Looking back at the 2022 trade deadline, it is safe to say a lot of Blue Jays fans were initially disappointed at how the team fared with their transactions. The club was needing a shutdown reliever, arguably one that could light up the radar gun, while also potentially adding another starter and a left-handed bat to finish out the lineup.
Overall, the Blue Jays acquired a swingman in Mitch White, prospects Alex De Jesus and Edward Duran, a right-handed hitting utility player in Whit Merrifield, and two relievers in Anthony Bass and Zach Pop, both of whom at the time did not boast a K/9 over the 9.5 mark. The Jays also traded away a top prospect in former first-rounder Jordan Groshans, a prospect in Nick Frasso who can flirt with 99 MPH, and a depth emerging starter in Max Castillo, a move that is likely hurting the Jays with their issues regarding the fifth starter right now.
While this initially seemed lacklustre compared to AL rivals and their transactions, reliever Anthony Bass is certainly holding up his end of the bargain, emerging as not only one of the top arms in the Blue Jays bullpen, but also one of the top arms moved at the trade deadline.
Bass was pitching well at the time of the trade, owning a 1.41 ERA with the Miami Marlins. He had appeared in 44.2 innings of work and had amassed a 9.1 K/9 while allowing just one home run all year compared to seven earned runs in total.
Right-hander Anthony Bass has been a welcome addition to the Blue Jays bullpen since the trade deadline, continuing to find ways to keep opponents off base.
Since arriving in Toronto, Bass has remained stellar down in the bullpen, amassing a 1.45 ERA through 21 appearances as 18.2 innings of work, allowing just three earned runs, all of which have come via the home run ball. He has also seen a slight uptick in his K/9 to 9.5 while using his slider and sinker to generate a 54.2% ground ball rate, limiting line drive and fly ball percentages underneath league averages. His statcast numbers are also very impressive, sitting in the 70th percentile or above in numerous categories, most impressively getting opponents to chase at a 92nd percentile rate.
Compared to other relievers traded at the deadline, Bass has been near the top of the list, as David Robertson (Phillies) has allowed five earned runs through 17.1 IP for a 2.60 ERA, Jorge López (Twins) owns a 4.16 ERA through 16 outings with four saves, Chris Martin (Dodgers) has amassed a 2.04 ERA through 18 appearances, and Will Smith (Astros) has allowed four earned runs in 15.1 innings of work.
The only two relievers boasting better overall numbers than Bass since the trade deadline are Lou Trivino (Yankees) and Raisel Iglesias (Braves), with both pitchers appearing in fewer games and fewer innings than Bass since being traded to their new teams.
Overall, Anthony Bass has been a welcome addition to the Blue Jays bullpen and will be a key member heading down the stretch and into the potential postseason, as I imagine John Schneider will keep utilizing in him the high leverage 7th/8th inning area throughout the rest of the year.