The next entrant to the 2023 season preview list is right-handed pitcher Anthony Bass.
Previously: Addison Barger (story link)
First, a refresher on what projection systems we're going to taking a look at.
Bass, 35, is going to be entering his second consecutive season (third overall) with the Blue Jays, where has has excelled out of the bullpen. A failed starter-turned-reliever, he has really begun to blossom in recent years as an oft-used middle-relief weapon, even earning seven saves for the Jays back in 2020.
STEAMER: 62 G, 3-3 record, 3.84 ERA, 61 SO and 22 BB in 62 innings
ZiPS: 62 G, 4-3 record, 3.68 ERA, 59 SO and 20 BB in 59 innings
2022 stats: 73 G, 4-3 record, 1.54 ERA, 73 SO, 20 BB in 70.1 innings
The two projection systems seem to have similar feelings about how Bass will fare in the upcoming campaign. With someone of his stature, you sorta know what you're getting. He is a workhorse who rarely misses time with injury and can be relied upon to go multiple innings per outing.
His stats from last year were extremely impressive but it's hard to see him replicating that in the upcoming season. Anytime a pitcher's ERA starts with a 1, it's a huge accomplishment but something that's hard to do in consecutive seasons, especially for someone like Bass who hadn't had an ERA like that since his debut season in 2011.
For his pitching repertoire, Bass has a healthy four-pitch mix he uses from his starting pitching days. Highlighted by a mid-80s slider that he throws around 56% of the time, he also has a sinker/two-seam fastball (31% usage), fourseam fastball (9%) and a splitter (4%).
Recently, I spoke to Bass about what he'd like to accomplish/improve on in the upcoming season. He specifically called out two things.
"I'd like to improve my average fastball velocity and I'd also like to generate more swings and misses with my two-seam/sinker", he told me.
His fourseamer has comfortably sat in the 95-97mph range consistently over the course of his 11-year big league career, but it's the swings and misses on the sinker that sticks out. With the pitch being his second-most used pitch last season, he only registered swinging strikes on it 6.6% of the time per PitcherList.
Bass once again figures to be an important part of this Blue Jays bullpen. He is on an expiring contract and would be a nice weapon to bring back on another contract for his third tenure with the club.