It isn’t every day that we see a potentially impactful bullpen arm on the market for little-to-no cost, but that was exactly the case with former Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Shawn Tolleson. He is now a “former” Dodgers reliever after having been claimed on waivers by the Texas Rangers on Tuesday.
— Shawn Tolleson (@ShawnTolleson38) November 20, 2013
Tolleson notes “big things” for him in Texas next season, and in this instance, he may be right. In 41 major league appearances, the right-hander has just a 4.30 ERA, but that masks some pretty significant talent for the 25-year-old.
As a minor leaguer, Tolleson posted absolutely mind-boggling numbers while with the Dodgers. In 128 innings over portions of 4 seasons, he has a 1.34 ERA (which is obviously outstanding) and more importantly, a staggering 185 strikeouts. That ratio is good for 13.0 strikeouts per 9 innings, which would immediately make him one of the most effective strikeout relievers in the league.
It is dangerous to project those kinds of numbers on to a Major League field, but Tollson did strike out more than a batter per inning during his MLB service, and that is encouraging. Of course, there is a reason he was available for acquisition, as he missed the majority of 2013 with injury, and has a career walk rate of 5.3 BB/9 while in the majors.
Tolleson may not make the bullpen in Texas for opening day, but it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see him up before the middle of the 2014 campaign.