The positional power rankings continue. If you’ve come across the 16th- through 30th-ranked bullpens by accident or are otherwise unfamiliar with these power rankings, feel free to read Dave Cameron’s introduction. If you’re interested in any other positional rankings, use the links above this paragraph. For the start of the relief-pitcher portion, read on.
The graph below contains half the major-league teams. If you don’t see your favorite team below, congratulations: you cheer for a club that ranks in the top half of baseball when it comes to relievers. Those teams will be covered in short order, and if there’s a link at the beginning of this post to them, that means they’ve already been published.
While this post covers the bottom half of the rankings, the first few teams included here are extremely close to the teams just ahead of them, and there are a few bullpens whose projections potentially underrate them. Add in some reliever volatility and random fluctuation, and we could see a number of these clubs among the league’s top 10 at the end of the year.
A note: while you won’t find Andrew Miller’s club here, you’ll find his name invoked with some frequency. There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about deploying elite relievers in non-traditional but high-leverage situations. Cleveland’s use of Andrew Miller in last year’s postseason is about the purest expression of this concept in some time. While that sort of usage isn’t sustainable over the course of a full regular season, there are times when it represents the best option for a team.
To that end, I’ve provided a rating (out of 10) of every team’s capacity to use a reliever in these non-traditional situation. I refer to this as the Andrew Miller Situation Scale. The ratings are subjective and somewhat arbitrary, but tend to be higher for clubs whose best reliever isn’t also their closer. Secondary considerations include the club’s motivations for using the strategy (if it’s financially motivated, for example) as well as the actual quality of both the “elite” reliever and closer. Basically, the higher the number, the more the situation resembles an Andrew Miller situation.
|Roberto Osuna||65.0||10.3||2.3||1.1||.297||77.8 %||3.13||3.34||1.5|
|Jason Grilli||65.0||10.9||3.8||1.3||.305||76.4 %||3.82||3.92||0.6|
|Joseph Biagini||55.0||8.0||2.8||1.0||.314||73.4 %||3.89||3.96||0.4|
|J.P. Howell||55.0||7.4||3.4||0.9||.316||74.0 %||3.90||4.04||0.2|
|Joe Smith||45.0||7.8||2.9||1.0||.306||73.9 %||3.77||4.07||0.2|
|Aaron Loup||40.0||8.6||3.1||1.0||.309||74.1 %||3.76||3.94||0.2|
|Ryan Tepera||35.0||8.7||3.5||1.1||.309||73.8 %||3.99||4.13||0.0|
|Danny Barnes||30.0||9.8||2.4||1.1||.311||74.3 %||3.63||3.55||0.2|
|Christopher Smith||25.0||8.3||4.2||1.3||.324||69.1 %||5.10||4.74||0.0|
|Bo Schultz||20.0||6.9||3.1||1.3||.305||70.5 %||4.57||4.54||0.0|
|Matt Dermody||15.0||6.5||2.5||1.2||.313||69.1 %||4.59||4.37||0.0|
|Mat Latos||10.0||6.6||3.0||1.3||.309||70.2 %||4.77||4.69||0.0|
|Glenn Sparkman||10.0||7.6||2.5||1.4||.312||71.1 %||4.47||4.43||0.0|
|The Others||15.0||8.3||4.2||1.3||.324||69.1 %||5.10||4.74||0.0|
The list of relief pitchers with a better projection than Roberto Osuna isn’t long. None of the other pitchers I’m covering today are superior, in fact, and he ranks 10th overall. Osuna is just 22 years old and is entering his third MLB season. He struck out nearly 30% of batters and walked just 5% last season, and led American League relievers with a 21% infield-fly rate. The Blue Jays rank this low not because of Osuna, but because of the rest of the pen.
Jason Grilli is 40 years old, and his performance declined last season along with his velocity. He’s been a fastball/slider guy his entire career, and his resurgence with Pittsburgh in 2012 and 2013 lengthened that career. Careers only last so long, though, even for relievers. Grilli probably still has something left, given his 32% strikeout rate last season. There will be questions about how much he has left, though if he struggles to start this season. The projections are baking in a reduction in strikeouts and walks and a relatively high home-run rate. Those are reasonable expectations, even at 40.
Projecting Joseph Biagini is a bit tough. He was moved to the majors last season as a Rule 5 pick following a decent Double-A season. Despite the jump, he excelled in relief with a starter’s arsenal of fastball, slider, curve, and change that gets a lot of ground balls. He has decent velocity for a reliever, averaging 94 mph on the fastball, and gets ahead in the count with a first-pitch strike 70% of the time. Projections say his home-run rate will normalize while his strikeout and walk rates remain roughly the same. It’s difficult to know how ready Biagini was for the majors due to his Rule 5 status. It’s possible that the projections are underrating Biagini’s 2016 season and that better things are yet to come.
The rest of the bullpen is filled with pitchers who aren’t terrible. That might not sound like a good thing, but reading on should change your mind. J.P. Howell, Joe Smith, and Aaron Loup are all okay and Danny Barnes might get another shot in the majors at some point this season.
Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 1
Osuna is the best and also the closer.
|Brandon Maurer||65.0||8.9||2.9||1.0||.309||71.5 %||3.90||3.66||0.8|
|Brad Hand||65.0||10.2||3.4||0.9||.308||75.9 %||3.33||3.35||1.1|
|Ryan Buchter||55.0||10.6||4.5||1.0||.300||77.2 %||3.57||3.85||0.5|
|Kevin Quackenbush||55.0||8.1||3.2||1.0||.306||72.9 %||3.95||3.94||0.3|
|Carter Capps||45.0||12.4||3.4||0.8||.313||78.5 %||2.82||2.92||0.6|
|Keith Hessler||40.0||8.4||3.6||1.0||.313||73.4 %||4.03||4.08||0.1|
|Leonel Campos||35.0||10.5||4.7||1.0||.314||74.7 %||3.82||3.84||0.1|
|Miguel Diaz||30.0||6.8||4.4||1.3||.308||68.9 %||5.28||5.22||-0.2|
|Buddy Baumann||25.0||8.7||3.5||0.9||.308||72.9 %||3.87||3.89||0.0|
|Cesar Vargas||20.0||8.1||3.1||1.0||.313||71.5 %||4.07||3.93||0.0|
|Christian Bethancourt||15.0||8.3||4.2||1.3||.324||69.1 %||5.10||4.74||0.0|
|Cory Mazzoni||10.0||9.6||3.4||0.9||.324||67.8 %||4.27||3.56||0.0|
|Walker Lockett||10.0||6.2||2.3||1.2||.308||69.4 %||4.52||4.44||0.0|
|Jose Ruiz||10.0||10.1||5.0||0.9||.317||72.0 %||4.35||3.99||0.0|
|The Others||34.0||8.3||4.2||1.3||.324||69.1 %||5.10||4.74||-0.1|
A good right-handed closer with an even better left-hander who’s frequently deployed before the ninth inning? That’s going to rate pretty highly on the Andrew Miller Situation Scale. Brandon Maurer took over the closer role after the team traded Fernando Rodney. He’s solidly above average in strikeouts, walks, and homers. He isn’t great, but his 3.46 FIP was solid and better than his 4.52 ERA made him appear. Last year saw a jump in strikeouts, as he used his fastball more at the expense of his slider, which was a slower pitch last season. That said, the Padres are rebuilding; if he pitches well, he could be trade bait.
While Maurer was good last year, Brad Hand was better, and his 2.92 ERA was supported by a 3.07 FIP. Last year was the first one in which Hand was utilized only as a reliever. He abandoned his change and moved over more to his slider, which is Andrew Miller-like. His walk rate is near 10%, but that’s not unreasonable when paired with a 30% K rate. That said, the Padres are rebuilding; if he pitches well, he could be trade bait.
Carter Capps was crazy good in 2015 in limited innings, but missed all of 2016 with Tommy John surgery. A rebound at some point this season would be quite helpful to the Padres. That said, the Padres are rebuilding; if he pitches well, he could be trade bait. Buchter is a spin-rate guy who strikes out a lot of hitters despite throwing a fastball 85% of the time. That said, the Padres are rebuilding; if he pitches well, he could be trade bait. Kevin Quackenbash is also back there to pitch some innings and Christian Bethancourt is trying to be a catcher/pitcher, but not at the same time.
Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 8
Brandon Maurer : Cody Allen :: Brad Hand : Andrew Miller.
|A.J. Ramos||65.0||10.1||4.5||0.7||.302||76.2 %||3.33||3.55||0.9|
|Kyle Barraclough||65.0||12.3||5.3||0.5||.308||76.4 %||3.07||3.07||1.2|
|Brad Ziegler||55.0||6.8||3.2||0.7||.306||73.3 %||3.52||3.74||0.3|
|Junichi Tazawa||55.0||9.0||2.5||0.9||.303||74.1 %||3.47||3.40||0.6|
|David Phelps||45.0||8.5||3.2||0.8||.298||74.6 %||3.38||3.61||0.2|
|Jose Urena||40.0||6.6||2.9||1.0||.305||69.8 %||4.32||4.27||0.0|
|Dustin McGowan||35.0||8.3||4.4||0.9||.297||74.0 %||3.86||4.17||0.0|
|Nick Wittgren||30.0||7.7||2.3||1.0||.305||73.3 %||3.74||3.84||0.0|
|Hunter Cervenka||25.0||9.3||5.2||0.8||.301||73.2 %||3.86||4.03||0.0|
|Brian Ellington||20.0||9.7||4.9||0.8||.302||74.3 %||3.74||3.93||0.0|
|Severino Gonzalez||15.0||7.0||2.0||1.0||.305||69.3 %||4.10||3.89||0.0|
|Odrisamer Despaigne||10.0||6.5||3.0||0.9||.304||68.9 %||4.31||4.16||0.0|
|Bryan Morris||10.0||7.1||3.9||0.9||.309||74.3 %||3.93||4.24||0.0|
|Tayron Guerrero||10.0||8.2||4.8||1.0||.302||72.1 %||4.40||4.55||0.0|
|Asher Wojciechowski||10.0||7.0||3.4||1.3||.312||70.0 %||4.85||4.77||0.0|
|Drew Steckenrider||10.0||8.9||4.7||0.8||.309||73.1 %||3.90||3.99||0.0|
|The Others||20.0||8.3||4.2||1.3||.324||69.1 %||5.10||4.74||0.0|
If you were to divine a philosophy of the Marlins bullpen based on their best two relievers, it would go something like: strikeouts are awesome; who cares about walks; and never, ever give up home runs. Let’s start with the home runs. A.J. Ramos and Kyle Barraclough pitched in 142 games, recorded 136.2 innings between them, and gave up just two homers. In terms of walks, there were 44 relievers who recorded at least a 1.0 WAR last season. Among them, Barraclough’s 5.5 BB/9 was the worst. A.J. Ramos’ 4.9 BB/9 was third worst, with Craig Kimbrel sandwiched between the two Marlins relievers.
