Under the radar Red Sox players ready to make big contributions in 2019
In 2018, Bobby Poyner won the battle for the lefty spot in the bullpen in Spring Training. After a strong start to the season, he got hurt and was sent down to the minors. He came up again briefly a month later. This trend continued for the remainder of the season and he was called up eventually for September.
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Despite being in contention for the playoff roster, Poyner was left off as the Red Sox opted to carry no lefties until the World Series when Drew Pomeranz was added and never made an appearance.
However, Poyner should see the mound more consistently in 2019. It is unlikely they carry lefties as little as they did last year considering one of the relievers who had good splits against lefties, Joe Kelly, is gone and the other, Matt Barnes, may be closing next season.
Now to Poyner’s stats. For the majority of the season when he was up, he was really solid. Until a rough appearance in game 162, Poyner had a 2.53 ERA. After allowing 2 runs in 1 inning in the final game, his ERA was up to 3.22. His final season stats were a 3.22 ERA, 4.01 FIP, and a 3.90 xFIP. His FB% being 50% and his HR/FB% being 13.3% is a bit worrisome, especially at Fenway. However, his hard contact percentage was at just 26% which is not bad.
A year of experience, and not having to deal with the call-ups and demotions should help Poyner in 2019.