Our Washington Nationals player grades continue today by looking at the season of Sammy Solis
During the postseason, the Washington Nationals relied heavily on their left-handed relievers to shut down the Dodgers lineup. One of those left-handers was Sammy Solis. In his second season, Solis had to deal with injury, but still found a way to make an impact when the Washington Nationals needed him the most.
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After appearing in 18 games in 2015, Solis pitched in 37 games this past season. He had a 2.41 ERA, a record of 2-4, and had 47 strikeouts to 21 walks in 41 innings. His walk ratio was at 4.6 per nine innings, but his strikeout ratio was at 10.3 per nine innings.
Solis started off the season on a good note. After making only two appearances in April, the 28-year-old left-hander had a 1.58 ERA in the month of May (ten outings) and had a 0.71 ERA in June (nine outings).
As I mentioned earlier, Solis dealt with a couple of injuries during the season. On July 17, he went on the disabled list because of soreness in his knee. This came after giving up four runs in his first four appearances during the month of July.
His stint on the DL for that knee would only last for ten days. One month after the first disabled list stint, Solis went back on the DL because of inflammation in his left shoulder. He ended up being out for over a month, but he did make three appearances during the final week of the regular season.
Once the playoffs came around, Solis was a key piece to the bullpen. Dusty Baker used him in all five games of the NLDS against the Dodgers. He gave up one run in Game 5 and gave up an RBI single to Carlos Ruiz that broke a 1-1 tie in the seventh. Despite the problems in Game 5, the Dodgers managed only three hits against him in the entire series.
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This season, Solis showed why he is one of the key pieces to this Washington Nationals bullpen. He has the ability to get both left-handed and right-handed hitters out. Lefties hit only .200 against him with four RBI’s while right-handers hit .213 with one home run and six RBI’s.
During this season, Solis used more of his breaking ball compared to 2015. According to Fangraphs, Solis used his curveball 27.5% of the time in 2016 compared to 16% in 2015. Against that breaking ball, opponents had a batting average of .190 with two extra-base hits (Brooks Baseball).
Going into next season, Solis should play a pivotal role in the bullpen’s success next season. Baker used him in high leverage situations down the stretch and he got some big outs when the Washington Nationals needed him in the postseason. Despite having two DL stints during the season, Solis gets a positive grade for this past season.