As Major League Baseball shifts to the playoffs, Bowie residents will not see a familiar face.
While the Texas Rangers did not make the playoffs for the third straight season, we are refering to the defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox who employ Bowie alumnus Brandon Workman.
The Red Sox were just above .500 with a 84-78 record and 12 games back from the wildcard. While a lot of people point to injuries and not the most reliable pitching bullpen for Boston coming up short this season, no one is pointing fingers at Workman.
Despite being apart of said infamous bullpen, the career middle relieving pitcher put up a career year from start to finish. Workman had career best totals in wins (10), ERA (1.88), strikeouts (104), hits allowed (29) while picking up 16 saves when he moved to the crucial closer role for the last two months of the season.
Some of these numbers are among the best numbers for relief pitchers in franchise history.
Workman graduated from Bowie in 2007 and went on to play at the University of Texas in Austin before getting drafted by the Red Sox in the second round of the 2010 draft. His first year in the majors as a middle relief pitcher saw him help Boston capture its third World Series title of the century.
Workman famously has come back from Tommy John surgery that had him miss all of the 2015 and 2016 seasons. He showed enough towards the end in 2017 for the Red Sox to believe in him getting back to his winning ways, but he was called up and sent down from the minor leagues five times during the 2018 season on the way to another World Series title.
Still, he stayed healthy and the 30-year-old was solid enough when he played for Boston to sign him to a one year contract worth $1.15 million before this season.
There were concerns early in spring training when Workman’s fastball velocity, historically around the low to mid 90s, dipped into the 80s. While he was able to work his velocity back up into the low 90s range, Workman did make a change to his approach this season as he started throwing his curveball more often instead of trying to set up as his strikeout pitch.
The results speak for themselves. In a season with that saw the league record for homeruns get broken again, Workman, who made another career high 73 appearances this season, allowed only one.
His opponents batting average of .123 is the lowest of any pitcher with a minimum of 60 innings pitched in more than a century. His opponents slugging percentage .166 is the lowest since 1961.
The only downside to Workman’s season besides his team’s lack of success is his walk total. His 45 walks are a career high despite pitching almost 16 fewer innings than he did in 2014 when he walked 36.
Workman just turned 31 in August. Looking like he is all the way back from a serious injury, the usually solid middle reliever went above and beyond as the most trusted arm in a bullpen that desperately needed more.
By the end, the team had no one else to turn to for the role of closer despite never working at the highly pressured position before.
Whether Workman will be able to live up to what he did this season will remain to be seen, but with his contract up, he is in position for a big payday.
To read the full story, pick up a copy of the weekend edition of the Bowie News.