Ryan Glass put together a shorthand analysis of the Rays pitching staff over on DRaysBay. Glass took each pitcher’s rate of strikeouts and pop flies (of total batters faced) and added them together. The composite forms an imperfect power ranking, of sorts, based on the criteria, although you could then subtract the walk rates and … well, you’d probably be better suited to just use one of the run average metrics out there.
The downside to Glass’ post is that he puts a spotlight on Andy Sonnanstine’s performance. Sonnanstine does not look worthwhile through any prism nowadays, and in thinking of a positive thing to write about him, I was left with applauding his ability to stay healthy. In better days, Sonnanstine struck out more batters, walked fewer, threw more strikes, and missed more bats. Each of those respective measures is moving in the wrong direction this season.
In trying to figure out the positives of Sonnanstine’s game, I kept wondering why he is even on the roster. Sonnanstine last started a game on June 3 and became available to work in relief on June 8. The Rays have played 11 games since, and Sonnanstine has appeared once—once—to throw 18 pitches in a 7-0 defeat (he allowed two runs on three hits). The longest stretch of inactivity for Sonnanstine this season came in a stretch after his April 10 start and April 27 relief appearance. Depending on what Jeff Niemann can offer, there is a chance he eclipses that record in the coming week-and-a-half.