Rays News

5 Tampa Bay Rays relievers who can help in 2019

By Austin Reimann
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 10: The bullpen bench of the Tampa Bay Rays is empty as the game enters the 14th inning against the Boston Red Sox June 10, 2013 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Boston won 10 - 8. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 10: The bullpen bench of the Tampa Bay Rays is empty as the game enters the 14th inning against the Boston Red Sox June 10, 2013 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Boston won 10 - 8. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) /
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TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 22: Adam Kolarek #56 of the Tampa Bay Rays delivers a pitch in the seventh inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on September 22, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 22: Adam Kolarek #56 of the Tampa Bay Rays delivers a pitch in the seventh inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on September 22, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

Adam Kolarek, LHP, 29 (age 30 season)

Adam Kolarek is a crafty southpaw who appeared in 31 games for the Tampa Bay Rays. He had a pretty good year and FIP shows us that he is a very good pitcher when it comes to the controllable aspects of pitching.

34.1IP // 3.94 ERA // 2.58 FIP // 106 ERA+ // 19 K/5BB // 15 ER

What stood out most to me is that Kolarek is a ground ball pitcher, and he lives mostly on the lower outer third of the plate ( vs RHH… inner lower third to LHH). He gets a lot of weak contact and didn’t allow a single homer in his 30 plus innings of work.

I like Kolarek a lot and expect him to get a lot of the chances that went to Johny Venters as a lefty specialist. In 15 innings against left-handed hitters, Kolarek held opposing batters to a .208 average and a .222 OBP.

His funky delivery compensates for his below average fastball and allows him to get a lot of run on the ball which induces ground balls at a steady rate of 59.1%. His .8 fWAR provided the Rays with plenty of value as Kolarek was making league minimum but provided the Rays with an excess of 6.5 million dollars in value.

This alone will put him in the driver’s seat as he competes for a spot in the pen. I like his chances to make the opening day roster and make an impact throughout the entire year.

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