Heading into the 2016 campaign, Seung Hwan Oh was a 33-year-old rookie and St. Louis' oldest reliever. He'd been a fantastic player in Korea, but there were still questions about how his game would translate to the MLB. It didn't take long for Oh to put any doubts to rest, as he held a 1.59 ERA and .159 opponent batting average heading into the All-Star break. By the end of the year, Oh stood as the fantasy darling of the Cardinals' bullpen and had put together a 1.92 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 32.9 percent strikeout rate while walking less than six percent of the batters he faced. With a fastball that averages 92.8 mph, Oh doesn't overwhelm batters with power and frequently relies on his slider, which he uses over 31 percent of the time. Looking at 2017, Oh will begin the season as the Cards' closer and likely command a top-10 closer price at the draft table.
The Cardinals are committed to Oh as their closer to start the 2017 season, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The 34-year-old's $2.75 million club option for 2017 vested when he finished his 30th game of the season in early September. "The Final Boss" took the job this year when Trevor Rosenthal faltered and could be considered a low-end No. 1 fantasy closer next year.
Oh recorded his 19th save in Saturday's 4-3 victory over the Pirates, giving up two hits and recording a strikeout over an inning. The closer rebounded from a blown save against the Reds on Sep. 29 by wiggling out of trouble in the ninth. Oh made things interesting by giving up two-out singles to Alen Hanson and Jacob Stallings before getting Pedro Florimon to end the game. The 34-year-old is now 19-for-23 in save opportunities, along with a stellar 0.92 WHIP and 1.92 ERA.
Oh (groin) gave up a run on two hits while striking out two Thursday, blowing the save but picking up the win after the Cardinals won the game in the bottom of the ninth inning. He left Wednesday's game after 1.1 innings due to renewed groin discomfort, but this seems to have been a minor issue, as he was back out there in a save situation Thursday. However, given the groin ailment and the fact that he has logged 2.1 innings over the past two days, he may not be available in a save situation Friday.
Oh exited Wednesday's outing after 1.1 innings due to renewed groin discomfort on a fielding play, Brian Stull of WGNU 920 AM reports. Oh indicated that he could have played through it if needed, so the move was likely a precautionary one. The Cardinals continue to jostle for a playoff spot and could certainly use his help to do so. His next chance to return to the mound comes in Thursday's series finale against the Reds. It will be interesting to see if he's available should a save situation arise.
Oh (groin) is available to pitch out of the bullpen Friday, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. Although Oh didn't pitch Thursday, he was reportedly available out of the bullpen if the Cardinals needed him. Even with Trevor Rosenthal back from a shoulder injury, Oh figures to stick as the Cardinals' closer down the stretch.