St. Louis Cardinals have avoided arbitration by agreeing to terms with pitchers Trevor Rosenthal and Kevin Siegrist for 2017.
Arguably the most reliable reliever for the St. Louis Cardinals is Kevin Siegrist and fortunately, the two parties have avoided arbitration for the 2017 season. Siegrist’s deal remains undisclosed but he is expected to make almost two million dollars for the upcoming season. This is a huge jump from the $539,000 dollars he made in 2016. This pay increase comes off the heels of a 2.77 ERA , which led the league among left-handed relief pitchers.
The pay increase is very warranted for a number of reasons and Siegrist has proven to be a very valuable asset out of the bullpen proving that by stranding 89.1% of runners on base last year. It is safe to say that he has surpassed expectations after being selected in the 41st round of the draft back in 2008.
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One of the biggest differences between 2015 and 2016 are the types of pitches that Siegrist threw. In 2015, his breaking pitch was a slider. But in a given season, he would never throw it more than 9 percent of the time. In 2016, he stopped throwing the slider and threw a curveball. Even in his first year featuring the curveball, he threw it 10 percent of the time, already more often than the slider.
This allowed him not to rely on his fastball as much in 2016. Siegrist used his fastball 7.3 percent less during 2016 compared to his previous seasons. This has to do with his rising confidence in his change-up which has become one of his best pitches. Without using his fastball as much, hitters were more off-balance and if he can use this offseason to continue the development and effectiveness of his curveball.
Trevor Rosenthal‘s deal with the St. Louis Cardinals increases his pay to $6.4 million from $5.6 million. This comes following a season where he was 14 for 18 on save attempts before getting hurt and losing the closer role. This spring he will be given starter innings to prepare him for a larger role and one that could be similar to how the Cleveland Indians used Andrew Miller.
While Rosenthal has shown flashes of brilliance, it will be interesting to see how he bounces back in 2017. His pitch selection will be very important during this transition to a bigger role since a closer, like him, can simply rely on a hard fastball for one inning. But over the course of a couple of innings, that strategy will not fare as well.
In his last full season in 2015, Rosenthal trusted his fastball 74.3% of the time. It was 78% before his injury last year. While that may not be terrible, what will hurt him is that his second most popular pitch, his change-up, is only thrown 13% of the time. Followed by a cut fastball at 7.7%.
To find success in a role where he will be throwing more than an inning he will have to throw his off speed pitches more often. He has a curveball that he threw 0.5% of the time last year before he got hurt. His fastball is certainly one of the best in baseball, but for a Major League hitter, timing a hard fastball can be done even if it is around 100 MPH. Rosenthal can hit triple digits, but he averages between 97-98 MPH in a given season.
This experiment will be one to watch. If Rosenthal can find a way to fool batters and keep them off-balance for multiple innings, then he will find success. But if he relies on his fastball as much as he has in the past, then expect him to get hit pretty hard.
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By extending Siegrist and Rosenthal, the St. Louis Cardinals have avoided arbitration with two strong bullpen weapons. A lefty specialist and a flame thrower are never bad options to have to turn to and Siegrist has proven to be reliable while Rosenthal can find success with his new role if he stays healthy. And if all goes according to plan, then the bullpen in St. Louis will be very dangerous.