Lou Trivino may be the most important piece in the Oakland A’s bullpen

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 06: Lou Trivino #62 of the Oakland Athletics says a prayer before pitching against the Houston Astros during the ninth inning in Game Two of the American League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 06, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 06: Lou Trivino #62 of the Oakland Athletics says a prayer before pitching against the Houston Astros during the ninth inning in Game Two of the American League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 06, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /
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The Oakland A’s will need someone to take a step forward in their bullpen in 2021. Lou Trivino may become their most important reliever.

The Oakland A’s bullpen will be drastically different in 2021. Liam Hendriks is a member of the White Sox, leaving Jake Diekman as the projected closer. Three other relievers, including Yusmeiro Petit and Joakim Soria, are still free agents. There are plenty of high leverage innings up for grabs.

The battle to close also involves question marks. Diekman was brilliant last year, and has the dominant stuff a team would want, but he is the A’s only lefty and has a career 5.0 BB/9 rate. J.B. Wendelken, another possible option for the ninth, had a 4.0 BB/9 rate in 2020. While either pitcher could dominate, it is also possible that one or the other could implode.

It will be important for the A’s to find a reliever that can step up and be a steady arm in the bullpen. Someone that can enter the game in any situation and typically provide a worry-free outing. The A’s best option to be that reliever may be Lou Trivino.

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Trivino had a solid year in 2020, posting a 3.86 ERA and a 1.114 WHiP over his 23.1 innings, striking out 26 batters with ten walks. As was the case with Diekman and Wendelken, his BB/9 rate is a bit higher than one would want to see, but he also held the opposition to a .193/.280/.325 batting line.

That performance was much better than Trivino’s showing in 2019. He posted a 5.25 ERA and a 1.533 WHiP in his 60 innings. Opponents posted a .265/.356/.426 batting line against him that year, as he struck out 57 batters with 31 walks.

Those two wildly different seasons make Trivino the key piece in the A’s bullpen. If he can replicate his performance from 2020, Trivino will make the A’s transition to a new bullpen order much smoother. Otherwise, the buzzsaw from last year could be facing major issues.

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The Oakland A’s bullpen will be vastly different in the coming year. Lou Trivino may be a key reason as to why it finds success or struggles.

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