As of Tuesday night’s game in which the Athletics defeated the Brewers by the score of 5-3, Ryan Dull extended his streak of keeping inherited base runners from scoring to 30. He’s been quite impressive thus far in 2016. I think the title to this piece fits him quite well! Congrats Mr. Dull! 30 inherited runners and not one has scored …. that’s a nice streak! Keep it up!
Ryan Dull has become indispensable to the A’s bullpen
Even after beginning his big league career throwing 11 scoreless innings in 2015, there were many, as recently as mid-March, who were questioning if Ryan Dull would make the Oakland Athletics’ roster in 2016.
Now it’s virtually impossible to envision the A’s bullpen without the unimposing 5-foot-9, 175-pound right-hander who was, until last year, just another in the sea of pitchers in the Texas League.
Dull spent almost two full seasons with the Double-A Midland Rockhounds. While his numbers were exceptional, he was just a 32nd-round draft pick out of UNC-Asheville in the 2012 draft and he learned, like the many others in his position, that he’d have to make his own opportunities.
Boy has he.
After posting a 0.60 ERA in 35 appearances and 45 innings pitched (while also amassing 54 strikeouts) for Midland in 2015, he was finally promoted to Triple-A Nashville. While he’d always put up good numbers, Dull saw his opportunity opening and seized it.
He pitched just 16.0 innings at the Triple-A level, allowing just 10 hits and two runs while striking out 21 batters and walking just three. After just 12 appearances at the minor leagues’ highest level, Dull got the call to play the month of September with the Oakland A’s.
Despite a few minor blips on the radar, Dull, then just 25, was impressing everyone around him from the fans to the players to the team’s brass. He finished the 2015 season having made 13 appearances at the big league level. He posted a 4.24 ERA over 17.0 innings in which he struck out 16 batters. He was named the A’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year on top of everything else, a true honor for a reliever.
After a disappointing 68-94 2015 season that was due mostly to failures in the bullpen, the A’s decided to do a complete overhaul, adding Ryan Madson, John Axford and Liam Hendriks. They kept only Sean Doolittle, Fernando Rodriguez and Dull out of the many pitchers who had pitched in relief during the 2015 season.
Still, while Dull had passed that test, he needed to have a good spring to make the A’s roster. Yet again, he rose to the occasion and seized the opportunity that was put in front of him. He had a very strong spring that put him in contention for a spot with the major league roster.
An injury in the A’s rotation opened up another pitching spot, all but guaranteeing that Dull’s name would be on the A’s Opening Day roster. It was a spot he’d earned and yet another opportunity he’s seized.
For more on how Dull has fared this year in the majors you can read the remainder of my column on Today’s Knuckleball by following the link below:
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