The next installment 25 in 25 is pitcher Craig Breslow.
Player Profile: Craig Breslow is a left-handed relief pitcher and is an example of what goes around comes around as this is his second tour of pitching duty with the Red Sox. Breslow was acquired on 7/31/2012 in a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik and will be in the second year of a two year deal with a team option for 2015.
Breslow has been a consistently reliable performer in various MLB stops starting with San Diego and then Boston, Cleveland, Minnesota, Oakland, Arizona and back to Boston. Breslow’s career numbers against right-hand hitters (.225/.228/.354) allow Breslow to be something more than a situational left-hander – a talent that certainly made him a valuable bullpen addition for Manager John Farrell.
2013 Season and Recent History:Breslow lives off of a fastball and cutter (88% rate) with the occasional foray into the land of change-up and curve (12% rate) while effectively mixing up all his serves. Breslow, who started 2013 on the DL, finished the year at 5-2 with a 1.81 ERA while allowing the opposition a .228 batting average. The second half of the 2013 season Breslow may have had the best stretch of his MLB career posting a 0.65 ERA over 27 innings and finished the season by allowing one run in his last 28 appearances. Breslow’s contribution came at the exact time it was needed as set-up man, Koji Uehara, was placed into the closer role. The only bleak spot for 2013 was two forgettable performances against the ST. Louis Cardinals in the World Series and, of couse, that throw to third!
2014 Outlook: After eight seasons you know what you are getting. Breslow is among the upper echelon of left-handed relievers in the AL and has been a consistently reliable member of the Sox bullpen and that should continue. With the departure of Franklin Morales and the return of Andrew Miller the left-handed slots in the ‘pen are set. Brelow’s ability against right-handed hitting is a plus that allows Farrell to avoid the left-right-left changes in late inning situation.