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The Oakland A’s Other All-Star

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Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

It is probably obvious to most people paying attention to the Oakland A’s that Jed Lowrie is on track to be voted or invited onto the 2018 AL All-Star team. He’s been the team’s overall best player thus far. In fact he’s been among the top-15 players in baseball to this point in 2018. Lowrie has been great before, too so this isn’t exactly a surprise. Everything is pointing toward Lowrie becoming an All-Star. Although typically the A’s are relegated to having just one representative, you cannot deny a team with multiple elite options to play in the midsummer classic. That is where Blake Treinen enters the picture — Oakland’s other other All-Star.

I get that it is still early and there is plenty of time for players to regress, both positively and negatively, so jumping to the conclusion that Lowire, let along Treinen are All-Stars is probably misguided. However I think it is worth noting just how impressive Treinen has been for the A”s this season.

Treinen is undoubtedly enjoying the best season of his career:

Blake Treinen’s Career

Season Team ERA IP K% BB% K-BB% SwStr% HR/9 BABIP WHIP FIP xFIP SIERA
Season Team ERA IP K% BB% K-BB% SwStr% HR/9 BABIP WHIP FIP xFIP SIERA
2014 Nationals 2.49 50.2 14.0 % 6.1 % 8.0 % 7.5 % 0.18 0.333 1.38 3.09 3.62 3.52
2015 Nationals 3.86 67.2 23.2 % 11.4 % 11.8 % 10.9 % 0.53 0.328 1.39 3.49 3.31 3.28
2016 Nationals 2.28 67 24.0 % 11.8 % 12.2 % 10.5 % 0.67 0.28 1.22 3.62 3.47 3.52
2017 2 Teams 3.93 75.2 22.8 % 7.7 % 15.1 % 13.1 % 0.71 0.344 1.39 3.42 3.57 3.41
2018 Athletics 1.08 25 30.5 % 7.6 % 22.9 % 17.8 % 0.36 0.297 1.12 2.03 2.47 2.58
Fangraphs.com

Strikeouts are up, walks and home runs are down, his BABIP is in check. His swinging strike rate supports his increased strikeout rate and even though his ERA is lower than his peripherals suggest it should be, his FIP, xFIP, and SIERA are all career lows by a wide margin.

Having a career year isn’t sufficient for being an All-Star, unless your career best puts you among the league leaders.

Blake Treinen vs. MLB

# Name Team WAR
# Name Team WAR
1 Josh Hader Brewers 1.6
2 Blake Treinen Athletics 1.1
3 Edwin Diaz Mariners 1.1
4 Adam Ottavino Rockies 1
5 Aroldis Chapman Yankees 1
6 Bud Norris Cardinals 1
7 Sean Doolittle Nationals 0.9
8 Jeremy Jeffress Brewers 0.8
9 Dan Winkler Braves 0.8
10 Felipe Vazquez Pirates 0.8
Fangraphs.com

Here is where Treinen fits among the league in several important indicators. I’ve included saves because those things still count for something to some people.

Blake Treinen’s League Ranks

IP ERA fWAR K-BB% SV
IP ERA fWAR K-BB% SV
12th (2nd among "closers") 4th (2nd among "closers") T-1st 13th (5th among closers) T-3rd
Fangraphs.com

It’s clear Treinen has been a dominant relief pitcher this season. He was great for Oakland last summer after he was acquired for Sean Doolittle (who, you’ll notice, is lower in the fWAR ranking). Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs recently pointed this out.

One part of Treinen’s game that has made him so valuable to the A’s, whether this shows up in the numbers or not, is his ability to stretch out and pitch effectively for more than just three outs.

Half of Treinen’s appearances have been for more than one inning, including three two-inning outings and a three inning appearance. He has given up exactly one earned run in those games.

Blake Treinen’s 2018 Game Logs

Date W SV IP TBF ER HR LOB%
Date W SV IP TBF ER HR LOB%
2018-05-24 0 1 1.1 5 0 0 100.0 %
2018-05-22 0 0 1 4 0 0 100.0 %
2018-05-19 0 1 1 4 0 0 100.0 %
2018-05-18 0 1 1.1 4 0 0 100.0 %
2018-05-15 0 1 1 5 1 0 0.0 %
2018-05-14 0 1 1 3 0 0 100.0 %
2018-05-12 0 0 1 3 0 0 100.0 %
2018-05-11 0 1 1.1 4 0 0 100.0 %
2018-05-06 0 1 1 5 0 0 100.0 %
2018-05-04 0 1 1 3 0 0 100.0 %
2018-05-02 1 0 2 12 0 0 100.0 %
2018-04-24 0 0 0 1 1 0 0.0 %
2018-04-22 1 0 1.2 6 0 0 100.0 %
2018-04-18 0 0 3 14 1 0 80.0 %
2018-04-15 0 1 1.1 4 0 0 100.0 %
2018-04-07 0 1 2 8 0 0 100.0 %
2018-04-06 0 0 0.1 4 0 1 -166.7 %
2018-04-02 0 1 1.2 7 0 0 100.0 %
2018-03-29 0 0 2 9 0 0 100.0 %
Fangraphs.com

As a result of his dominance and quantity of work Treinen has earned a spot atop the American League’s Win Probability Added leaderboard. Which simply means Treinen has been presented with several opportunities to affect the game either positively or negatively, but he’s managed to leave a positive impact most often.

It’s early and All-Star voting ballots haven’t even been released. However, Treinen has done enough to demonstrate he should be trusted as much as anyone with the game on the line and that he can stick with the league’s best relievers.

(Stats are from before Saturday’s games due to technical difficulties)