The 2012 Tampa Bay Rays bullpen was really special. Fernando Rodney may have received all the fanfare, but there is one reliever who I actually feel is better than Rodney, figuring that there is absolutely no way that Rodney can remotely produce to that effect again. The reliever who I think is the true relief ace in Tampa’s bullpen is none other than Jake McGee.
Unless you’re a huge Rays or baseball fan, you probably have no idea who I am talking about–and I am judging this based on my dad’s reaction when I used Jake McGee in this baseball game we play that’s kind of like Strat-o-Matic.
McGee, who was a highly touted pitching prospect for the Rays, finally emerged as the true relief ace that many thought he was capable of being in 2012, putting his disastrous 2011 campaign in the rear view mirror. McGee, along with Rodney, were Joe Maddon‘s go-to guys down the stretch. Judging by McGee’s numbers, one could understand why.
In 55 1/3 innings, McGee had a paltry 1.95 ERA and a even better 1.81 FIP. If that isn’t impressive enough, maybe his 6.64 K:BB ratio will impress you. Outside of being a control freak, McGee really improved his game by keeping the ball in the ballpark, lowering his HR/9 to 0.49 compared to1.61 HR/9 in 2011. If a reliever can control the amount of home runs he allows, their ERA will shrink to the microscopic figures that McGee and Rodney put up in 2012.
Going forward, however, I truthfully think McGee is on the verge of becoming the best left-handed reliever in baseball, especially since Aroldis Chapman is becoming a starter.