Miami Marlins: Kyle Barraclough is Unhittable

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 28: Kyle Barraclough #46 of the Miami Marlins throws a pitch during the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Marlins Park on April 28, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 28: Kyle Barraclough #46 of the Miami Marlins throws a pitch during the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Marlins Park on April 28, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /
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Kyle Barraclough has always been tough to hit. He’s got 254 strikeouts in 196 1/3 innings pitched through his career through last night.

Speaking of last night, the Miami Marlins came back from a 4-2 ninth-inning deficit to defeat the San Francisco Giants in the first game of a three-game road series. The win clinched Miami’s season series against the Giants. Barraclough did save the game by pitching a perfect ninth inning.

Miami Marlins
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JUNE 18: Kyle Barraclough #46 shakes hands with Bryan Holaday #28 after they beat the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on June 18, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Barraclough’s Season

Kyle Barraclough‘s dynamite K/9 rate has dropped in each of the last three seasons. He went from 11.1 in 24 1/3 innings as a rookie to 14.0 in 72 2/3 innings in 2016. 2017 would see it drop to 10.4, and this season it’s leveled out at 9.5.

Also down in every season is his walk rate. From 6.7 to 5.4 to 5.2 and now down to 4.5. What’s most remarkable in this season is that his WHIP is just over half of his career figure. He had put up a respectable 1.288 figure, despite his aggressive base-on-balls rate. This year, that number has fallen off the table to a nearly unfathomable 0.773.

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In 33 1/3 innings this season, Barraclough has allowed nine hits and struck out 35. Opponents aren’t used to much success against him, with a .192 batting average against coming into this season. Now it’s dropped to .084. It doesn’t even really seem to matter if he’s facing right-handers or left-handers. He’s held rightys to a .075 and leftys to a .098.

Even more jarring is his performance over his last 19 appearances, during which he’s allowed one hit and one run in 18 2/3 innings. He’s walked six and only struck out 11, but still, batters are hitting .018 against him since May 8th.

Miami Marlins fans were already clamoring for Barraclough to be put in the closer’s role. Brad Ziegler’s early season struggles made it a no-brainer for manager Don Mattingly, who moved him into the spot near the end of May.

The Marlins hold three seasons of control left, and Barraclough is only 28-years-old. Arbitration eligible next season, he’s due to become a free agent in 2022.

Barraclough’s Path to the Miami Marlins

Barraclough was not always a reliever. He started for the Saint Mary’s College Gaels before getting drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 40th round of the 2011 draft. Wisely, he deigned to sign, and was chosen in the seventh round of the 2012 draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. On July 24th, 2015, the Miami Marlins traded away Steve Cishek to acquire him from St. Louis. At the time, there was much gnashing of teeth in the Miami Marlins fanbase.

Next: Where is Starlin Castro Headed?

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