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At Halfway: Relievers Rewarded For First Half Performace

Now that we are starting the second half of the season at all levels of full season baseball we would like to take this time to get caught up to date on what all the players we have featured are up too. We have been updating readers all season long on top pitching and offensive performances on twitter and will continue to attempt to recognize these performances during the second half as well. In the mean time we wanted to recap each of our featured players first half performances.

Steven Hensley

The start of the 2012 season marked a change for Hensley as the Mariners converted him from starter into a full-time relief pitcher. Hensley found himself back in familiar territory however playing for the Jackson Generals the Seattle Mariners AA affiliate. Throughout the first half of the season Hensley found success on being aggressive with opposing hitters. “The transition to the bullpen became a lot easier for me when I started being more aggressive and stopped thinking so much.” Hensley said.

As Hensley used his new approached his numbers kept improving. Through the middle of June Hensley posted a 2-2 record with a 3.24 ERA and 2 saves appearing in 20 games for the Generals. Over the course of those 20 games he ended up accumulating  33.1 innings and he struck out 36 opposing batters. Hensley was able to hold opponents to a .188 batting average. These solid across the board numbers lead to a promotion. When asked how he got the news he would be getting promoted to Tacoma the Mariners AAA team, Hensley recalled ” I found out after the game when Bobby Lafromboise and I got called into the office. Pretty standard!”

Since his promotion Hensley has appeared in 8 games and has struggled at times at his new level. Opponents are hitting .304 against him and he has a 1-2 record with a 7.47 ERA. However if Hensley keeps working with his aggressive approach as he keeps transitioning and learning how to be a relief pitcher the success will come at the AAA level. Hensley is just one step away from a spot in the major leagues.

Cameron Selik

Like Hensley, Selik spent much of 2011 as a starting pitcher but in 2012 the Nationals transitioned him into a bullpen role. The Nationals assigned Selik to their advanced A level team in Potomac where Selik immediately shined. In 18 appearances out of the Potomac bullpen Selik picked up 8 saves and was relied upon to shut down games for the Nats. On top of the 8 saves, Selik also picked up 2 wins and struck out 34 batters in the 22 innings he pitched.

As the calendar turned from May to June, Selik got word that he would be taking the next step in his progression to the majors. He was promoted to Harrisburg the Nationals AA affiliate. In his first appearance out of the Senators bullpen, Selik suffered an injury that has placed him on the disabled list. The reliever has been working hard rehabbing the injury and hopes to return sometime in the second half of the season.

Ryan Tatusko

Tatusko started his 2012 season in extended spring training working on tweaking some mechanics. When the Nationals assigned him to Harrisburg (AA), Tatusko initially struggled as he continued to incorporate his new mechanics into live game action.  However with more opportunity he has improved and played an important role with as a member of the Senators pitching staff.

The Nationals have called upon Tatusko in a number of ways. He has started 4 games this season including a recent performance July 6th against the Bowie Baysox. He pitched 5 innings and allowed just 1 run while striking out five batters. He has also been called upon to eat innings out of the bullpen. In another recent game on July 12th against Richmond Tatusko came out of the bullpen and threw 5 1/3 innings and only allowed 1 runner to score while striking out 6. He has also been called upon on shorter stretches too as he has done whatever it is that the Nationals need during the 2012 season.

Marcus Hatley

After finishing his 2011 season as a member of the Tennessee Smokies bullpen, Hatley returned to start 2012 and has been a crucial part of their staff this season. Hatley has been called upon 25 times this season and has tossed 40 innings. He has averaged just over one strike out per inning and has held opponents to a batting average of .225.  For the season the right hander is 3-1 with a 3.60 ERA. He has been called upon at times to close out games for the Smokies and has recorded 4 saves on the season.

Matt Bywater

Bywater is another player who started his season in extended spring training with the Baltimore Orioles. Since then he has split time between Delmarva and Fredrick in the Orioles system. At Delmarva, Bywater dominated opponents who only hit .143 against him. In eight appearances out of the Shorebirds bullpen, Bywater went 1-1 with a 1.56 ERA. The success found at Delmarva has not carried over since his promotion to Frederick. At Frederick, Bywater has found himself both in a role as a starter and a reliever. In nine games including two starts he has an 0-1 record and an ERA of 6.23. Opponents are hitting .323 against him at this more advanced level almost .200 points higher than they were when he was pitching at Delmarva.

Ryan Kiel

Its been a roller coaster season for Kiel. He started the season back with the Seattle Mariners in spring training however mid way through the Mariners released the left hander. A few weeks later he was signed by the Cincinnati Reds. After spending some time in their extended spring training program he was assigned to the Dayton Dragons in the Midwest League. Kiel was not there long. After making two appearances and pitching five innings of shut out baseball he was promoted to the Bakersfield Blaze the Reds Class A advanced team. Once again Kiel wasn’t there long as after pitching in two more games he was shut down with an injury that has kept him out to this point in the season.

Tomorrow we will recap the performances of the starting pitchers. Look forward to recaps all week and then we will get back to featuring more great and unique stories that will feature players at all different stages in their chase to the major leagues. Remember to keep following us on twitter for updates on individual player performances each night. You can follow us @CTD_Sypien 

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