A’s Add Hard-Throwing Joe Boyle, Reds Land Sam Moll


Image credit: Sam Moll #60 of the Oakland Athletics pitches during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at RingCentral Coliseum on June 14, 2023 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)

After winning a series at the Dodgers over the weekend to reclaim the top spot in the National League Central, the Reds celebrated on July 31 by adding a reliever to their bullpen. In return, the rebuilding A’s picked up a hard-throwing if wild righthander.


Sam Moll, LHP
Age: 31

Moll has worked as a setup man for the A’s this year with a sinker/slider approach that has been better than his 4.54 ERA may indicate. He’s allowed only one home run in 45 appearances and 37.2 innings this year, which helps explain his 3.25 FIP. The 5-foot-9 lefty largely works East-West across the strike zone, although he’ll sneak a 93-94 mph four-seamer up in the zone if hitters start to get too comfortable looking in and out. Moll is especially effective against lefties thanks to that in-and-out approach. He doesn’t give up much hard contact to righthanded hitters, but he’s struggled with walking them, as a patient hitter can avoid being suckered by his attempts to paint the outside corner. For his career he has a 16% walk rate against righthanded hitters versus a 5% walk rate against lefties. Moll will not reach arbitration until after next season, so he becomes a useful low-cost bullpen addition who can lengthen the Reds pen in 2023 and 2024.


Joe Boyle, RHP
Age: 23

Boyle possesses some of the hardest-to-hit stuff in the minors. For his career, opponents have hit .171 against the 6-foot-7 righthander. In seven of his 41 starts in the past two seasons, Boyle didn’t allow a hit. Boyle is at times one of the wilder pitchers in the minors as well. While the normal strike percentage in the minors hovers around 62-63%, Boyle has thrown strikes on 56% of his pitches this year, down slightly from his career 57% strike percentage. He’s only had two starts over those 41 where he didn’t walk a batter. He’s struck out nearly 14 batters per nine innings, but he’s also walked 7.6 per nine. The Reds have used him as a starter throughout his pro career, but that’s likely to get him the innings and reps he needs to try to tame his delivery. His ultimate home, if he can throw enough strikes, is in a big league bullpen. Boyle doesn’t ever need to dot the corners of the zone. If he can just get it around the zone, his 97-99 mph fastball is nearly unhittable and his 90 mph slider is just as dastardly. He also will surprise hitters with a slower curve that he struggles to command. But it all comes down to throwing more strikes.

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