The Rockies spent about a half-million dollars on Chris Rusin this year on a one-year deal. He was worth 2.1 fWAR/2 bWAR/1.9 WARP at the end of the season, which was not bad for a team that fell to third place in the NL West.
Getting the rest of the stats out of the way: His wins and losses obviously mean nothing as his 3-5 record does not match his 3.74 ERA, or 3.21 FIP, even. Granted, he threw 841⁄3 innings in 29 games, seven of which he started. He gave up 82 hits, 36/35 runs/earned runs, and struck out 69. He can get hit around a bit, with a .308 BABIP, but he has a 71.3 percent strand rate, so it evens out a bit. He had a fairly decent BB/9 rate at 2.5 and a SO/9 rate of 7.4, but gave up 8.8 H/9.
Rusin is not the kind of pitcher you would want to yell about from the rooftops, but rather, send a nice appreciative message every now and then, thanking him for his help.
He’s not the kind of pitcher who will make or break a staff, of course. But when you have him on the staff, the team is better for it, but it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s always good. He pitched a shortened season this year due to a left shoulder strain and that doesn’t necessarily equal good when he’s 30 years old. One can argue that the sample size is just big enough to make a decision on whether or not he had a good season, but there’s always the argument against that says he didn’t pitch enough or that he pitched too much.
He isn’t a Zach Britton, but he’s no Santiago Casilla, either. This season proved enough that, for at the very least the league minimum, he can be a serviceable reliever and can make spot starts here and there or even be added to the rotation if needed. He can move between the rotation and the bullpen, and you would think that that would be worth more. Then again, a flexible pitcher might be an inefficiency.
There’s not particularly one game that stands out for Rusin this past season, because he has thrown in situations where he got the outs. And that’s what the Rockies needed him to do: Get the outs. He did so with efficiency and effectiveness. That’s why he was worth all that fWAR, bWAR, and WARP.
Rusin continues to be a cheap option for a solid arm in the bullpen. If he can stay healthy and keep up this kind of effectiveness, there’s no telling how far he’ll be able to help the Rockies out in 2017 — particularly if the Rockies keep him in that relief role, in which he posted a 2.58 ERA with 41 strikeouts and just eight walks in 451⁄3 innings spanning 22 appearances.