One of the Red Sox bullpen members who plays a key role and on top of that a consistent one, is late-inning reliever Junichi Tazawa. He is often overlooked and the true value of him isn't noticed.
As we've seen him in the past five years in the Sox organization, Tazawa made appearances in the seventh or eighth innings of the game. Tazawa is usually part of the one-two punch followed up by Uehara.
Last season Tazawa pulled off another good effort, in 63 innings pitched, he struckout 64 batters. Tazawa also went 4-3 with a finishing 2.86 ERA.
One of the prime specials he has to offer, is that he is a strike thrower and is rarely liable to give up a walk. Noticeably for the pitching staff, walks can be a huge problem and can slope a game downhill or flip the score real quick. In his total 203 career innings pitched, Tazawa has walked just under 45 batters. That is around one batter every four innings.
Another addition Tazawa has to offer is his ability to stay healthy, we have very briefly seen him injured or unable to play. He also brings the youth factor to the clubhouse, being age 28, Red Sox Nation is likely to see him around many more years.
In his total 203 innings performed, he has punched out 198, and his 95-96 MPH fastball hasn't dropped a beat in velocity. Expect to see Tazawa make dozens of appearances in the coming seasons, he will surely be ready.