Today, the Washington Nationals added another fresh arm to the bullpen as they acquired left-hander Marc Rzepczynski from the A’s
With the Washington Nationals looking to add another left-handed arm to their bullpen, the organization traded infield prospect Max Schrock to the Oakland Athletics today in exchange for left-handed reliever Mark Rzepczynski and cash:
Over the course of his eight-year career, Rzepczynski has played for the Blue Jays, Cardinals, Indians, Padres, and A’s. He was drafted by the Blue Jays in the fifth round back in 2007. Oakland traded for Rzepczynski in December 2015 along with Yonder Alonso in the deal that sent Drew Pomeranz to San Diego (now with the Red Sox).
This season, Rzepczynksi, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in 56 games. One problem that the 30-year-old left-hander has had this season is that he has a career high six walks per nine innings after just 3.6 a season ago.
On the plus side, the Washington Nationals get a reliever who has a good amount of postseason experience. Rzepczynski was one of the relievers in the bullpen for the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals in 2011. He has a 4.22 ERA in 18 career postseason appearances, but he hasn’t pitched in the playoffs since he was with the Indians in 2013.
An odd thing about Rzepczynski’s numbers this season is that he has fared much better against right-handers this year. Righties are hitting .226 with three doubles and six RBI’s in 62 at-bats. Meanwhile, lefties are hitting .296 with a home run and 18 RBI’s.
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Rzepczynski will be valuable for this Washington Nationals bullpen because he has the ability to get the groundball outs. According to Fangraphs, opponents have hit a groundball against him 69.5% of the time. The only other Washington Nationals pitcher with a ground ball rate over 50% is Blake Treinen (63.9). Plus, Rzepczynski has given up only one home run this year.
As for Schrock, the Washington Nationals selected him in the 13th round of the 2015 MLB Draft. He was hitting .333 with nine home runs, 68 RBI’s, had a .378 on-base percentage, and stole a combined 22 bases with low-A Hagerstown and high-A Potomac.
Schrock was promoted to Potomac in late June and he was hitting .319 over his last 22 games with one home run and nine RBI’s. He was the 17th best prospect in the Washington Nationals organization, according to MLB Pipeline.
Even though Schrock has hit the ball well at the lower levels of the minor leagues, the Washington Nationals needed to upgrade a bullpen that has been used heavily in the second half of the season. Plus, the Nats have Sean Burnett in triple-A after they acquired him in a trade with the Twins last week.
All in all, this trade makes sense for the Washington Nationals because Rzepczynski knows how to get hitters to hit groundballs in key situations. While he won’t be pitching in Oakland anymore (0.52 ERA at home), he has a 1.23 ERA in 15 appearances since the All-Star Break. Schrock might help the A’s down the road, but the Nats needed another proven veteran in the bullpen.