Right-hander Cody Ponce is a dark horse candidate for this role, and I think he’s a little under the radar, which I like. Ponce started in three of his five appearances during the 2020 season and showed us a little bit of everything. We know that Ponce will give you his four-seam, curve and cutter more times than not with all three above 23% usage.
Statcast gave him some interesting comparisons to guys like Jordan Lyles and Ponce De Leon due to them having similar stuff. In 17.0 innings pitched last Ponce limited opponents t just a .200 batting average while posting a 1.06 WHIP. Overall, Ponce showed promise, but he may be destined for a bullpen role just like Brubaker.
Ponce did have some deceiving numbers, and it may show that he was more of a lucky pitcher last year more than anything, but again, he only pitched 17 innings, so it’s hard to tell. His ERA and his xFIP have two completely different outcomes: his ERA at 3.18 and his xFIP at 5.67. He had 16 hard hit events, which means the exit velocity was 95 MPH or higher, so maybe he was lucky, maybe not. 2021 will tell more of the tale for Ponce.