Bolsinger was a mid-round pick by the Diamondbacks four years ago, who had quietly been making his way through the system and up the depth charts in apparent Stealth Mode. He wasn't present on anyone's top 10 list before the season, but here's what John Baragona had to say about him earlier this month, in a piece which now seems strangely prophetic...
Since being drafted in the 15th round in 2010 Bolsinger has taken a step forward every single year and still hasn't gotten any serious consideration from anyone as a guy who might have a future in the big leagues... In 2013 he put up a 2.51 ERA for Mobile in 9 games then made 17 starts for Reno where he struck out 97 in 101 innings with a 4.72 ERA, which isn't all that bad in the PCL. If Randall Delgado can't come up with more than he did Friday against Colorado and they're still not ready for Bradley time, might Bolsinger get the call? A couple more games like that and he sure might.
Turns out it only took one more, and Bolsinger's two starts for the Aces have both been solid. He had 6.2 innings of shutout ball in his first, and then six more innings on April 9th, with the only damage a two-run homer by Miguel Olivo. For today in particular, it looks like Bolsinger's role will be to back-up Josh Collmenter, who hasn't started a major-league game since 2012, and so might not be quite ready to deliver 100 pitches on an everyday basis. It's interesting the team doesn'think Randall Delgado can fill that role, though this might in part be because he did have to throw 37 pitches last night, Trevor Cahill once again not being able to record an out after the fourth inning.
Bolsinger has been almost exclusively a starter since 2011, and it wouldn't surprise me if what we have here is an audition of sorts. If he shows he can handle major-league hitting well, then it will give the team an option, should Trevor Cahill continue to struggle. Cahill can either get Delgado'd to the bullpen or some excuse is found for a DL stint and rehab assignment to fix his mechanics. Another possibility is that Collmenter is not able to transition successfully back to the rotation, in which case, Bolsinger could take over that spot, with Josh returning to a long-relief role. But, according to a John Gambadoro Tweet this morning:
Trevor Cahill will not make his next scheduled start, will likely move to bullpen. Either Bo Schultz or Mike Bolsinger will replace him.— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) April 14, 2014
There's no word at this point on who has been sent down to make room for Bolsinger. The most obvious candidate would be Will Harris, about the only guy capable of being sent to the minors without having to clear waivers. He was only in the 'pen due to injuries to both Patrick Corbin (opening up a rotation slot for Delgado) and David Hernandez, and was a bulwark of the 2013 Diamondbacks relief corps, putting up a sparkling ERA of under three, in 61 games. But this season had been much less kind, Harris having allowed nine earned runs in only 8.1 innings (more than through the end of July last year), as the strange disease affecting almost all our entire staff, did not spare him.
There always seems to be a pitcher who steps up out of nowhere and delivers an unexpectedly good season for the Diamondbacks - Patrick Corbin last year, Wade Miley in 2012. The best-case scenario would be, Bolsinger is that guy for 2014. We can only hope his performance matches those two - and he would probably set a new bar for "out of nowhere"! For those of you on the Twitter, you can add the newest Diamondback to your list; he's @MBolsinger.. He's a pro wrestling fan too, so I'm certainly down with that!
[UPDATED] Will Harris has been confirmed as the roster move to make room for Bolsinger on the 25-man squad. On the 40-man, the team moved David Hernandez to the 60-day DL. It has now also been confirmed that Bolsinger will start Saturday, with Cahill moving to the bullpen.