Yesterday, the Red Sox beat the Mets 6-5 and it really encapsulated what Brandon Workman is. Dennis Eckersley had a line during the game that made me laugh. “Workman he’ll make you smoke cigarettes”. If cigs weren’t my biggest pet peeve on the planet, it would be a hilarious line cause it’s true. The man is the biggest roller coaster in the sport and I’m not sure there’s anything like him.
Don’t get me wrong, Workman has been a rock solid closer since taking over that role. He finished the 2019 season with a 1.88 ERA to go along with a 13.1 K per 9 rate. Both numbers are outstanding. Here’s an even crazier stat. Workman gave up ONE home run in 73 outings a year ago. ONE in a sport that has become more and more reliant on the homer.
That’s the good. However, there is one bad quality Workman has. Walks and unnecessary walks. I don’t think it’s a control problem either because he routinely drops his looping curveball in for strikes. It may be a give and take situation where he would rather give up a walk than a long bomb. So far, it’s hard to complain with the results. However, a 5.7 walk per 9 rate is outrageous.
The walks drive you insane but Brandon Workman has proved that he’s a fantastic reliever. Last year he was in the 98th percentile in xBA and 100th percentile in barrel percentage. Hitters just can’t hit that damn curveball. Even when you think you’re on it, then the cutter comes into play and messes with the timing again.
Workman threw his cutter 47 percent of the time last year and opposing batter notched a .194 slugging percentage against that pitch. Workman might walk his fair share of hitters but you’re not going to hit it either. There’s a give and take thing with it but at the end of the day, you want the rollercoaster on your side.
2020 is a lost season for Boston. Workman quietly may be their best (most moveable) trade chip. Workman might drive you insane but putting unnessary runners on but the man gets the job done. Hey, roller coasters are supposed to be fun, right?