But the strikeouts. A.J. Ramos’ 26% strikeout rate is good, but Barraclough’s 37% was seventh in baseball last year. The projections expect the strikeouts and walks to keep coming, with a few more home runs thrown in, but that should still make both pitchers above average this season. After those two, the team signed Brad Ziegler. He can’t match the strikeouts, but he should keep those homers down with his unusual delivery and ground-ball-inducing ways.
The above trio’s strength was Junichi Tazawa’s weakness last season: he gave up nine homers in 49.2 innings. Going from Boston to Miami could help the situation and a little regression should make him an above-average pitcher. As Miami relievers tend to do, David Phelps put up some really good numbers last season, striking out a bunch of guys, walking a bunch, and had an above-average home-run rate. The Marlins bullpen could be sneaky good this season.
Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 7
A.J. Ramos is good, but Bearclaw might be better.
|Mark Melancon||65.0||8.7||2.0||0.6||.303||78.1 %||2.64||2.92||1.3|
|Hunter Strickland||65.0||9.4||2.5||0.8||.303||76.6 %||3.05||3.18||1.0|
|Derek Law||55.0||8.7||3.0||0.8||.308||74.7 %||3.41||3.47||0.5|
|George Kontos||55.0||6.8||2.8||0.9||.299||73.5 %||3.73||3.98||0.1|
|Cory Gearrin||45.0||8.7||3.1||0.9||.307||74.5 %||3.51||3.62||0.2|
|Josh Osich||40.0||8.3||4.2||0.8||.305||73.2 %||3.83||4.02||0.0|
|Steven Okert||35.0||9.5||3.3||0.9||.310||76.0 %||3.34||3.52||0.1|
|Ty Blach||30.0||6.0||2.4||0.9||.306||71.0 %||4.05||4.08||0.0|
|Chris Stratton||25.0||7.3||3.5||1.0||.308||71.5 %||4.19||4.19||0.0|
|Albert Suarez||20.0||6.4||2.8||1.0||.305||71.3 %||4.17||4.26||0.0|
|The Others||12.0||8.3||4.2||1.3||.324||69.1 %||5.10||4.74||0.0|
No. 19 isn’t a great spot to be for a team that expects to contend and just spent $62 million on a closer. Last season, the Giants produced 2.1 WAR total from the bullpen and recorded an MLB-leading 30 blown saves. Their mark of 92 meltdowns was better than only the Marlins and Diamondbacks. By adding Mark Melancon and benefiting from a full season from Will Smith, the Giants appeared set to improve considerably. That plan has hasn’t quite worked out, as Smith will miss the season due to Tommy John surgery. Over the last four years, the only relievers with a higher WAR than Melancon’s 7.9 mark are Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Dellin Betances. Melancon should provide a calming presence at the end of games that club was lacking in 2016.
After Melancon — or before, as is the case here — is Hunter Strickland, who was good last season, recording a 3.10 ERA and 3.16 FIP. Those numbers weren’t quite as good as his 2015 marks, with the strikeouts and walks each moving a couple percentage points in the wrong direction, but when the increase in offense is factored in, his overall numbers were pretty equivalent. If he could get back to his 2015 numbers and offensive numbers stay up in 2017, he could be the best reliever on the team.
Derek Law was the best reliever on the Giants last season, with a 2.13 ERA and 2.53 FIP in his debut season. The 26-year-old righty gave up only nine walks in 55 innings last season, but his projections expect him to double that this season. Even if he does walk some more batters, he should still be a solid option late in the game along with Strickland and Melancon.
Cory Gearrin’s FIP was about a run better than his ERA, and he should provide some halfway decent innings. George Kontos’s 2.53 ERA is unlikely to repeat itself given his less-than-stellar walk and strikeout numbers. Lefty Steven Okert has put up really good strikeout numbers throughout his career and, worst case, should be a decent LOOGY. The Giants’ bullpen saw its floor last year, but this year, it should be a bit higher.
Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 5
A step forward from Strickland?
|Tony Watson||65.0||8.2||2.5||0.9||.303||74.6 %||3.35||3.57||0.8|
|Daniel Hudson||65.0||8.4||3.1||0.9||.314||71.6 %||3.90||3.72||0.8|
|Felipe Rivero||55.0||9.7||3.4||0.7||.312||74.6 %||3.28||3.26||0.7|
|Juan Nicasio||55.0||9.4||3.3||0.9||.319||73.6 %||3.71||3.57||0.5|
|Antonio Bastardo||45.0||9.4||4.1||1.0||.304||73.3 %||3.95||4.00||0.2|
|Jared Hughes||40.0||5.6||3.1||0.8||.312||73.1 %||3.94||4.33||-0.1|
|Wade LeBlanc||35.0||7.3||2.5||1.0||.310||72.7 %||3.94||3.94||0.0|
|Trevor Williams||30.0||6.2||2.8||1.1||.315||70.3 %||4.48||4.39||-0.1|
|Clay Holmes||25.0||6.6||4.2||1.1||.313||69.8 %||4.82||4.77||-0.1|
|Tyler Webb||20.0||9.0||3.3||1.0||.314||73.4 %||3.86||3.82||0.0|
|A.J. Schugel||15.0||7.5||2.7||0.9||.312||72.0 %||3.83||3.75||0.0|
|Pat Light||10.0||8.2||5.1||1.0||.314||71.6 %||4.61||4.55||0.0|
|Dovydas Neverauskas||10.0||7.9||4.3||1.0||.315||72.7 %||4.27||4.36||0.0|
|The Others||44.0||8.3||4.2||1.3||.324||69.1 %||5.10||4.74||-0.1|
In 2014 and 2015, Tony Watson recorded more than 150 innings with a sub-3 FIP and sub-2 ERA. He was mostly the same pitcher in 2016 except that he allowed 10 home runs after allowing just eight total in the two previous seasons combined. Watson took over in the ninth inning after Mark Melancon was traded and he figures to remain there this season. He’s a lefty sinkerballer who doesn’t have the traditional high ground-ball percentage, but has produced low BABIPs so far in his career. If he can keep the homer rate down, he should be fine.
Watson is one of a trio of solid pitchers at the end of the Pirates bullpen. The team signed Daniel Hudson in the offseason after he produced a couple solid seasons in Arizona, though last year was marred by a high BABIP and low left-on-base percentage that caused a 5.22 ERA. Hudson is an above-average reliever and should be an asset for Pittsburgh this season.
Felipe Rivero is probably the most exciting member of the Pirates pen. He’s youngish at 25 years old, he struck out 28% of batters last season, and his fastball averaged 96 mph last year. He’s a lefty who has shown no problems getting righties out. His 4.09 ERA was much higher than his 3.46 FIP and projections expect him to be even better this year.
Juan Nicasio didn’t quite work out as a Ray Searage reclamation project, but as a reliever he struck out 31% of batters and had a 2.73 FIP. Antonio Bastardo had a good run from 2011 to 2015, but like Tony Watson and much of baseball, his pitches left the yard at a higher rate in 2016, and it made Bastardo replacement level. He’s not a bad guy to have as the fifth-best reliever. The Pirates lack a star reliever, but they have a variety of options who could pretty easily make them better than a bunch of teams that appear higher on this list.
Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 5
Two (maybe three) good options, not one great one, unless Felipe Rivero turns into Andrew Miller.
|Neftali Feliz||65.0||9.8||3.6||1.3||.302||73.3 %||4.13||4.13||0.6|
|Corey Knebel||65.0||11.0||3.8||1.0||.316||75.1 %||3.61||3.58||1.1|
|Carlos Torres||55.0||8.7||3.5||1.2||.309||74.4 %||4.05||4.19||0.2|
|Jhan Marinez||55.0||8.3||3.6||1.0||.312||73.7 %||4.00||4.16||0.2|
|Brent Suter||45.0||6.7||2.5||1.2||.311||71.4 %||4.36||4.36||0.2|
|Jacob Barnes||40.0||9.3||3.3||0.9||.315||74.1 %||3.73||3.64||0.3|
|Tommy Milone||35.0||7.5||2.3||1.4||.310||71.2 %||4.42||4.33||0.0|
|Tyler Cravy||30.0||8.6||3.7||1.3||.308||71.9 %||4.50||4.46||0.0|
|Jorge Lopez||25.0||8.3||4.2||1.3||.324||69.1 %||5.10||4.74||0.0|
|Josh Hader||20.0||10.9||3.9||1.0||.316||74.6 %||3.71||3.66||0.1|
|Michael Blazek||15.0||7.9||4.1||1.2||.311||72.2 %||4.52||4.57||0.0|
|Damien Magnifico||10.0||7.9||4.6||1.1||.310||72.0 %||4.54||4.64||0.0|
|The Others||61.0||8.3||4.2||1.3||.324||69.1 %||5.10||4.74||-0.1|
Milwaukee’s strategy of trading relievers whenever they have any value continues. They traded Will Smith to the Giants and Jeremy Jeffress to the Rangers in the middle of last season, and Tyler Thornburg went to the Red Sox in the offseason. Neftali Feliz seems likely to continue that trend. The Brewers signed Feliz to a one-year, $5 million dollar deal after a year with the Pirates. Despite some struggles with the long ball, Feliz pitched well in the first half, with a 3.58 FIP and 2.88 ERA, but things fell apart in the second half and he was eventually shut down with arm issues. Those issues did not require surgery, and if he can stay healthy in the first half, the Brewers closer seems likely to end up with a contender in the second half.
