There was quite an amount of hoopla when the San Francisco Giants finally called up their prized reliever Heath Hembree. Through two big league outings, it looks as if the excitement was warranted.
Hembree has retired seven of eight hitters he has faced thus far in his major league career, and he has done it in impressive style. He threw 1.1 innings on Thursday night, bringing his career total to 2.1 IP, and he has yet to allow a baserunner. He’s also struck out three, including Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Aaron Hill in his first appearance at AT&T Park.
Now the Giants organization and its fans are finally getting a chance to see the kind of pitcher Hembree can be. He has a lot of the same makeup as Brian Wilson — maybe with a more slightly ordinary head on his shoulders.
Like Wilson, Hembree has an opportunity to become an integral part of a postseason-caliber bullpen as its closer, assuming he unseats Sergio Romo. Hembree’s power pitching is more suited for the closer’s role, and having the ability to send out a shut-down reliever like Romo earlier than the ninth is a huge advantage for any bullpen.
For now, it looks like Hembree is here to stay. He’s throwing big-league stuff, and is showing why many believed he would take the job from Wilson. The door is open, Heath, now it’s your turn to shut it.