The fascinating thing about the rumors this week that Aroldis Chapman or Craig Kimbrel might be traded was the fact that that just never happens. Relievers change hands in big volume every year at the deadline, but they tend to be interchangeable arms, many of them with eerily similar profiles: the left specialist, the ancient strike-thrower, the guys with huge stuff who still, somehow, can’t miss bats.
Tommy Hunter fits among that last group. Despite his four-seamer and sinker both routinely reaching the mid-90s, he’s never struck out more than 20.2 percent of opposing batters, and that’s as a one-inning reliever. Of the 334 pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched this year, Hunter ranks 162nd in ground-ball rate and 218thin strikeout rate. He doesn’t give up a ton of walks and he mostly stays off opposing hitters’ barrels, so he survives, the way Jason Motte and Joakim Soria do. He doesn’t dominate, though, and only watching him pitch in a single outing or two, without the benefit of numbers to inform one’s analysis, could fool anyone into thinking he does.
[To read the remainder of the Hunter trade analysis by Matt Trueblood, and other BP staff, please visit the main page at Baseball Prospectus. The article can be found here.]
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