Is it an Andrew Miller Situation if the best reliever isn’t the closer, but the reasons are to raise the trade value of the proven closer and keep the better reliever cheaper in arbitration? Corey Knebel should be the Brewers’ best reliever this season. Last year, a low 65% left-on-base percentage inflated his ERA to 4.68 despite a solid 3.58 FIP. He walks a lot of hitters, but balances it out with a lot of strikeouts, throwing only a four-seam fastball and a knuckle-curve that comes in around 80 mph. He’ll be eligible for arbitration at the end of the season, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Brewers trade Knebel if he’s pitching well despite having four more seasons of control.
Carlos Torres is one of the hardest-working relievers in baseball: his 232 innings over the last three years is third in the majors behind only Dellin Betances and Jeurys Familia. The results are a bit less impressive than those produced by the other two, although Torres did have a 2.73 ERA last season despite a 3.75 FIP. The latter figure probably better represents his talent as a slightly below-average reliever. Jacob Barnes pitched well last season with decent strikeout numbers and low walk totals. Jhan Marinez pitched pretty well for the Brewers last season and should be decent. As for the rest, Josh Hader is an above-average pitching prospect and his future might be as a starter, but the lefty could crack the big-league bullpen at some point this year.
Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 6
It’s happening, but for other reasons.
|Alex Colome||65.0||9.9||2.6||1.0||.304||77.7 %||3.14||3.32||1.1|
|Xavier Cedeno||65.0||9.3||3.0||1.0||.305||75.8 %||3.40||3.56||0.7|
|Danny Farquhar||55.0||8.7||3.1||1.1||.303||74.3 %||3.76||3.92||0.3|
|Erasmo Ramirez||55.0||6.5||2.5||1.1||.297||73.1 %||3.92||4.27||0.1|
|Shawn Tolleson||45.0||8.8||2.7||1.1||.306||73.0 %||3.84||3.79||0.2|
|Brad Boxberger||40.0||10.4||4.3||1.2||.302||76.4 %||3.80||4.04||0.2|
|Chase Whitley||35.0||7.9||2.6||1.1||.306||72.4 %||3.92||3.95||0.0|
|Jumbo Diaz||30.0||8.7||3.4||1.2||.297||74.8 %||3.85||4.13||0.0|
|Ryan Garton||25.0||7.8||3.7||1.1||.305||72.7 %||4.19||4.30||0.0|
|Kevin Gadea||20.0||8.3||4.0||1.0||.305||71.6 %||4.29||4.35||0.0|
|Jacob Faria||15.0||8.5||4.3||1.1||.303||71.8 %||4.35||4.40||0.0|
|Matt Andriese||10.0||7.7||2.1||1.1||.306||72.1 %||3.85||3.78||0.0|
|Ryne Stanek||10.0||7.7||4.4||1.2||.304||71.2 %||4.63||4.74||0.0|
|Jose Alvarado||10.0||8.0||8.4||1.1||.301||71.9 %||5.46||5.89||-0.1|
|The Others||27.0||8.3||4.2||1.3||.324||69.1 %||5.10||4.74||0.0|
Alex Colome is both the best reliever on the Rays and also the team’s closer. While that might not seem like a notable development, it’s important to keep in mind that, while many high-leverage situations do occur earlier in games, traditional closers typically lead the league in leverage index because small leads in the ninth are still important. Colome put up a 1.91 ERA because of an absurd 93% left-on-base percentage, but his 2.92 FIP was also quite good and sets up a reasonable expectation for this season. His cutter is his best pitch, one that generated whiffs 25% of the time.
Brad Boxberger was the closer before he was injured last season and Colome took over. He will start the season on the disabled list, further diminishing the chances of reclaiming his role. Second on the depth chart for the Rays is Xavier Cedeno. The lefty faced 87 batters with the platoon advantage last season and gave up just two extra-base hits, both doubles. The 30-year-old can get righties out at a close to average rate but is best deployed as a no-doubt lefty-killer.
Erasmo Ramirez could find himself on another team in need of a starter, but he can be deployed out of the pen for the time being until a rotation spot opens in Tampa Bay or elsewhere. He pitched from the pen last year. He doesn’t strike a lot of guys out, but limits walks. His FIP was a below replacement-level 4.76 mark due to a high home-run rate. If he can limit homers, he should be serviceable. Shawn Tolleson, once the Rangers closer, struggled last season and those struggles seem likely to continue into this season. Jumbo, which is not just a clever name, Diaz, was claimed from the Reds, but has had struggles keeping the ball in the park. Danny Farquhar has had similar problems preventing home runs, but his changeup does provide more hope for a better season. Matt Andriese should be the Rays fifth starter, but if he is unseated at some point, he could provide a few innings a a long man.
Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 3
The unlikely Boxberger-to-closer possibility.
|Jeanmar Gomez||65.0||6.4||3.0||1.0||.312||71.1 %||4.32||4.27||0.2|
|Hector Neris||65.0||10.3||3.5||1.0||.306||75.5 %||3.57||3.68||0.8|
|Joaquin Benoit||55.0||9.6||3.8||1.0||.296||78.4 %||3.38||3.88||0.6|
|Pat Neshek||55.0||8.8||2.4||1.2||.298||75.5 %||3.67||3.84||0.5|
|Edubray Ramos||45.0||9.1||2.5||1.1||.306||73.6 %||3.70||3.66||0.3|
|Joely Rodriguez||40.0||7.4||3.5||1.1||.305||72.0 %||4.21||4.32||0.1|
|Pat Venditte||35.0||9.1||3.5||1.2||.309||73.3 %||4.11||4.12||0.1|
|Luis Garcia||30.0||8.6||4.6||0.8||.316||74.2 %||3.92||4.01||0.1|
|Alberto Tirado||25.0||9.6||8.3||1.3||.309||71.3 %||5.68||5.85||-0.1|
|Nick Pivetta||20.0||8.3||3.6||1.3||.306||71.9 %||4.40||4.45||0.0|
|Ben Lively||15.0||7.8||3.0||1.3||.306||70.6 %||4.48||4.43||0.0|
|Adam Morgan||10.0||7.2||2.5||1.5||.307||69.2 %||4.84||4.67||0.0|
|The Others||61.0||8.3||4.2||1.3||.324||69.1 %||5.10||4.74||-0.1|
Jeanmar Gomez has never struck a lot of guys out. He was at his best in 2015, when he walked just 5% of batters and gave up just four homers in 74.2 innings pitched. Last season, his walks ticked up just a bit, and his homers moved closer to an average rate. That doesn’t sound too bad, but when you strike out just 15% of opponents, it actually makes you an ineffective reliever. His 4.85 ERA was worse than his peripherals suggested, but a 3.96 FIP is less than ideal for a guy who’s supposed to be getting the final three outs in close games.
There are three bullpen options clearly superior to Gomez, and it appears those pitchers will have the opportunity to work in some manner of setup role. Hector Neris was fantastic last season, striking out 31% of batters primarily using a split-fingered fastball, leading the majors in that pitch’s usage, throwing it 50% of the time. The only other pitcher using it more than 35% of the time last season was Koji Uehara.
Joaquin Benoit will turn 40 in July and there’s been some erosion to his game with age despite similar velocity. At his peak, he walked 5% of batters, settling in around 7% or 8% during his good reliever seasons. Last year, though, he was up to 12% after hitting 9% in 2015. Those are the kinds of walk numbers that got Benoit turned from a starter to a reliever when he was with Texas. He still strikes out quite a few batters, but any further decline will likely mean the end of Benoit’s solid career.
After a career year with the Cardinals in 2014, Neshek had a disappointing 2015 season with the Astros due to too many homers. He followed that up with a solid, but not spectacular, season in 2016. Instead of keeping him, though, the Astros traded him and his $6.5 million option to the Phillies. Neshek’s delivery makes him a very good option against right-handed hitters, but the 36-year-old would be better served facing as few lefties as possible. The Phillies have a lot of interesting pitchers, including switch-pitcher Pat Venditte. Edubray Ramos is a 24-year-old with a nasty slider, and he has shown some promise in his brief MLB career. This bullpen has the stuff to be a lot better than their ranking here indicates, though they lack a star reliever, and there’s a pretty quick fall to replacement level after their top-five relievers.
Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 6
Would be higher if the closer weren’t bad.
|Cam Bedrosian||65.0||10.8||3.8||0.8||.308||76.5 %||3.21||3.33||1.0|
|Andrew Bailey||65.0||8.8||3.2||1.1||.300||73.4 %||3.91||3.94||0.6|
|Mike Morin||55.0||8.5||2.7||1.1||.301||73.3 %||3.75||3.80||0.5|
|Huston Street||55.0||7.6||3.2||1.2||.299||74.1 %||4.08||4.28||0.0|
|JC Ramirez||45.0||7.1||3.3||1.1||.304||72.0 %||4.21||4.33||0.0|
|Jose Alvarez||40.0||7.9||3.0||0.9||.307||73.5 %||3.77||3.90||0.1|
|Austin Adams||35.0||8.1||3.0||1.0||.307||70.9 %||4.02||3.86||0.0|
|Yusmeiro Petit||30.0||7.8||2.1||1.3||.299||73.3 %||4.03||4.09||0.1|
|Greg Mahle||25.0||6.9||3.4||1.0||.304||71.4 %||4.30||4.43||0.0|
|Kirby Yates||20.0||9.7||3.5||1.1||.303||75.7 %||3.61||3.91||0.0|
|Keynan Middleton||15.0||8.6||4.4||1.2||.304||72.5 %||4.50||4.62||0.0|
|Brooks Pounders||10.0||8.4||3.6||1.1||.302||73.1 %||4.07||4.18||0.0|
|Vicente Campos||10.0||6.5||3.0||1.2||.302||71.5 %||4.44||4.64||0.0|
|Nate Smith||10.0||7.1||2.9||1.2||.300||71.6 %||4.22||4.34||0.0|
|Blake Parker||10.0||9.6||3.3||1.1||.302||74.9 %||3.71||3.84||0.0|
|The Others||9.0||8.3||4.2||1.3||.324||69.1 %||5.10||4.74||0.0|
Huston Street is in the second year of a two-year, $18 million contract with the Angels signed after an okay, but save-filled, 2015 season. He was atrocious last season and is currently sidelined by a lat strain, making him unlikely to start the season with the team. Speaking of proven closers who now might be bad, the Angels also employ Andrew Bailey. The former A’s closer hasn’t been good or healthy since 2011. He racked up a ton of saves last season, but he didn’t pitch particularly well. These projections actually seem a little generous for Bailey, giving him slightly better numbers than last year in terms of both walks and strikeouts, with a big dive from his home-run rate. He did pitch a little better down the stretch for the Angels last season after the Phillies dumped him, but we are talking about just 12 appearances. While his walk rate went down, so did his strikeout rate.
