Meet The Chiefs: Bullpen

Before we begin today’s blog post, a Happy Easter to all Chiefs fans celebrating. (Alternatively, Happy Game of Thrones Season 3 premiere to those celebrating a different type of day. Both are certainly acceptable.) We’re continuing our look at the Opening Day Chiefs roster with some facts on Syracuse’s eight relievers – a group that includes five former big leaguers.

Fernando Abad

  • He’s a 27-year-old who’s pitched in 88 games for the Astros in the last three seasons. In his minor league career, he’s been darn near unhittable, pitching to a 2.89 ERA in 209 games, with 540 strikeouts to 80 walks in 516.1 innings. Eye-popping numbers.
  • Abad turned heads in camp this spring. He was always a long shot to make the roster, but ended up being one of the last Washington cuts. With an injury or two, he could easily find himself in the Nationals’ pen.
  • Davey Johnson compared him to Sandy Koufax in camp. Sort of.

Jeremy Accardo

  • He’s a former Chief! Granted, it was for five games on a 2008 rehab assignment, but former Chief nonetheless. (That was the last year of the Blue Jays’ reign in Syracuse.)
  • Accardo sported a 2.14 ERA and saved 30 games with Toronto in 2007, his best ever season. Those account for 30 of the 38 saves in his major league career.
  • He signed with the Giants in 2003 as an undrafted free agent. Two years later, he was in the major leagues.

Mike Crotta

  • Crotta missed all of last season with elbow trouble. But he threw 96 miles per hour at a tryout, impressing the Nationals so much that they gave him a minor league deal.
  • He pitched 15 games in the major leagues with the 2011 Pirates. One of those games was against the Nationals, who featured Rick Ankiel, Jerry Hairston, Ivan Rodriguez, Alex Cora and Jason Marquis in their lineup. (Two years later, things are a bit different.)
  • Crotta allows a ton of hits (792 in 659.1 minor league innings) but is a ground-ball machine – his career GO/AO ratio in the minors stands at 2.31.

Erik Davis

  • He was a blink-and-you-missed-it Chief last year, throwing in eight games at season’s end to the tune of a 4.15 ERA. Before that, he went 7-3 with a 2.52 ERA at Harrisburg.
  • Davis had an impressive spring training, being added to the 40-man roster and throwing in major league camp for the first time. With a good season, it sounds like Davis could be in line for his first major league promotion at some point this season.
  • He’s a Stanford graduate, and thus, quite possibly the second-smartest Chief behind Ross Ohlendorf.

Jeff Mandel

Jeff demonstrates proper swimming techniques to Jason Benetti.

  • Mandel was 6-3 with a 2.41 ERA as a starter for the Chiefs last season, but he’ll begin the year in the bullpen. Of course, he wasn’t too bad there, either, with a 3.31 ERA in eight games.
  • His most memorable game as a Chief came at Gwinnett, with an August 26 complete-game shutout – the first of his career – just one day after John Lannan shut out the Braves.
  • His son, Luke, has a Twitter account. (It’s protected: https://twitter.com/Luke_Mandel)

Pat McCoy

  • McCoy’s a Triple-A rookie who was 7-3 with a 3.70 ERA in 50 games for Harrisburg last year.
  • After 23 starts in his first three minor league seasons, he’s only pitched out of the bullpen in 129 games over the past three years.
  • Don’t be thrown for a loop that McCoy’s in his seventh pro season and still a Triple-A rookie – he’s just 24 years old, since he signed with the Nationals out of high school.

J.C. Romero

  • J.C. Romero, as you probably (don’t) remember, was a Chief for five games in 2011.
  • …he was also a Lakewood BlueClaw, Philadelphia Phillie, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankee, Colorado Springs Sky Sock and Colorado Rockie…
  • …and last year, a St. Louis Cardinal, Norfolk Tide, Columbus Clipper and Baltimore Oriole. He’s got more teams on his resume than Starbucks has New York City locations.
  • Romero’s been with the Nationals for all of a week after pitching well for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic. He was probably the last cut from major-league camp, with Henry Rodriguez garnering the final bullpen spot.

Ryan Tatusko

  • 2013 will be Tatusko’s second tour of duty with the Chiefs after spending the entire 2012 season in Harrisburg. He sported a 3.50 ERA and allowed less than a hit per inning last season, so it seems likely we’ll see an improvement on 2011 (5.94 ERA in Harrisburg, 4.54 in Syracuse).
  • Tatusko came to the Nationals with teammate Tanner Roark in a midseason 2010 deal that sent shortstop Christian Guzman to Texas.
  • He was an avid blogger (http://ryantatusko.wordpress.com/ – not updated since June) and is very good at Words with Friends. I know this, unfortunately, from experience.

Tomorrow: a look at the Nationals’ catchers.

Let us know what you’d like to read about by emailing kevinbrown@syracusechiefs.com or tweeting us @ChiefsRadio.

KB

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