Wendelken, who posted a 1.80 ERA and career-best 29.2 percent strikeout rate across 21 appearances last season, will be relied upon frequently again in 2021, Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The right-hander logged the second-most innings in the Athletics bullpen behind former closer Liam Hendriks in 2020, and he led all Oakland relievers in batters faced while holding them to a minuscule .546 OPS. Wendelken also stranded 16 of the MLB-high 24 inherited runners he faced with the help of a slider that he deployed more frequently than ever and against which hitters managed just a .115 slugging percentage. "Going into this year, we have that much more faith in him, and he makes our bullpen a lot better when you bring in the type of guys we have here recently and still have a guy like J.B. that can kind of pitch those middle innings -- if someone's in the setup role, he can do that," manager Bob Melvin said. "He's got postseason experience now. He's a bona fide big leaguer now."