The 2019 Rice baseball season is in the books, closing the door on a bullpen which simply ran out of gas in the final weeks of the year.
The end of the 2019 season was jarring for the Rice bullpen. Four consecutive walk-off losses with blown save opportunities took their toll on a unit which had been up and down all year. Reasons for confidence were lacking, adding to the immense pressure each of these guys was facing whenever they took the mound.
More Season Review — Starting Pitching — Fielding — Lineup
Beyond the scope of one awful week, though, the bullpen had its moments. Pitcher for pitcher, here’s a look at how they faired over the duration of the 2019 season.
3-4 Record | 4.15 ERA | 23 Appearances | 43.1 Innings | 41 K | 14 BB | .294 Batting Avg Against
There was a period of time when Jefferies was the most reliable option Rice had in the pen. Particularly early in the season, he posted superb outings against UC-Irvine, Houston and Oklahoma. He less effective in conference play, opening the door for others to see opportunities on the bump.
1-0 Record | 4.23 ERA | 20 Appearances (1 Start) | 27.2 Innings | 21 K | 11 BB | .270 Batting Avg Against
Wood was one of the youngest arms in a veteran-laden relief corps who saw additional opportunities at the tail end of conference play. He made two appearances in the CUSA tournament, allowing one hit in 2.2 innings pitched. His role will increase in 2020.
3-2 Record | 4.28 ERA | 18 Appearances | 40 Innings | 24 K | 8 BB | .291 Batting Avg Against
One of the grittiest performers on the team, Blair Lewis had a solid senior season. He isn’t one with lights out stuff, but he always threw strikes and forced opposing batters to deal with him. He posted three or more strikeouts three times this season, griding through the lineup as one of the most effective innings eaters Rice had at their disposal.
0-3 Record | 5.53 ERA | 20 Appearances (1 Start) | 40.2 Innings | 47 K | 20 BB | .286 Batting Avg Against
A recent MLB Draft selection, Gayle had his moments in 2019. He competed well, but command issues hampered his ability to go more than two innings often before being hooked. He led all relievers with 20 walks, but also topped the unit in strikeouts. There’s a lot of potential with Gayle if he can keep his command.
0-2 Record | 7.81 ERA | 16 Appearances (3 Start) | 27.2 Innings | 24 K | 19 BB | .308 Batting Avg Against
After transferring into the program, Greenwood’s role on the team wasn’t clearly defined. He auditioned as a midweek starter when the Owls had the occasional pair of midweek games, but never showed enough to stick in that role.
0-0 Record | 8.53 ERA | 7 Appearances | 6.1 Innings | 1 K | 9 BB | .292 Batting Avg Against
Schragger presented a different look for opposing batters with his sidearm motion. The potential for a change of pace never materialized for him due to an inability to throw strikes.
0-3 Record | 9 ERA | 12 Appearances | 12 Innings | 13 K | 15 BB | .214 Batting Avg Against
Tyner’s power arm flashed on several occasions early in the season. His .214 batting average against was the best in the bullpen and he was the only reliever with a sub 10 hits per nine innings rate. It wasn’t easy to make hard contact against Tyner, but he too failed to consistently make his pitches in the strike zone.
1-1 Record | 9.98 ERA | 7 Appearances (2 Start) | 15.1 Innings | 8 K | 7 BB | 0.379 Batting Avg Against
The supposed Saturday starter, Addison Moss was never healthy enough to assume his spot in the rotation. He made two starts and a handful of relief appearances before being shut down for the season.
A.C. Plum | 0-0 Record | 9.82 ERA | 5 Appearances | 3.2 Innings | 5 K | 2 BB | .278 Batting Avg Against
Benjamin Content | 0-0 Record | 10.38 ERA | 6 Appearances | 4.1 Innings | 3 K | 6 BB | .316 Batting Avg Against
Brandon Deskins | 0-0 Record | 11.12 ERA | 7 Appearances | 5.2 Innings | 7 K | 9 BB | .292 Batting Avg Against
Zach Esquivel | 1-0 Record | 12 ERA | 5 Appearances | 3 Innings | 2 K | 7 BB | .333 Batting Avg Against
Blake Brogdon | 0-0 Record | 27 ERA | 1 Appearances | 1.1 Innings | 0 K | 1 BB | .625 Batting Avg Against
The remainder of the bullpen saw sparse duty, mostly during the nonconference slate. None of these guys threw more than six innings making it a challenge to truly evaluate their contribution to the team.