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Should Andrew Saalfrank be the Diamondbacks Go To Guy Down the Stretch?

Sep 16, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Andrew Saalfrank (57) pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the tenth inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
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Andrew Saalfrank has been nothing short of dominant since being called up earlier this month, should he be the guy Lovullo goes to? Saalfrank has allowed just two runs in six outings in the bigs. In his 7.2 innings on the hill Saalfrank has a 0.00 ERA, which has all happened over the last to weeks.

He’s been that guy

It is a very small sample size, but the Diamondbacks rookie reliever seems to be the real deal. In the minor leagues Andrew threw 130.1 innings and had a 3.04 ERA. Saalfrank was the 182nd overall pick by the Diamondbacks in the 2019 draft. In the 2023 season, with 64 innings pitched in the minors his ERA was just 2.53.

In tonights game the rookie saw the hill and shut the Giants down. Saalfrank came into the ball game in the seventh, allowing just one walk, no hits and no runs. This is starting to become a normal thing for the rookie reliever. Coming into ball games and shutting opponents down. The only two runs Andrew Saalfrank gave up was in a Diamondbacks extra inning win where he threw two innings.

The new era of the set up man

Saalfrank might not have to be a guy you throw for more than one inning, he can be more of a set up guy. With the new rules in the MLB, going an inning to win certain matchups is the new set up guy. Where teams used to be able to have one guy come in for a certain matchup, say to set up a lefty, those guys are obsolete. Having a guy like Saalfrank can be very pivotal for the Diamondbacks. Someone that can come in, slow an offense down for an inning, to set up someone like Kevin Ginkel for example.

Your starters are your starters for a reason. These short relief guys, like Andrew Saalfrank, are huge for a team.

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