Scott Downs – RP (2011)
BAA vs Lefties: .179
Soft Contact: 25%
So I decided to go a little bit off the board here but hear me out. I said you could never have too many effective relievers in the bullpen. While the aforementioned Claudio does bring in a solid lefty who generates soft contact, it makes the bullpen more unique and difficult on the opponents when multiple players fit into this role. When looking at one year only of former players, one that really stands out to me was the season that long-time reliever Scott Downs had in his debut season with the Angels in 2011.
Angels: Scott Downs is a left-handed specialist every team is looking for.
Downs joined the Angels after nine successful years as primarily lefty specialist reliever. Once arriving, the 35-year old pitcher took on more of an expanded role facing both left-handed and right-handed hitters consistently. His splits show that Downs faced 92 lefties and 126 righties while putting up a solid 1.34 ERA throughout the season. However, once you look closer into the numbers, Downs was far more dominant against lefties, averaging 8.25 strikeouts per nine innings over 3.94 against righties.
Though the rules have changed where the lefty specialist has come close to obsolete, Downs proved that he was effective in all situations in 2011, which would make him another solid option coming out of the ‘pen. Additionally, there are still many situations in a game that would make a soft contact pitcher such as Downs valuable throughout the game.