Luke Gregerson had an effective year as the set up man for Huston Street. He appeared in 49 games during the eighth inning, and posted a 1.85 ERA with 40 strikeouts. In all appearances, Gregerson posted a 2.71 ERA with 64 strikeouts in 66.1 innings pitched.
Gregerson had five blown saves in nine opportunities in 2013. He was a little better at saving games in 2012, but overall, his statistics show the eighth inning is where he belongs. Gregerson is more effective facing right-handed batters. Righties batted .192 against Gregerson versus .216 for lefties. This disparity may seem minute, but it translated into 14 runs allowed when facing a lefty versus 10 runs allowed when facing a righty. Whitey Herzog, a Hall of Fame manager, writes in his autobiography, “baseball is a game of percentages, and I believe in giving myself every percentage advantage” (White Rat, pg. 4). Gregerson’s numbers support the need to acquire a lefty specialist that can limit lefties to a sub-.200 average.
The lack of lefties in the bullpen has been noted by Dennis Lin of UT San Diego and Josh Byrnes, General Manager of the Padres. While Gregerson and Street will remain the backbone, an effective lefty specialist will strengthen the bullpen, and reduce the chance of a late inning lead change.
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