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Better know your Blue Jays 40-man: Anthony Bass

Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Anthony Bass is a 35-year-old, right-handed reliever. He’s played 11 seasons in the MLB, playing for the Padres, Astros, Rangers, Cubs, Mariners, Blue Jays, Marlins, and now the Blue Jays again.

He was a Jay in 2020 after being picked up on waivers from the Mariners. He wasn’t great (3.51 ERA in 26 games, 25.2 innings), and we let him leave as a free agent after the season.

Until 2021 he was a fairly average reliever. Then the Marlins helped him figure things out. Most of which seems to have been to get him throwing his slider most. In 2018 he threw the slider 28.7% of the time. Last year it was 55.7% of the time.

He threw sliders and sinkers most of the time last year. . Baseball Savant tells us that batters hit his slider for a .180 average and .324 slugging average. They did no better against the sinker (.214 BA, .266 SA).

Bass didn’t give up much for hard contact (24.6%, 47th best among MLB pitchers with more than 60 innings (273 pitchers threw 60 innings last year) and got a good number of strikeouts (26.5%, 72nd among the 273 pitchers to throw 60 innings).

He was very consistent last year, allowing more than one earned run just once all year (he gave up two earned on May 27th). Hugo used to rate relievers on how many blowouts they allowed, which he counted as more than 2 earned in an outing. Bass was very good by that count. Of course, this ignores his part in the awful loss in the playoffs. A rule to live by is: If you only have one bad game in a year, don’t do it in a playoff game. You have one bad game in May, and no one remembers. You have one bad one in October, and everyone forgets the rest of the season.

All that stuff about last year is well and good, but the real question is can he do it again?

I want to think so but:

  • He’s 35.
  • Last season was the best of his career by far.
  • And relievers are notoriously inconsistent.

That last one can drive a person who plays OOTP Baseball crazy. You think you’ve finally built a good bullpen, and the next year you have to start over again.

And it is much like that in real life.

Rafael Dolis is terrific one season and unusable the next. Trevor Richards, Aaron Loup, the list is endless.

A lot of it is the small sample sizes relievers get. 50 innings isn’t enough to balance things out. And that they don't get enough innings to tinker with the release point on their pitches.

Here is the heatmap on his slider. What are the odds he can be this good again?

And sinker:

If you had a lot of time, it would be interesting to check out how many pitchers have a ‘career year’ at 34 and then see how many repeat it at age 35. Or come somewhat close to repeating it. I’m sure it would be a very low percentage.

Anyway, counting against Anthony is that his FIP was double his ERA (FanGraphs has it at 3.00). He left a career-high 89.5% of runners on base. His home runs rate and walk rate were below his career norms. But then he’s been building towards this for the last few years.

Streamer figures he’ll have a 3.84 ERA in 62 games, with his strikeout rate falling a bit (23.2% from last year’s 26.5), walk rate going up a bit (8.3%, from 7.3) and more home runs (1.14/9 innings from 0.77).

How many Jays have had ‘fish’ names? Robbie Ray. I can’t think of anyone else off the top of my head. Derek Fisher?


If the over/under on Anthony Bass’s ERA is 3.50 I’d take the

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  • 28%
    (69 votes)
  • 71%
    (176 votes)
245 votes total Vote Now


If the over/under on Bass’s games is 60 I’d take the

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  • 42%
    (96 votes)
  • 57%
    (131 votes)
227 votes total Vote Now


Bass had 22 holds last year, this year he will have

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  • 38%
    (86 votes)
  • 61%
    (138 votes)
224 votes total Vote Now