Let's see if we can wrap this up.
Mike Ekstrom (26). RHP. Reliever. 58 Innings (3 2/3 postseason). 39 Games (1 start). 6-1. 6 holds, 1 save. ERA 2.79. On Rays 40-man.
- Ekstrom started the year in Tampa Bay and came to the Bulls in a swap for Joaquin Benoit in late April. He went back up to the Rays for a couple of weeks in early August, again in early September, came back for one round of playoffs, and went back to the Rays. Not quite sure why he was around all year given the somewhat erratic quality of the Rays bullpen, but nice to have him with the Bulls and he did a good job. Seemed to handle the back and forth better than most we’ve seen around here. He’s young. He’s only got two years of AAA under his belt. If he doesn’t stick with the Rays he might be back next year.
- A great deal of the Bulls’ success over the last two years can be attributed to Winston Abreu. If his number of saves seems a bit low (tied for 3rd in the IL), remember that in the early months of the season there were few save opportunities with the Bulls on a record-setting run scoring pace. Very, very important to the Bulls to know that if they had a lead going into the last inning, Abreu was there. At a guess, it’s up to Abreu whether or not he wants to put in another year with the Bulls. Certainly the team (and this fan) would love to have him back.
- There was not a pitcher on the crew that was more fun to watch this year than R.J. Swindle. He got a late start on the season, not showing up with the Bulls until May 10. Impressive control right out of the gate. He didn’t walk a single batter until his eighth appearance. R.J. is famous for his slow curve that loops across the plate at much less than 60 mph, while his “fastball” barely approaches 80 mph. No pitcher on the Bulls staff could mix it up as well as he could. One or two inning guy, real asset to the team. Still young. He could be a real help to the Bulls in years to come if Rays want to keep him around.
- Downs joined the Bulls from the Montgomery Biscuits in late June. His numbers with the Bulls were much less impressive than his 1.67 ERA at AA level. On the other hand, this was his first visit to AAA baseball and he seems fully recovered from his injuries. Pretty sure that he’s going to be on the Rays “Let’s wait and see” list. Maybe Biscuits, probably Bulls next year.
Bobby Livingston (27). LHP. 27 2/3 innings (5 postseason). 5 games, no decisions. Livingston filled in some gaping holes in the Bulls starting lineup on August, and did a pretty good job for us. He’s been banging around AAA for the last couple of years — Indianapolis, Columbus, Norfolk, Buffalo, and Albuquerque — so have to think there’s a story there we don’t know about. Still, liked what we saw in August and September. Stats.
Heath Rollins (25). RHP. Started the season with the Bulls and appeared in 13 games (23 innings), but did not do well. Was sent down to Montgomery where he also did not do well. Stats.
Jake McGee (23). LHP. Started the season with Montgomery as a starter. Came to the Bulls in August to work as a reliever (17 innings) and did very, very well. Went to Tampa in mid-September. On 40-man. Likely to start 2011 with the Bulls. Stats.
Ramon Ortiz (37). RHP. 17 innings. 4 games. Much like Bobby Livingston, brought in at the end of the season to fill some holes in starting lineup. Less successful than Livingston. First time we’ve ever seen a pitcher tossed from a game for something he apparently said, not something he did (August 30). Did not appear in the postseason. Stats.
Brian Shouse (42). LHP. Reliever. Signed in mid-August to fill some holes and possibly back up the Rays bullpen. 10 games, 12 innings. Was of little help to Bulls. Stats.
Jeff Bennett (30). RHP. Starter. Started the year with Durham. Pitched one game, faced two batters in his second start and went on DL. Had one more start on May 11 and was released. Total of 10 2/3 innings. Stats.
Paul Phillips (26). RHP. Came up from Montgomery and got in 3 appearances (10 2/3 innings) before the end of the season and two in post season (6 1/3 innings). We like Phillips, but he’s running out of time. He could easily come out of spring training on the Bulls roster. Or just as easily disappear. Stats.
Joaquin Benoit (33). RHP. Likely to become a trivia question if he keeps up his terrific performance as a Rays setup man. He did spend a couple of weeks with the Bulls at the beginning of the year, making 8 appearances for 9 2/3 innings, 2 saves and a loss. Swapped out for Mike Ekstrom. Stats.
Jason Cromer (29). LHP. 8 innings. 4 games. A favorite of WDBB, Jason could not get his arm/elbow working right this year. He did show up for four games in late May/early June. He on the books as pitching a couple of games/innings in mid-August down in the Gulf Coast League, so we can hope. But have to say that it doesn’t look well. Jason’s running out of time. Stats.
Justin Garcia (24). RHP. Reliever. 4 2/3 innings. If you been reading this far, this is the punch line. Justin Garcia, as far as we can tell, has never been to Durham, NC. He came up from Montgomery and pitched two games in relief against Indianapolis, then went from there to the Charlotte Stone Crabs. Obvious candidate for the Moonlight Graham Award. Stats.
Alex Cobb (22). RHP. Starter. Alex did not play for the Bulls in the regular season. He did come up for the postseason and took a loss in his first appearance. Nevertheless, he is a very, very promising young pitcher, one of two on this year’s Biscuits squad on the Rays 40-man (Jake McGee being the other one). If we’re lucky, we’ll see a lot of him next year. Stats.