Relievers are a dime a dozen. Literally, they cost 10 cents per reliever. That is, unless, you’re buying LOOGYs — which run about $70M per dozen. There are essentially two camps in baseball when it comes down to paying relievers: those who think that relievers are too volatile to lock up long term and that it should be easy enough to build a bullpen out of spare parts; and those who think that paying the price for some stability in the bullpen is a deal worth making.
Brian Sabean is a little bit of both of these guys. He’s shown a willingness to acquire pretty excellent relievers for little to nothing (Santiago Casilla, Felix Rodriguez, Ramon Ramirez, Scott Eyre) and despite the occasional big money reliever landmine (Armando Benitez), and some of the LOOGY stuff this past offseason, Sabes has shown himself to be a tactful guy when it comes to building a good bullpen on the cheap.
Enter: Clay Hensley
2012 statistics: 3.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 HR, 2 BB, 6 SO, 16 BF
Yes, I know that I’m talking about a guy that’s thrown 3.2 innings.
Here’s my reasoning…
This is Clay Hensley’s two-seam fastball. This is Clay Hensley’s pitch sequence to John Mayberry Jr. — with the game on the line — in Matt Cain’s gem on Wednesday night against the Philadelphia Phillies.
According to Brooks Baseball, these two-seamers were featuring around 7-8″ of arm-side run. Hensley doesn’t throw the pitch all that hard — around 86-88 mph — but my goodness does it move. In Hensley’s career, like most pitchers, he’s had more success out of the bullpen. In 198.1 innings as reliever, Hensley’s FIP is 3.20. A lot of that is based off his really successful 2010 with the Marlins (75 IP, 2.87 FIP) but at $750K, he’s looking like a nice bargain so far. That two-seam fastball is just goofy to watch. I’ll take 300 more, Mr. Hensley.
He also throws a 70 mph curveball, but we’ll save that for another day.