Thus far in 2017, Cishek has a 3.15 ERA and a 4.80 FIP, while posting the lowest strikeout percentage of his major league career with a mark of 18.8%. Meanwhile opponents are hitting just .185 against him this season over 23 innings pitched across 20 games.
Over the past two years, Cishek has been very effective against right handed hitters, holding them to a slash of .175/.239/.271. Primarily a groundball pitcher throughout his career, 2017 has been extreme for him as opponents hit ground balls over 61% of the time against him, compared to his career rate of 49.8%.
With that profile, Cishek is a mirror image to yesterday’s acquisition of LHP Dan Jennings, an extreme groundball pitcher who excels against same-handed hitting.
Steve Cishek was a 5th round draft pick by the Miami Marlins in the 2007 draft, moved up through their system and eventually made his major league debut in 2010. He would take over the team’s closer role by 2012 and became one of the top shutdown arms in the game for a time. However, his success would be short lived and he’d be dealt to the St Louis Cardinals at the 2015 trade deadline. He’d become a free agent following that season and would sign with the Seattle Mariners, with whom he has spent the past season and half working as the team’s closer and set-up man.
Cishek is currently in his last year of arbitration and will become a free agent following the completion of this season.
Erasmo Ramirez came to the Rays at the end of spring training in 2015 and after a rough beginning, he won fans over as he continuously churned out quality outings in whatever situation the Rays decided to throw him into, whether it would be to close a game out, come in during a tense situation, or the occasional start. Thus far in 2017, Ramirez has a 4.80 ERA and a 4.18 FIP over the course of 69 innings pitched across 26 outings (8 starts).
With the addition of Cishek, the Rays continue to prioritize improving their bullpen. Since this past weekend, the Rays have added former closer Sergio Romo, the aforementioned Dan Jennings, and now Steve Cishek to the bullpen mix.