Jays From the Couch brings you the Toronto Blue Jays 2016 Highlights & Lowlights for reliever, Ryan Tepera.
For the now twenty-nine-year-old product of Sam Houston State, Ryan Tepera, the 2016 season was one of tempered success. After putting in an excellent showing in Spring Training, the right-hander managed to work his way onto the opening day lineup for the Blue Jays. Unfortunately, he would become a victim of numbers and wouldn’t see any time on the mound before being sent back to Triple-A, Buffalo. A trip that he would make several more times during the course of the season.
Overall, the Texas native would put together a total of 18.1 IP at the major league level with a 2.95 ERA, and a 3.69 FIP, while compiling a 0.1 bWAR and fWAR, respectively.
Tepera’s 2016 season wasn’t quite as successful as the one prior; however, he did produce very well when he was called upon. During his time in Triple-A he would serve as the closer for the Bisons and convert 18 of 20 save opportunities, while producing a respectable 2.58 ERA. Though his BB/9 ratio of 3.2 wasn’t ideal, he did put up an excellent 9.5 K/9 ratio over 45.1 innings pitched.
Over his 18.1 innings pitched with Toronto, Tepera, managed to hold opposing hitters to a 233/333/301 slash, while recording a stellar ground-ball rate of 58%.
This particular play below was made on August 15th against the New York Yankees. During his inning, Tepera, would allow two hits, but would surrender zero runs thanks in part to this outstanding defensive effort. Though the Blue Jays would ultimately lose this game 1-0, his heads-up play helped keep the team within striking distance.
Despite yo-yoing between Toronto and Buffalo for most of the season, the former 19th-round-pick found himself on the playoff roster for the second straight post-season. Though he would only see 0.2 innings of work in a 10-1 Toronto rout of Texas, it was a positive for the reliever.
When a pitcher see less than twenty innings of work during a season it would normally be easy to point to several times during the season where they failed miserably. For Tepera this is simply not the case. Yes, he had a couple outings during the season where he gave up a couple of runs, but that happens during the course of a season.
That being said the one instance that stuck with fans throughout the season was his performance on May 11th against the San Francisco Giants. The Blue Jays battled back with three runs in the late innings — including a ninth inning HR by Michael Saunders — to tie the game at four apiece and force extra innings. In fact, it would get to the bottom of the 13th tied at four before Tepera would make his appearance. The hit-by-pitch, botched sac-bunt, wild pitch, intentional walk, and four pitch bases-loaded-walk to Buster Posey sequence that followed, was one of the ugliest moments of the season. Not only did it cost them the game, it also cost them a chance of a much-needed series sweep.
Considering the current shape and lack of depth within the bullpen at the moment, it looks as if Tepera will get another shot at cracking the opening day lineup. Should he be able to reign in the bouts of wildness he experienced (3.9 BB/9) during his stint in 2016, there is no reason why he can’t be an effective member of the relief core. Though his position in the bullpen will be strictly reliant on his performance. If he wishes to get out of the mop-up duty role and into more high leverage situations, he will need to take a huge step forward in 2017. If he can, it will be a much-needed and welcomed surprise for the coaching staff.
*Featured Image Credit: Dave Nelson (flickr) – UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Wade is a long time baseball fan who has been involved with the game for over 30 years. Including as a former college player, amateur pitching coach, and blogger.