By: Jay Blue and @JaysGirlEmily
Blue Jays From Away
Now that the season is over, the crew at Blue Jays from Away will take a look at the Blue Jays one by one and review how each player’s season went, whether he met expectations (or not) and look at how he fits into (what we think of) the Blue Jays’ plans going forward.
Ryan Tepera may not be the sexiest name the Blue Jays had in their bullpen in 2016 but the hard-throwing righty has done all the Jays have asked of him as he continues to search for an everyday role in the major leagues. A year after he made his major league debut with 33 innings in Toronto, Tepera was up and down throughout the entire 2016 season, changing teams nine times after starting with the Buffalo Bisons.
Tepera got more work in spring training last season than he had before, throwing 8 1/3 innings over nine appearances and allowing just two runs on eight hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Despite the strong performance, the numbers game meant that he was optioned to Buffalo to start the season.
Tepera was back in Toronto by the time April was over but gave up three runs in 2 1/3 innings before being returned to Buffalo in mid-May. In Buffalo, Tepera was almost unhittable (giving up four hits in nine innings while striking out 10) and he was recalled to the majors, appearing against the Yankees on June 1 with a scoreless inning.
Back in Buffalo for most of June, Tepera only gave up five hits in 10 1/3 innings and he allowed two runs before his next return trip to the Blue Jays, pitching 1 1/3 innings in Colorado striking out two and heading back to Buffalo to open July. He finally spent a full month in one place, throwing 12 2/3 innings with Buffalo and posting a 2.13 ERA along with 14 strikeouts and he found himself pitching in the major leagues on August 10.
Tepera got into four games this time, spending almost two weeks in Toronto where he tossed 3 2/3 innings without giving up a run. Back in Buffalo, he allowed a run on three hits and a walk in 4 2/3 innings before rejoining the Blue Jays when rosters expanded in September.
While other young pitchers disappeared into the shadows of the bullpen as the month of September dragged on, Tepera was called upon to pitch in close games and rewarded the team. While he gave up three runs over his first two September appearances, he didn’t give up another earned run all season, closing out September with a 3.00 ERA and just eight hits allowed in nine innings, striking out 11.
Tepera had a 2.95 ERA overall with the Blue Jays while getting a very good, 58.5% ground ball rate, a 21.2% strikeout rate and a somewhat-high 9.4% walk rate. He also made one appearance in the ALDS against Texas, retiring both batters he faced.
Despite having played with the Blue Jays in parts of two seasons, Tepera has just over one year of major league service time and has one option year remaining.
In 2016, Ryan Tepera appeared in 20 games with the Blue Jays, pitching to a 2.95 ERA in 18.1 innings. He was up and down between Toronto and Buffalo seven times, beginning the season in AAA out of spring training. On April 27th he made his first appearance, and allowed one run in one inning.
He allowed two more runs in 1.1 innings in two May outings, including his first decision of the year – a loss in San Francisco when he walked Buster Posey on four pitches with the bases loaded in the 13th inning of a tie game. He was optioned back to Buffalo following that game, and returned on May 30th. In 2.1 combined innings in June, he didn’t allow a baserunner and struck out three.
The right-hander returned to Toronto in August and threw in four games, totalling 4.2 innings with no runs allowed. In that time span, he allowed four hits, two walks and struck out three. He pitched in eleven games in September, allowing three earned runs (and two unearned) in 9.0 innings.
For the season, he had a 1.36 WHIP, with one home run allowed, 8 walks and 18 strikeouts. He didn’t have any save situations, and had a 0-1 record. His K/BB ratio was 2.25, and he allowed 2 of 14 inherited runners to score. At the beginning of the season, he was being used in place of a left-handed reliever, and left-handed hitters batted .206/.316/.364 against him, compared to .250/.348/.250 for righties.
Tepera pitched in one game in the playoffs, throwing the last two outs in ALDS Game 1. He allowed no hits or walks, and didn’t strike anyone out.
Regular Season Grades
Emily: An (incredibly small sample size)