamondbacks, so this move is already pure gold. See: Trevor Cahill for Ryan Cook and Jarrod Parker and also Dan Haren for Brett Anderson, Carlos Gonzalez and Chris Carter (among others). De La Rosa is the next Mariano Rivera! Ok, all jokes aside, Eury De La Rosa 24-year old lefty that has reached the majors in each of the past two seasons.
His for go-around in 2013 saw the southpaw go 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA in 14 1/3 innings, allowing 13 hits, walking five, and striking out 16.
2014 went much better for De La Rosa, seeing his ERA drop to 2.95 in 36 2/3 innings. His walk rate went up to 3.4 per nine, and his strikeout rate dipped to 7.9 per nine, but he was much more effective in his second stint in the ‘pen. For the sake of comparison, Abad had a decent season in Washington in 2013, before being traded to the A’s last offseason, posting a 3.35 ERA, before being a lights-out reliever for the A’s in 2014 with a 1.57 ERA.
According to FanGraphs, Eury De La Rosa has a high-80’s fastball, a mid-80’s slider, a 74 mph curveball and a 77 mph change, with the lefty throwing his fastball just 40.6% of the time last season. This would suggest that De La Rosa relies on command, and keeping hitter’s off-balance by changing speeds. According to his splits, De La Rosa has a pretty even ground ball to fly ball ratio in two seasons, gathering 61 outs via the grounder, and 62 in the air. 2013 also saw an average of three home runs per nine innings in De La Rosa’s limited work.
Last season, however, those splits were skewed slightly towards collecting more ground ball outs, and his ERA, and home run average (0.49 per nine) were also much lower. This could be a trend to watch out for.
All in all, the A’s have so many new faces that any of them could be a big addition to the bullpen. Whether the plan is to add De La Rosa to the major league bullpen mix, or have him in the minors for depth purposes remains to be seen. This is shaping up to be an exciting spring in Mesa.