The 25-year-old right-handed pitcher is having an outstanding rookie season, and very few people saw it coming.
This is a player who the New York Yankees essentially gave up on last year by deciding not to protect him in the Rule 5 Draft.
The Red Sox swooped in and grabbed him, and they’re certainly glad they did.
Whitlock has already been through a lot in his young career, including undergoing a Tommy John surgery that held him out of game action for 20 months.
That’s in the past now, and today, he’s one of the most important players on a contending Red Sox team.
He has a 1.86 ERA, 2.68 FIP, and 1.12 WHIP over 41 relief appearances this season.
His name has even been mentioned in some Rookie of the Year conversations.
It’s worth noting…again…that Garrett Whitlock hadn’t pitched above AA before this season. He won’t win it, and I get it, but what he’s done is borderline unprecedented.
Where would this club be without him? https://t.co/OhlhEb5n5F
— Cody Collins (@Cody_CollinsMLB) September 2, 2021
Now, with all of those great things said, Whitlock’s last two outings have been rocky.
He has allowed four runs over his last 2.2 innings of work, including a blown save in Monday’s game.
With Boston battling for Wild Card positioning, this isn’t happening a particularly opportune time.
Should the Red Sox be concerned?
Whitlock Is Too Resilient For There To Be Any Lasting Concerns About His Last 2 Outings
We already mentioned that Whitlock has been through a lot in his career.
He has the type of personality a person needs to get through tough times.
For instance, it takes a lot of resilience to bounce back from Tommy John surgery.
Resilience is the key word here, because that seems to be something Whitlock has a lot of.
Here’s what we mean by that.
To start the 2021 season, it was smooth sledding for the righty.
He had a 1.17 ERA over his first 32 relief appearances.
But in August, he hit a bit of a rough patch.
Over a span of three appearances, he was charged with a blown save, a loss, and he allowed four runs over 3.2 innings.
#RedSox reliever Garrett Whitlock was charged with his 2nd blown save of the year and saw his 14.0-inning scoreless streak snapped Tuesday vs #Rays. Allowed 2 earned runs on 4 hits over 1.2 IP. Walked 2 in that forgettable outing. Threw 37 pitches.
— Red Sox Nation Stats (@RSNStats) August 15, 2021
He had an ERA of 9.82 over those three outings.
All eyes were on the rookie to see how he was going to respond.
Some young players in his position might have gotten rattled; others might have lost their rhythm.
Whitlock did neither.
He responded by tossing 7.1 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run.
At this point, it was clear he was the real deal.
And for that reason, there’s no point in worrying about his recent struggles in back-to-back outings.
The youngster will surely find his footing over the next week or so and return to form.
That’s what resilient players do.
Other Thoughts: Whitlock Will Likely Be Thrust Into A Big Role In The Playoffs
Rookie or not, Whitlock will likely find himself in some high-leverage situations in October.
It will be very interesting to see how the rookie handles postseason baseball.
The moment hasn’t gotten too big for him at any point in the regular season, but we’ll have to wait and see if that holds true in the playoffs.
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