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Ty Buttrey: The Reliever of Two 2019 Halves

Which Buttrey will we see in 2020?

MLB: Game Two-Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

It goes without saying that Ty Buttrey is one of the most crucial relievers for the Angels in 2020. Considering the Angels did not sign a big-name reliever during the offseason and will be returning many of the same pieces, the current pitchers have to hold up. Hansel Robles and Cam Bedrosian are pieces that will play critical roles, but the most important of them all is Buttrey.

Buttrey is interesting because we don’t know what he will bring to the table in 2020. He did not go on the injured list last season, but his effectiveness did take a huge hit in the second half. Just compare these numbers:

1st Half: 42 IP, 2.57 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 4.17 SO/BB, .647 OPS against

2nd Half: 30.1 IP, 5.93 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 3.09 SO/BB, .749 OPS against

Although it is easy to chalk the differences up to a small sample size, and it is true that relievers are judged on very small bodies of work, it is clear that the quality of the second half was not on par from what Buttrey delivered in the first half.

Giving up home runs or having them stay in the yard does take a little bit of luck, but walks and strikeouts are controllable. Buttrey did give up more home runs in the second half, and this difference can be the result of a small sample size. However, although the strikeout rate remained fairly consistent, the walks joined heavily. Did Buttrey lose his control?

Buttrey settled down to put up a fine August, but he was helped by a BABIP of just .219, which, along with his 10+ SO/9, has the markings of an elite reliever. But littered among a weak June, July, and September, it’s not clear what August means.

Only time will tell how Buttrey will pitch in 2020. One thing’s for sure—he will be critical to the Angels’ success.