The White Sox bullpen was horrid to start the year and the main reason why the White Sox fell so many games under .500 to start the season. But, don’t look now, as they are one of the best units in the league since the start of May…
A Complete Turnaround
Nobody had faith in the bullpen, as they seemed to blow every single lead they had an opportunity to hold. They even DFA’d Jose Ruiz less than 10 games into the season. Despite that, they continued to be bad for most of April.
But since the calendar turned to May, the White Sox bullpen has quietly been one of the better bullpens in all of the major leagues.
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These stats are more of what people thought the Sox bullpen was going to do. They needed big names like Joe Kelly and Kendall Graveman to step up and pitch like they are paid, and lately, they have done plenty of that. Both Kelly and Graveman have stepped up and assumed the role of the closer these past couple of weeks, and it has worked well.
When you take these stats and add Liam Hendriks to the mix, it might compete for the best in all of baseball. It will take Hendriks time to ramp up, but once he gets going, the bullpen might be able to carry the White Sox to the playoffs, considering they are only 5.5 games out.
Also, when Garrett Crochet gets up to full speed they will have another dynamic weapon to add to this bullpen, as he is currently in the process of getting ramped up, as you can tell he is not fully back yet. But, when he and Liam are full strength they will have about 5-6 guys I would feel comfortable with saving a game.
Big And Unknown Names Have Stepped Up
The White Sox bullpen is headlined with some big money names like Kelly and Graveman and they have stepped up as of late. They both started the season off rough, but both have come into their own and have formed a nice duo at the back of the bullpen.
Keynan Middleton has stepped up BIG for the Sox this season. A non-household name at the beginning of the season, he has turned into arguably the best reliever the Sox have. He currently has a 1.76 ERA with 21 strikeouts in just 15 innings. This is elite stuff coming out of someone that did not even make the opening day roster.
Middleton may have found a nice spot as a 6/7th inning guy for the White Sox and found new life in his career. I am not sure what has changed this year for him, but Ethan Katz may have fixed something small and allowed him to fully unlock his potential.
Gregory Santos is another case like Middelton, as he was also a unknown pickup in the offseason, but he, like Middelton has found new life with the White Sox. He currently has a 2.59 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 24 innings. These are great stats, and the advanced metrics actually say that he is one of the more unlucky pitchers in the MLB, so they could be even better.
The bullpen turning it around could have saved the White Sox season. They have great arms in Kelly, Graveman, Santos, and Middleton. Once Crochet and Liam are fully back, you can add them on that list. One of Aaron Bummer, Reynaldo Lopez, or Jimmy Lambert will be sent down to accommodate Hendriks, so it will be a battle to see who loses their spot.
Bummer has been the worst of the three, but he is a lefty, so that could buy him some time. Lopez has looked hot and cold this year, which can also be said for Lambert. If I was the GM, I would get rid of Bummer, because I have seen much more consistent stuff out of Lambert and Lopez.