Yep, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series last night. It really, seriously, happened. We will continue to dive back into the game and pore over every single detail, highlight, story, etc., but there is life beyond last night (apparently).
Don’t blame me, though, it’s the Chicago Cubs’ tireless front office that’s forcing our hand:
My god. This organization really does never stop working. pic.twitter.com/xDKr7P3Ake
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) November 3, 2016
Yes, on the day the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, they also … claimed a 28 year-old, right-handed reliever from the Yankees named Conor Mullee.
Mullee is a tall, two-time Tommy John Surgery reliever who, after being taken in the 24th round of the 2010 MLB Draft, finally made his Major League Debut this season for the Yankees. That said, his debut was limited due to yet another injury (we’ll get to that in a minute), so we’ll have to go back to his time in the Minor Leagues to learn anything about him.
In 2015, Mullee tossed 42.1 innings at the Double-A level (his highest single-season inning total yet). There, he leveraged a modest, but useable 22.2% strikeout rate against a 7.8% walk rate and a .245 average-against into a 3.40 ERA (3.50 FIP). He was promoted to Triple-A near the end of the season, which is where he began in 2016 (he actually made one appearance in Double-A at the beginning of the year, but was almost immediately promoted).
Across 36.1 innings of relief at Triple-A, Mullee turned into quite a different pitcher – an extremely interesting one, at that.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Mullee began striking batters out at a truly excellent 32.9% clip. And while many pitchers might sell out some command to increase their strikeouts, Mulle’s walk rate held steady at 8.0%. As you can imagine, his ERA dropped down to 0.99 ERA and his FIP was right there with it (1.96). He did get a bit lucky with balls in play (.250 BABIP) and sequencing (88.2% strand rate), but with a K/BB ratio like that, better results tend to find you quickly.
Of course, being healthy for two consecutive seasons in a row, probably didn’t hurt … but it also didn’t last.
Mullee made three appearances with the Yankees in 2016, although they were fairly spread apart. And then, on July 2, the Yankees placed Mullee on the 15-day disabled list with a right hand injury. On August 13, things got worse, as Mullee was moved to the 60 Day DL, to make time for the season-ending surgery to address a nerve issue in his elbow. At this point, you can understand why the Yankees were ready to move on.
In the Cubs’ organization, though, Mullee finds new life.
After all, he had just started putting his career together, before the latest injury struck, but maybe the Cubs will have better luck. And hey, there’s never a bad time to pick up a low-risk, high-reward pitcher, right?
Even on the day you win the World Series.