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2020 Arizona Diamondbacks Bullpen Preview

Diamondbacks Bullpen

2020 Arizona Diamondbacks Bullpen Preview

The 2020 Arizona Diamondbacks bullpen, as in years past, will include a few new players. However, with as many as ten starters battling for five spots, we might even see some starters moved to relief.

Extra Pitchers on 2020 Roster Will Be in Bullpen

For the abbreviated 2020 season the roster has been expanded to 30. That will be reduced to 28 players after two weeks, and cut to 26 players after four weeks. Look for the Diamondbacks to have a pitcher as a possible spot starter and a long reliever. That pitcher will need to throw three or more innings in a game on certain occasions.

Let’s take a look at some of the pitchers available and what they have to offer.

Closer – Archie Bradley

The closer for the 2020 season will be Archie Bradley. He enters the 2020 season as one of the critical pieces of the Diamondbacks pursuit for a playoff spot. Anointed as the closer late last year and the leader of the back end of the bullpen, he will be counted on to close out the games.

Bradley has an active fastball that gets into the upper-90-mph range and struck out 87 batters in 2019. That was his highest total since shifting to the bullpen in 2017. He has worked on more on knuckle-curve and now feels good about throwing it. Plus, he occasionally throws a changeup to keep the hitters guessing. He certainly has the closer mentality with his energetic personality.

Setup-1 Hector Rondón

On January 9, 2020, Héctor Rondón and the Diamondbacks agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract. He was brought in to compete for the closer’s job. Now, it appears he will most likely be the top setup man Lovullo will look to.

Rondón primarily uses his four-seam fastball that gets in to the upper-90-mph range. He also features a slider and a sinker. The fastball generates more swings and misses; the slider has some natural sinking action that results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers. His sinker also generates many groundballs. That gives him an edge over the other bullpen pitchers as the main guy to pitch the eighth inning.

Setup – 1A Kevin Ginkel

Kevin Ginkel put up some outstanding numbers in the minors and got his first sample of MLB action in early August 2019. He finished the season with a 24 1/3 innings with two saves and 1.48 ERA. While you won’t see his fastball hit the upper-90-mph range, his unique delivery does a great job of keeping hitters off balance. He also mixes in a slider that generates a lot of groundball outs. He’s definitely a name to keep an eye on in the bullpen as he certainly has the ability to take over as closer should Bradley falter early on.

Middle – 1 Junior Guerra

After three years as a starter, Junior Guerra was moved to the bullpen late in the 2018 season when he was with the Milwaukee Brewers. He signed a one-year contract with the Diamondbacks in December 2019. Guerra relies primarily on his four-seam fastball, which still hits the mid-90-mph range. He also mixes in a sinker. However, his go-to pitch to get the hitters out has been his splitter. His durability puts him in a good position to be the main setup man for the Diamondbacks.

Middle – 2 Yoan Lopez

Yoan Lopez served as a key reliever for the Diamondbacks finishing up the 2018 season. He had a great first half in 2019 with a 1.59 ERA and actually looked like the favorite to replace Greg Holland as the closer. However, it all went south over the second half. He became very inconsistent and posted a 5.74 ERA. Some of that could be attributed to having a tired arm, where his velocity could not remain consistent. If he regains his early 2019 form, he could be a force. Lopez has two main pitches in a fastball that reaches the upper 90s and a slider.

Reliable Andrew Chafin

A workhorse for the bullpen will once again be Andrew Chafin. Despite the new three-hitter minimum rule, his job should be the same as it has been since 2017, getting groundball outs, especially with guys on base. Nothing much has changed in his selection of pitches. The left-hander has a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a slider that gets plenty of swings and misses. Chafin’s changeup has a lot of back spin, generating an extreme number of groundball outs. While not the most exciting reliever out there, he has made a case to be the primary pitcher to get the outs with runners on base.

Others to Pitch in 2020

Now, let’s look at Stefan Crichton, James Sherfy, and the guys that do not make it as the starters.

Stefan Crichton could get a roster spot following a decent 2019 campaign. He pitches with a fastball that sits in the 94-96 mph range. His low-80s slider plays well against right-handed hitters thanks to its depth and tilt. Crichton’s stamina makes him a long reliever, but he still needs to improve his slider and fastball command.

James Sherfy has bounced on and off the roster the past few seasons. The Diamondbacks clearly still like him, and he was one of the relievers working on pitching in extra innings with a runner on second recently. He is not on the 40-man roster so we will have to see how that scenario comes out.

There is one final thing to look at when they are making their decision on the final roster. Sherfy is out of options and would have to clear waivers to be outrighted to the satellite camp. Since he has been outrighted before, he can elect free agency instead, so any permanent decision on him will be an interesting one.

Starters Who Miss Out

Alex Young, who started 15 games in 2019, could be the long reliever. He is also a lefty, and you can never have too many. Taylor Clarke is also a possibility for a spot as he saw relief action in 2019. The last player is Jon Duplantier, he could be an option if needed later in the season — but is recovering from elbow troubles.

We all know that Manager Torey Lovullo and his coaches will choose the best pitchers to create a relief corps that will be called upon many times this season.

View the preview of the starting rotation here and Evan Thompson‘s position player preview here.

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