Editor's note: For the past few weeks, NBC Sports California has been analyzing a different A's player each day to project their numbers for next season.
For most of the 2018 season, Lou Trivino was untouchable.
The A's rookie reliever carried an 8-1 record and 1.25 ERA into August, along with four saves and 14 holds. Trivino struggled down the stretch, possibly due to fatigue, but still finished the year 8-3 with a 2.92 ERA and 1.14 WHIP, striking out 82 batters in 74 innings.
Trivino, 27, will look to build on that effort this coming season, as he figures to be the primary setup man for All-Star closer Blake Treinen. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound right-hander features a sinking fastball in the high 90s, as well as a nasty cutter in the low 90s and a low-80s curveball. That combination led eight-time All-Star Robinson Cano to shower him with praise:
Asked about the A's foursome of Lou Trivino, Fernando Rodney, Jeurys Familia and Blake Treinen to close out games, Robinson Cano was very complimentary of the only one who hasn't been an All-Star closer. pic.twitter.com/96jFwF8kOW— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) September 1, 2018
Baseball Reference projects Trivino to go 5-3 with a 3.57 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 2019. They predict 65 strikeouts and 24 walks in 63 innings.
We fully expect Trivino to return to his first-half form from last season. He dominated right-handed hitters and left-handers alike while giving the A's great length out of the bullpen. Now in his second Major League season, Trivino has a chance to be the best setup man in baseball and possibly even an All-Star.
Projection: 8-2, 2.04 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 89 K, 26 BB, 77 IP