Austin Pruitt was a relatively solid reliever for the Oakland A’s last season. Despite his being allowed to enter free agency, it made sense that the A’s would keep tabs on his market, especially as there are openings in their bullpen.
That move came on Sunday. The A’s re-signed Pruitt to a minor league deal, assigning him to Triple-A Las Vegas heading into spring training.
Austin Pruitt provides Oakland A’s with needed bullpen depth
As the A’s have been fortifying their roster, the bullpen has taken a bit of a hit. There are only eight relievers on their 40 man roster, even if A.J. Puk is included as part of the bullpen mix. Having enough relievers, and depth in the upper levels of the minors, is going to be a major concern in Oakland.
Pruitt may not be a star by any stretch of the imagination, but he is someone that can fill a middle relief role while providing a solid option in the bullpen. He posted a 4.23 ERA and a 1.030 WHiP over his 55.1 innings, striking out 38 batters with nine walks. His biggest issue last season was with the home run as Pruitt allowed 11 homers last season.
However, his batted ball against profile shows that he could be a bargain. Pruitt had a 34.1% hard hit rate against, the lowest of his career. He has typically done a great job at keeping the ball on the ground with a career 47.5% ground ball rate. Opponents mustered a .226/.259/.439 batting line against Pruitt, hardly the type of performance that one would have expected from that higher ERA.
It is probable that Pruitt will get his chances again next year. The A’s are going to need to find options in the middle innings and are likely to cycle through relievers throughout the year. Even if he is not part of the Opening Day roster, he should have a chance to make an impact.
The Oakland A’s have brought back some bullpen depth. Austin Pruitt is returning to the organization on a minor league deal.