Red Sox bullpen depth option: Right-handed pitcher Brandon Workman
The Boston Red Sox may have some bullpen help with a suddenly improving Brandon Workman at Pawtucket. Workman could be a possibility as the season progresses.
There are the names – so many names – and so many failures or less than productive outcomes. Henry Owens, Anthony Ranaudo, Brian Johnson, Trey Ball, Felix Doubront, Allen Webster, and Brandon Workman. That is just a short list of pitchers who never quite reached predicted levels of success.
Workman was once ranked 9th, higher than Mookie Betts (10th) on Sox Prospects. Workman, a now 29-year old right-hander, made his first Boston appearance in 2013. The first half of that breakthrough season was spent at Pawtucket (AAA) where Workman went 5-1, 2.80 ERA. Boston needed some depth for the push to a title and Workman got the call.
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Workman showed promise with three spot starts and some respectable bullpen work. Something to build upon. He impressed enough to be on the postseason roster and tossed 8.2 innings allowing no earned runs. Workman did, however, take a loss in the World Series with an unearned run. A world of promise for 2014.
So much for the promise. Workman was placed in the rotation and the end results were statistically tragic going 1-10, 5.17 ERA. Back to Pawtucket (7-1, 4.11) and then The Big One – Tommy John surgery and the long road to recovery.
Workman road the rails on should I say I-95 for the first part of 2017 settling in Boston for the second half of the season. The results were positive – very positive – in 33 games (1-1, 3.18) it appeared the Red Sox had finally been rewarded with patience with Workman.
Spring training was a pitching nightmare for Workman and naturally for the Red Sox. A bullpen spot rapidly disappeared with too many runs allowed, too many hits given and a .341 batting average against. Another trip down I-95.
So far the results have been bleak for Workman or maybe not? A very comfortable 0.93 WHIP does offset a 4.33 ERA. Workman has 27 K’s in 27 innings and four holds working out of the PawSox bullpen. Workman is also on the 40-man roster so no roster manipulation is needed.
The April and May splits clearly show a substantial improvement for Workman. Average against is just .143 for May (through 5/28) and Workman’s .060 WHIP and 3.07 ERA are all trending positive. Workman is also allowing just 4.91 H/9 and with limiting both walks and hits all signs are positive.
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Can Workman help?
At this point, Workman is not needed, but bullpens are certainly fluid. Bobby Poyner may get a call and Tyler Thornburg is a given if healthy. That said injuries do happen and so do sudden shifts in performance. What is certainly becoming apparent is Workman should not be discounted. Workman keeps up his positive trend Boston will have a real plus available.