Since moving into the bullpen full-time in 2013, Brett Cecil has easily been the most consistent of our relievers (not that it has been much horse race).
He's had ERAs of 2.82, 2.70 and 2.48 the last three seasons. He's pitched in 60. 66 and 63 games. He has struck out 10.4, 12.8 and 11.6 batters per 9 innings. pretty amazing for a guy that didn't strikeout many as a starter. Last year he cut down on walks, dropping from an 11.5% walk rate to 6.1, but, other than that he's been very consistent. With our park and our infield defense, you really do have to like ground ball pitchers.
He did have a bit of a slow start last year. On June 21, he came into a tied game, starting 9th inning against Baltimore. He got a ground out. Then he walked Chris Davis and Nolan Reimold. A single to JJ Hardy, and we were no longer tied. Ryan Flaherty tripled and Cecil was out of the game. When Ryan Tepera gave up a RBI single to Manny Machado, Cecil had a 5.96 ERA.
That was the last earned run Brett would allow all season.
I don't know what he started doing different. In the first half of the season, but batters hit .245/.325/.418, in the second half .136/.156/.170.
The only real question is "how he'll be used this year?". With Drew Storen, Roberto Osuna, likely, Aaron Sanchez and Cecil all lined up for high leverage work, I'm kind of interested how Gibby plans on using them. Cecil isn't your typical lefty. Cecil is pretty much equally good vs right-handed batters (.576 OPS last year) as left-handers (.539). In fact, in 2014 he had a much better time against RHP (.569) than LHB (.714).
Cecil isn't your basic LOOGY. Using him as one would be a waste, but then we have a few relievers, who should never face lefties, so saving him for moments when lefty batters are likely to come up seems like a good idea, not for his sake but for the team's sake.
It would be nice if we could find another good lefty reliever. Our bullpen wasn't nearly as impressive after he went down with injury in the playoffs. And calling up Ryan Tepera to act as a lefty reliever didn't work in the least. Maybe Aaron Loup cane bounce back. I did have hopes that the Jays would sign someone to be the second lefty in the pen.
Cecil is one of my favorite pitchers to watch. I always enjoy watching pitchers with a great curveball. Fangraphs shows that Cecil threw the curve about 40% of the time.