Brewers right-handed reliever Jeremy Jeffress has been the unsung hero of the bullpen while lefty Josh Hader gets (justifiable) national hype for his incredible strike out performance and prospect comparisons (some prospect sources are now writing about “Josh Hader-type roles”). But Jeffress…Brewers fans know Jeffress as the situationally flexible groundball mechanic who typically gets the call when the game is close and Our Beloved Milwaukee Nine need to get out of a jam. The best part about Jeffress is that the veteran will take the ball in any inning, and those close games don’t bother him at all.
|Jeremy Jeffress||Appearances (Percentage)|
|Entered Within One Run||20 (57.1%)|
|Entered With Runners On Base||16 (45.7%)|
|Multiple Inning Appearances||11 (31.4%)|
|Entered in the Sixth or Seventh||17 (48.6%)|
|Entered in the Eighth or Ninth||13 (37.1%)|
Last night in Pittsburgh, Jeffress worked four outs. During the outing, the righty allowed one of two inherited runners to score, and also allowed one run of his own to cross the plate. Otherwise, he also struck out three batters, and thanks to a Brewers offense that scored some runs, Jeffress easily worked within his margin of error to help convert his twelfth lead of the season into a win (Jeffress has three saves and nine holds; last night was his ninth hold). But it is worth emphasizing that for any perception that Jeffress is in the midst of a rough stretch (five of six inherited runners scored in June), the righty is still maintaining the strengths of his profile. For example, Jeffress has allowed three groundballs for every two flyballs, while also striking out 35 percent of batters faced; it’s no wonder that the relief ace has allowed only one run of his own over this stretch.
All of this is a brief analysis of appreciation for one of the very best relievers in baseball, the member of yet another iconic Brewers bullpen duo (the previous being with southpaw Will Smith). Jeffress’s recent stretch demonstrates that even though one could perceive that the strong bullpen is “regressing,” by point of fact the underlying performance remains strong and the bullpen, if anything, has faltered from “phenomenal” to “merely great.”
Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire, USA Today Sports Images