NASHVILLE -- A dream season for relief pitcher Ryan Dull got even better over the past few days. Late last week Dull was named to the postseason All-Star team for the Texas League. Then on Monday night, he received the news of a lifetime: he was being promoted to the big leagues by the Oakland A's.
He is the second member of the A's 2012 draft class to reach the big leagues with Oakland (Max Muncy was the first) and the third to reach the big leagues overall (Addison Russell was the other).
A 32nd-round pick in 2012 by Oakland, Dull has had to prove himself at every level to reach this point in his career. He spent parts of three seasons with the Midland RockHounds before finally earning a promotion to Triple-A in late July despite a career Double-A ERA in the low 2.00s. This season, Dull dominated for the RockHounds. He went 3-1 with 12 saves and a minuscule 0.60 ERA in 35 games. He struck out 52 hitters and walked just 13 in his 45 innings for a WHIP of 0.933 while wearing a Midland RockHounds uniform.
That performance finally earned Dull a shot in Triple-A.
“It was good feeling,” the 25-year-old said last week of his promotion to Nashville. “I put in a lot of hard work, so I'm happy everything is paying off.”
Dull's dominance over hitters has continued in the Pacific Coast League.
In 16 innings over 12 games for Nashville, Dull has struck out 21 hitters, walked just three, and he has allowed just two earned runs. He had a WHIP of 0.81 and an ERA of 1.13.
“It's going really well,” Dull said of his transition from Double-A to Triple-A. “I'm starting to adjust to what is a little bit of a different style of ballgame. In the Texas League, the ball doesn't fly as much as I've heard about the PCL (Pacific Coast League). I heard it was going to be like the Cal League where it flies all the time. I've had to re-adjust and be more focused on which pitches I want to throw and execute each pitch.
“I've just had to make sure I stay focused more throughout [the appearance] because if you take one pitch off, it can change your entire outing,” he said. “And, you face a lot more guys [in Triple-A] who have major league experience – they've fine-tuned their approach, and they know exactly what they are looking for, and if you give them that, they're going to capitalize on that one pitch. You can't get away with that as much as you could in AA."
Dull will now get an opportunity to make that ultimate transition to the big leagues. He knows what it takes to make the adjustment from one level to the next.
"You can get away with less and less the higher up you go," Dull said.
At 5'10” and 175 lbs, the 32nd round pick out of UNC-Asheville features a low-90's fastball, a change-up, and an almost fully developed slider.
“I've gotten a lot more comfortable with it,” Dull said of his slider. “I can now use all three [pitches] as out pitches. It helps me keep the hitters off guard.”
Those hitters should pay attention, because Dull said more improvement is coming.
“I try to go out there and try to get better at something each day and take that improvement out to the game,” he said.
To learn more about Dull, click here for OaklandClubhouse's complete coverage of his career.