The flip side of the odd decision to make Radhames Liz a starter is the decision to make Ernesto Frieri, who started every fifth day last year at Double-A San Antonio, a full-time reliever in Triple-A.
Frieri, a 24-year-old Colombian righty, made two relief appearances for the major league Padres last year.
He posted a 4.13 FIP in Double-A last year.
Frieri does get his fastball in the 93-97 mph range in relief, and he works in the 76-80 mph range with his curveball. He also doesn’t have to worry about his change in relief.
The move has worked out great thus far, as he’s struck out 6 of the 9 batters he’s faced and allowed nobody to reach base.
Compare that to his 7.57 K/9 last year as a starter, which is good but nothing too impressive.
With a lot of bullpen depth around, Frieri will have to excel to stand out. Still, it looks like his arsenal could translate extremely well to relief, and you can’t argue with the results thus far.
Already on the 40-man roster, Frieri could be up later this season if this continues.
Dominant relievers have a tendency to come out of nowhere. The current Padres bullpen is littered with examples: Heath Bell, Joe Thatcher, Ed Mujica, Mike Adams, Luke Gregerson, etc.
Frieri could well be next in line.