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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:27 pm 
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Youthful Lefty Enjoys Heavy Burden


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Last season, fans noticed that manager Bret Richards had a go-to guy in the middle of the Nine bullpen in the form of veteran Cesar Martinez. This year, it’s apparently 24-year-old lefty Jose Souza (9-4, 4 saves, 3.55), who has appeared in 56 games and thrown 131.2 innings. That’s right. When Jose Souza enters a game, it’s likely he’s going to get somewhere in the range of 7 outs before he gives the ball back.

He threw five innings and 59 pitches against Vancouver last night, the 12th time this year that Souza has seen an outing that lasted more than 50 pitches. He’s struck out 132 batters in those 131.2 innings, walking only 40. He’s been a little more prone to the homer than in the past (his 97 MPH fastball has some serious tail to it, and the fork ball is usually enough to keep the ball in the park, too). Some are now suggesting that Richards is calling the Venezuelan’s number a little too often, noting his ERA is up a bit, and others are concerned for injury that such over-work could portend.

Discounting four RP being used as starters, Souza’s 131 IP is the most of any relief pitcher in the league. Removing those who have more than a spot start or two, here are the top 5 relievers in terms of workload today:

Jose Souza (YS9): 131.2 (56G)
Edgardo Vega (BRK): 122.0 (44G, 1 GS)
Alfredo Martinez (EDM): 117.1 (53G, 1GS)
Marcio Idanha (CAR): 103.2 (62G)
Jose Gutierrez (NO): 94.2 (40G, 2GS)

“I like it,” said Souza after last night’s victory. “I don’t feel like I’m over-used at all. I think I’m pretty durable, and I can usually get through the order pretty good.”

In that vein, Souza was a starting pitcher in the Seattle organization before being acquired in the deal that sent Lorenzo Pena to the Storm. The Nine sat him down and let him know early that unless he for a real third pitch, his best path to the majors was in the pen, which is where he went to work. He threw 33 innings with Yellow Springs as a 22 year old (along with 40 more at the AAA level), and 68 at age 23.


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