Ryan Tepera: Buffalo Bisons Reliever


RYAN TEPERA. B+. .<p class=. RP. Buffalo Bisons

Ryan Tepera is another one of those guys that doesn’t get a lot of press, but could make an impact in the Blue Jays bullpen in 2015. Tepera throws a fastball, sinker, slider, and changeup. His FB velocity has seen an increase since becoming a full-time member of the bullpen. Previously registering in the high 80’s to low 90’s as a starter, it was consistently around 95 in 2014.

This was Tepera’s first full season as relief pitchers and his stats suggest he took to his new role very well. His strike out numbers improved from 8.15 K/9 in 2013 to 9.42 in 2014. He also improved on his his  BB/9 (3.38), HR/9 (0.56), and his FIP (3.25). This all coming in his first taste of Triple-A baseball.

Consistency was one of Ryan’s better qualities in 2014. He had one poor month in June (0-2, 7.43ERA), but relievers stats can get inflated in a hurry if they have a pair of bad outings. If we remove June, he would have finished with a 7-1, 2.66ERA record.

So why didn’t we see Ryan in Toronto, since the bullpen was considered a disappointment? Well for starters, he’s not on the Toronto Blue Jays 40-man roster. If we look a little closer at the numbers we begin to see some areas of concern. A BIBAP of .341 is the first stat that raises red flags. A reliever is expected to stop a rally and shut down the opposition, not give up hits (9.3 H/9). The defence behind him could have negatively effected his BABIP, but with two defensive wizards (Ryan Goins and Jonathan Diaz) playing the majority of the season in Buffalo, it is hard to place the blame on his D.

The one thing that Ryan did very well was strand runners, and not compound the problem when he came into the game. He lead the Herd in holds (8), was second in games finished, and produced a very healthy 72.6 LOB%.

Tepera was really good against RHB, where he held batters to a .245/.296/.333 slash, but not so good against LHB (.291/.376/.476). This is something that’s plagued him so far in his minor league career, one that will have to be addressed if he hopes to find success in the majors; however, that is what lefty specialist are for….to help out relievers that struggle to get LHB out.

When batters faced Ryan the most likely outcome was a strikeout (24%), ground ball (18%) or a single (16%). Tepera didn’t allow solid contact, only giving up 4 long balls, 14 doubles, and 3 triples.

The Future

Ryan Tepera has a future as a reliever in the majors, but with which team. The Jays were lucky that Ryan went unclaimed in last years Rule V draft, they may not be so lucky this time around. Some team will take a chance on a guy that can strike out 20% of the batters he faced in Triple-A, throws a 95 mph fastball (with movement), and was a starter until last year.

If he is protected or goes unclaimed, I expect to see Tepera being a setup guy in Buffalo or possibly closing out games until John Stilson has fully recovered from TJ. He is a dark horse to break camp with the Blue Jays, but nothing is impossible.

Fun Fact: As a member of Bluefield in his first Ryan Tepera pitched a no-hitter in just his second game.