The Tampa Bay Rays recently completed a trade with the Cleveland Indians and the Seattle Mariners which sent three first basemen to new teams and Yandy Diaz and Cole Sulser to Tampa. Lets get to know Cole Sulser, the Rays new righty.
The 28-year-old Dartmouth product comes to the Rays along with utility man Yandy Diaz in exchange for Jake Bauers. Sulser has pitched in 176 career minor league games, a majority of those as a reliever. He began his professional career as a starter but transitioned to the pen after spending the entirety of the 2015 season on the DL.
The Cleveland Indians drafted him in the 25th round of the 2013 draft, 741st overall. Since then he has worked his way through the minor leagues, throwing 378.1 innings. In those innings, he has struck out 424 batters and has pitched to a 4.02 E.R.A.
He has stalled at AAA after a career year in 2017. That season in both AA and AAA, the righty threw 63.1 innings and struck out 70 while walking 30. He finished with a 2.70 E.R.A.
In 2018, where he remained at AAA, Sulser’s earned run average rose to 3.86 across 60.2 innings. While his E.R.A rose, he nearly cut his walks in half and struck out 25 more batters (95K/17BB). Even though his ERA at AAA was 4.53 his FIP was a much better 2.42 and he had an impressive 13.59 K/9.
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His ability to locate pitches and miss bats could earn him a spot in the Rays pen in 2019. He will face some tough competition including fellow AAA pitchers Ian Gibaut and Colin Poche. Even if he doesn’t make the opening day roster, he will likely be part of the weekly shuttle between Durham and Tampa.
Welcome to the Rays, Cole!