Wittgren has an ERA of 2.73 with 31 strikeouts and four holds this season. Wittgren has avoided the sophomore slump this year, improving almost every stat from his rookie season. Despite the success, the former ninth-round draft pick hasn't seen much action in high-leverage situations, but the four holds in the last month are reassuring for those holding out hope that his role will only get bigger as the season unfolds.
Wittgren has given up five runs and struck out 14 in 14.1 innings since getting recalled in early May from Triple-A New Orleans. Wittgren is pitching well this season, showing improvement on his 2016 rookie campaign when he had an ERA of 3.14 and a WHIP of 1.16. He's improved so far on both fronts with his ERA down to 3.00 and WHIP sitting at 1.05. Meanwhile, the strikeout ratio has increased this year to 9.0 K/9 from last season's mark of 7.3. He's been buried at the bottom of Miami's bullpen, but his recent outings in three straight games from May 28-30 suggests more meaningful playing time could be in his future.
Wittgren was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans on Wednesday. Edinson Volquez (thumb) was placed on the disabled list after the Marlins determined he would miss his next turn in the rotation Sunday against the Mets, so Wittgren should help fortify the bullpen at least until the team needs to recall a starter from Triple-A to replace Volquez. Wittgren has made three appearances with the big club this season, giving up two runs in 6.2 innings and striking out seven batters.
Wittgren was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans after Thursday's 16-inning loss to the Mets, Andre C. Fernandez of The Miami Herald reports. Wittgren had three strikeouts on 45 pitches while retiring all nine batters he faced in the 13th, 14th and 15th innings of Thursday's marathon. He's partially a victim of his own success, as the length of Thursday's contest will force Miami to call up an extra arm from the minors, but he's also the only pitcher in their bullpen with minor-league options remaining. Wittgren did allow two earned runs over 3.2 innings prior to Thursday, but he'll likely return to the majors at some point in the coming weeks.
Wittgren appears to have secured a spot in the Marlins bullpen heading into Opening Day, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports. With Wittgren's primary competition for the final spot in the bullpen, Hunter Cervenka and Brian Ellington, optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on Tuesday, it looks like he'll break camp with the big club for the first time in his career. Wittgren has struck out 11 batters in 8.1 innings in Grapefruit League competition, a strong follow-up to the 3.14 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 42:10 K:BB ratio he submitted in 51.2 innings with the big club as a rookie.
|vs N.Y. METS||0-0||0||1.59||5.2||2||1||7|
|@ MARLINS PARK||1-0||0||2.16||16.2||11||4||15|