It would appear as though I’ve buried the lede when it comes to discussing the Angels bullpen, as the best pitcher is clearly Cam Bedrosian. If you’re wondering whether I did any research for this post, know that I have, as I deemed it important to determine whether Cam Bedrosian is related to Steve Bedrosian. (He is.) Bedrosian had struggles with walks nearly every time he moved up a level, and that was true for his MLB debut in 2014, when he walked more than 12% of hitters in both 2014 and 2015. Last year, he cut down his walks and saw his strikeout and ground-ball percentages increase. Only Zach Britton had a lower ERA than Bedrosian’s 1.12 among pitchers with at least 40 innings, and his 2.13 FIP was also excellent. Just one homer in 40.1 innings likely isn’t repeatable, but assuming there are no lingering issues with his finger that ended last season, he could emerge this season as one of the best relievers in baseball.
Mike Morin is a decent-enough pitcher and might be the second-best reliever on the Angels. Morin is not the player you want as your second-best reliever, especially if you hope to contend. Yusmeiro Petit, Austin Adams, JC Ramirez, and Jose Alvarez could all take some innings, as well, with Alvarez representing the best of that bunch.
Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 6
What to do with Cam Bedrosian?
|Raisel Iglesias||65.0||10.0||2.8||1.0||.304||76.7 %||3.24||3.45||1.2|
|Drew Storen||65.0||8.7||2.6||1.0||.306||73.0 %||3.68||3.79||0.7|
|Michael Lorenzen||55.0||8.4||3.0||1.1||.304||74.0 %||3.80||4.06||0.3|
|Tony Cingrani||55.0||9.4||4.9||1.1||.301||73.7 %||4.19||4.43||0.1|
|Blake Wood||45.0||10.1||4.2||0.9||.309||74.0 %||3.76||3.79||0.3|
|Barrett Astin||40.0||7.6||3.3||1.4||.302||69.7 %||4.74||4.72||-0.1|
|Wandy Peralta||35.0||7.4||4.2||1.1||.304||71.8 %||4.39||4.59||0.0|
|Tim Adleman||30.0||7.0||2.8||1.5||.300||71.0 %||4.64||4.77||-0.1|
|Rookie Davis||25.0||6.5||3.0||1.5||.305||69.7 %||4.91||4.93||0.0|
|Sal Romano||20.0||7.2||2.9||1.3||.306||70.0 %||4.66||4.58||0.0|
|Jackson Stephens||15.0||7.4||2.6||1.2||.306||71.1 %||4.25||4.23||0.0|
|Nefi Ogando||10.0||7.3||4.7||1.2||.295||71.3 %||4.61||4.88||0.0|
|Austin Brice||10.0||8.2||4.1||1.3||.306||71.2 %||4.67||4.77||0.0|
|Nick Travieso||10.0||6.9||3.8||1.3||.301||70.4 %||4.77||4.89||0.0|
|Keury Mella||10.0||6.9||3.9||1.3||.306||70.1 %||4.92||4.99||0.0|
|Ariel Hernandez||10.0||8.7||8.3||1.2||.304||71.6 %||5.57||5.96||-0.1|
|The Others||17.0||8.3||4.2||1.3||.324||69.1 %||5.10||4.74||0.0|
Without actually looking it up, I will venture to guess that no team is forecast for a bigger improvement over last season than Cincinnati. Reds relievers had a 5.09 ERA and 5.34 FIP in 2016. They walked a batter every other inning and gave up 103 homers in just 583 innings — or, more than the entire rotations of the Mets or Dodgers did in five times the innings. They put up a negative 3.6 WAR last season, merely having a really bad bullpen this season would represent a roughly six-win improvement.
