Tanner Scott is coming off his best major league performance in 2021 when he posted a 1.31 ERA in 20.2 IP last season. Despite a career low 10K/9 K rate (still 67 percentile), Scott learned to induce a lot of weak contact.
Exit velocity: 93 percentile (85.1 MPH)
Hard hit %: 87 percentile (30.0%)
Barrel %: 85 percentile (4%)
Despite a 21 percentile BB% (4.4 % but a career low), he held batters to a 69 percentile XWOBA (.283 – Note: .321 MLB avg) and a career best .247 WOBA.
The real improvements though can be seen in his fastball and slider analytics that showed significant spin rate increases from 2019 to 2020.
While his fastball is still has a higher than average WOBA and XWOBA, his Whiff% rose from 18.4% to career high 31.8% which really shows the affect of the better spin rate. The slider remains his go to pitch and was basically unhittable last year. He put up his first ever negative launch angle (-2) on any pitch over his career meaning he got a lot of ground balls off that slider but still managed to put up an impressive 43.1% Whiff rate.
The easy answer for his role this season would be closer, and we’re not saying he couldn’t end up there, but his ability to work in high leverage situations and his ability to dominate both righties and lefties makes him very useful to manager Brandon Hyde in those high leverage situations.
Scott did pitch back to back games five times last year allowing only one run (his only home run of the year allowed and ironically in his only save) so he has showed the ability to pitch back to back effectively, something all closers need to be able to do.
Either way, Scott is one of the few pitchers coming into 2021 with his place assured on the opening day roster minus an injury, but it will be interesting what role he will fulfill in Hyde’s bullpen.