On the bubble:
- RH Ryan Brasier; 4.85 ERA, 4.42 FIP
- RH Colten Brewer; 4.12 ERA, 4.71 FIP
- RH Heath Hembree; 3.86 ERA, 4.78 FIP
- RH Travis Lakins; 3.86 ERA, 3.64 FIP
- RH Hector Velazquez; 5.43 ERA, 4.74 FIP
- LH Brian Johnson; 6.02 ERA, 5.32 FIP
After the five core guys, the depth really starts to thin out. After a magic 2018 season, 2019 was a disaster for Brasier. He never really got on track and lost his role in the bullpen and was eventually sent down.
Velazquez and Johnson both really struggled as long relievers.
It has now been six years since Heath Hembree made his debut for the Red Sox and everyone knows what he is at this point, a mediocre reliever who is not reliable in high leverage spots but is fine for the middle innings or to eat innings. He will have to earn a spot onto the roster and could be a non-tender candidate this off-season.
Lakins made his debut pretty early on but had one outing in a tie game in the 9th where he could not find the strike zone and allowed two runs in one inning. He was sent down following this. In 12 appearances the rest of the way he was solid, posting a 2.76 ERA and 3.40 FIP. This after a solid year in the minors after switching to a reliever. Lakins also has the ability to throw multiple innings.
Brewer does not have any record of statistical success like Lakins. However, Brewer offers some qualities that are intriguing. He has one of the best spin rates in baseball, a quality in which smarter teams have been able to work with and make pitchers elite. He is the type of pitcher that in Tampa flourished with Bloom part of the front office. Hitters had a .352 wOBA against him but their .329 xWOBA suggests that he ran into some bad luck. He also allowed very little hard contact.
Like many other relievers, Brewer struggles with walks and will need to cut those down to earn a prominent role because he does not strike enough guys out to erase his mistakes.