Guys Who Are Not Relief Pitchers… Yet


I’ve talked for some time about the bullpen, I’ve even mentioned a few of the young minor leaguers that the organization has going on for them. I’ve spoken in general terms about the availability of relief pitchers, how they are acquired and how vaguely they are easily replaceable.

We have talked about some of the “big time” prospects but when looking at some of the relief corps around the league you’ll see that many of them come from being “failed starters”.

Now failure-in this context-is loosely and vaguely defined. I would hardly lump guys such as Andrew Bailey, Jonathan Papelbon or Joel Hanrahan into any type of failed category.

The problem is many times guys just don’t develop the additional pitch to get through the line-up multiple times, lack command or some of the just end up having injury issues then prevent them from logging too many innings.

The Mariners have a few individuals that I find to be interesting going into the off-season. Guys that going into spring training could surprise and end up making them team as a reliever.

Steven Hensley is a guy that is going to need to be added to the 40-man this year as part of the rule V draft. He is an interesting guy just in general. He sits about 91-93 with a four seam fast ball and has touched 94. He also has a slider that’s interesting enough talking with a few guys who have thought in the past that it could be above average. He also sports an change-up that profiles to potentially be a major league average pitch.

The biggest problem is that Hensley just can’t seem to stay healthy.  Issues arising both in 2009, 2010 and some of 2011. I’ve heard a few people mention the issues are in association with his slider a long with his overall mechanics.

I really think that Hensley would benefit from a move to the bullpen. His stuff would play up a bit more and while we aren’t talking about a back of the bullpen option I do think it would help limit his innings and make him an interesting project ending up something like a Shawn Kelley, a guy that could help in the 7th inning.

I’ve thought a lot about Hensley in the past year, trying to figure out what would become of him and where he would fit in the organization. Then thinking about it this afternoon there was another individual who I thought of that could also be of help out of the bullpen in 2011.

Yoervis Medina is another guy that I’ve had my eye on a lot over the last two years. He was added to the 40-man roster last year, despite not ever pitching above high-a ball.

He really struggled in High-A. He didn’t really miss many bats-despite his stuff-combined with the fact that he got unlucky this of course translated to a lot of runs being scored with him on the mound.

He was promoted mid-August and showed some small improvements despite going against some better competition. He throws a fastball with good control that sits about 92-94 and a curve ball that was considered above average . But, his change-up is inconsistent at this point.

After his lack of progress this year and the fact that he’s on the 40-man, I feel like the Mariners may attempt to push him a bit next year. It’s possible that he starts in AAA but I think it’s equally possible that with his fastball velocity, coupled with the curveball that he can use to miss bats, he could be an intriguing option out of the bullpen.

Sure they are both longshots to make the team out of camp next year but they both