Anthony Bass’ 2021 campaign was obviously not his best—he’ll be the first to tell you. His performance in high-leverage situations was less than ideal, and he gave up way too many home runs to division rivals, specifically the Mets and Freddie Freeman. He quickly lost his role in the ninth inning when he gave up a save-blowing home run to Joey Wendle in his first appearance as a Marlin. The Mets are an issue that Bass can work on, Freddie Freeman is a Dodger, and Joey Wendle is a good guy now.
Along with that, I implore manager Don Mattingly to utilize him in any inning besides the ninth. It’s better for his stats and the collective mental health of the fanbase.
What else needs to change for Anthony Bass to get back to his 2020 form? I asked him!
During spring training last season, Bass told Kyle Sielaff of Marlins Radio that he planned on using his splitter more to get guys out. It didn’t go exactly as planned; the first splitter he threw all season was the one that Joey Wendle cranked out to the home run porch. From then on, he only used it seven more times. Did any of those result in hits? Nope. Not one. Besides that one pitch to Joey Wendle, Bass didn’t give up a hit in the eight times he threw his splitter. The fact that Wendle did it on the first one he threw made it hard to consider throwing it again.
So what was Anthony’s response when asked about the splitter?
“It’s going to be a weapon for me moving forward.” He even sent me a video of what his splitter should look like when thrown well. (Bonus points for it being against the Mets!)
If he can throw THAT pitch consistently to hitters, he won’t have very many issues. Let’s hope he has the confidence to throw it more often.
What, if anything, did Bass specifically work on over the offseason that fans should look out for?
His answer wasn’t a specific physical aspect of his game but the mental aspect, his mindset. His goal is to “throw more strikes” this year. “More strikes typically leads to better results,” Bass says. In 2021, he placed 48.9% of his pitches in the strike zone, according to Statcast. That’s fairly similar to the MLB average.
It will be interesting to see how the Marlins utilize Anthony Bass and how he responds to the role he’s placed in. Personally, I feel that if he doesn’t get rattled and throws that splitter with confidence, he will be a reliable middle reliever that the Marlins can use in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings of most games throughout the season. That would leave the front office with an interesting call to make regarding his 2023 club option.