Time for another assessment, this time it is Mike Ekstrom. Ekstrom, another young arm from the Rays farm system, was called up and sent down several times during the year, helping to fill up a roster spot for the Rays. He pitched more than Jake McGee, but did not have the best numbers one would hope for from someone coming in to offer relief to the starting pitcher. Let’s look at his numbers a bit more closely to see the full story.
Ekstrom appeared in 15 games for the Rays, pitching 16.1 innings and finishing with an 0-1 record. Ekstrom had an ERA of 3.31 while giving up 12 hits, 6 earned runs, walking 9, and striking out 10 batters (opponents hit just .214 against him).
Ekstrom has an average fastball (around 93 mph) and has the usual mixture of off-speed pitches. He had command issues when he first came up and was hit early and often when he came in (12 hits in 16.1 innings equals about 74% of the innings he pitched he gave up a hit). Ekstrom has the velocity and pitches to make in the big league level, but he has to work on his mechanics and control or else he won’t survive in the big league level.
Ekstrom will probably start the season in Triple A unless he impresses in Spring. You have to imagine that at some point during the season, whether due to injury or just need of an arm, Ekstrom will return to the majors, hopefully this time with some better command as well. Final grade: D+
Tags: Mike Ekstrom