Oakland A’s may have bullpen core lined up

Aug 4, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher A.J. Puk (33) is congratulated by catcher Stephen Vogt (21) after throwing a one pitch save to get Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (not pictured) to pop out in the ninth inning at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 4, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher A.J. Puk (33) is congratulated by catcher Stephen Vogt (21) after throwing a one pitch save to get Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (not pictured) to pop out in the ninth inning at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Oakland A’s have gone through a host of options in their bullpen. A total of 20 actual pitchers, and three position players, have made an appearance on the mound. It is easy to look at the bullpen as a conveyer belt of mediocre, or worse, options.

The bullpen is going to continue to come into focus during the A’s rebuilding process. As the A’s look to build a competent rotation, cycling through different options, the relievers are going to get a lot of work. That is especially going to be the case in those middle innings as they look to churn through two or more innings after short starts.

Oakland A’s have the beginning of bullpen core

Nonetheless, the A’s do have what could be the beginnings of a strong bullpen. Dany Jimenez (when healthy), A.J. Puk, Domingo Acevedo, Sam Moll, and Zach Jackson have all fared well overall this season. There have been bumps in the road, as will be expected with any inexperienced group of players, but there has been more than enough success for there to be plenty of hope.

Roles will still need to be defined moving forward. Jimenez may be the closer at this point, but that does not mean that he will continue as such. Four other relievers have notched a save for the A’s, and while injuries did play a role in that being the case, none of these roles are exactly certain going forward.

What is important is that the A’s have some firepower in their bullpen. Aside from Acevedo, each of those relievers have struck out more than a batter per inning. Acevedo, however, has been effective due to his command and ability to generate weak contact.

That effectiveness is key. Yes, there are concerns as Jackson has a high walk rate and Moll’s FIP is over a run higher than his ERA. However, as long as the A’s relief corps continues to be effective, those concerns may not matter at all.

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The Oakland A’s need to find pieces of their future core as they hope to compete. It turns out that they may have some of those pieces in their bullpen.

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