Raisel Iglesias is the unquestioned stud of the bullpen, though falling over in the bathroom likely hurt his pride, hips, and elbow, maybe in that order. Iglesias seemed to have potential as a starter, but stamina, platoon splits, inability to turn over a lineup multiple times — or some combination of those three — forced him into the bullpen last season. In 50 relief innings last year, Iglesias struck out 54 batters and put up a sub-2 ERA with a solid 3.21 FIP. He often pitched multiple innings in important situations. He’s easily the Reds’ best reliever, but he might not be the closer.
Drew Storen probably wasn’t as bad last season as you remember him, if you do indeed remember him from last season. He pitched for the Blue Jays and Mariners and was really bad with the former. For the Mariners, he appeared in 19 games and put up a 3.44 ERA and 2.76 FIP. He threw more offspeed pitches and filled up the strike zone more often, lowering his strikeouts and walks and getting better results overall. He might be the closer, but his velocity has been down this spring, which isn’t a great sign for a pitcher who struggled last year after half-a-dozen good ones.
As for the rest of the bullpen, Michael Lorenzen was a bad starter in 2015, but was solid in the bullpen last year. Blake Wood could be described as okay. Tony Cingrani showed some promise as essentially a one-pitch starter, but hasn’t been particularly effective in the bullpen. The Reds are going to better than last year. They have to be. They just still won’t be good.
Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 6
Raisel Iglesias, but only if Storen is closer.
|Francisco Rodriguez||65.0||8.4||2.9||1.1||.304||76.7 %||3.59||3.88||0.6|
|Justin Wilson||65.0||9.4||3.3||1.0||.313||72.8 %||3.79||3.65||0.9|
|Alex Wilson||55.0||6.3||2.8||1.1||.304||73.3 %||4.08||4.35||0.2|
|Bruce Rondon||55.0||10.0||4.3||1.1||.310||73.0 %||4.03||4.01||0.3|
|Kyle Ryan||45.0||6.0||3.1||1.0||.307||72.4 %||4.13||4.34||0.0|
|Daniel Stumpf||40.0||7.3||3.4||1.1||.313||69.4 %||4.70||4.46||0.1|
|Mike Pelfrey||35.0||4.6||3.0||1.1||.317||68.9 %||5.04||4.95||-0.1|
|Blaine Hardy||30.0||7.4||3.4||1.0||.308||73.2 %||3.99||4.12||0.1|
|Shane Greene||25.0||7.7||3.0||1.0||.316||69.4 %||4.40||4.10||0.0|
|Buck Farmer||20.0||7.2||3.4||1.4||.311||69.7 %||4.99||4.89||0.0|
|Drew VerHagen||15.0||6.2||3.5||1.0||.311||70.8 %||4.44||4.53||0.0|
|Joe Mantiply||10.0||7.4||3.0||1.2||.312||71.0 %||4.44||4.36||0.0|
|Warwick Saupold||10.0||6.4||3.7||1.2||.315||69.6 %||4.93||4.81||0.0|
|Dustin Molleken||10.0||7.9||4.6||1.1||.314||71.2 %||4.75||4.69||0.0|
|The Others||13.0||8.3||4.2||1.3||.324||69.1 %||5.10||4.74||0.0|
The curse of Dombrowski lives on in Detroit. The big bugaboo of the Dombrowski-helmed teams while he was in Detroit was his inability to put together a decent bullpen. Last season, the Tigers had a bullpen that ranked in the middle of the pack among MLB teams by peripheral stats. Due to some combination of poor defense and sequencing, however, their 4.22 ERA was higher than their 3.88 FIP. The team’s 72% left-on-base percentage was one of the worst figures in baseball.
Francisco Rodriguez was effective last year, but his strikeout and walk rates both moved in the wrong direction. His average fastball velocity is below 90 mph now, and it plays off his change instead of the other way around — and he throws that change over 40% of the time. He doesn’t pitch a lot in the zone, so he’ll need swings on the changeup to remain effective. Alex Wilson doesn’t strike out a lot of hitters, but his two-seam fastball gets a lot of outs. Projections are skeptical that his run of success can continue, as his HR/FB rates and BABIP are well below league average over his first 199 big-league innings.
It might be generous, but in Justin Wilson the Tigers might have a poor man’s Andrew Miller, if you believe you can be a poor man’s version of Andrew Miller by being a lefty who is good at striking out batters and limiting walks. He’s a lefty who’s struck out 27% of batters while walking just 7% over the last two years. Over the last two years, the only lefty relievers with more innings and a lower FIP than Wilson’s 2.93 are Zach Britton, Aroldis Chapman and Miller.
After K-Rod, Wilson and Wilson, it’s pretty slim pickings. Mark Lowe, who’s owed $6.5 million, didn’t make the team. Bruce Rondon is still around walking and striking out a bunch of players. Kyle Ryan put up good numbers last season, but a repeat seems unlikely. Shane Greene is better than his 5.82 ERA last season, but it isn’t really clear how much better.
Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 7
|Brandon Kintzler||65.0||5.9||2.3||1.0||.317||72.5 %||4.00||4.10||0.3|
|Ryan Pressly||65.0||7.9||3.2||1.0||.316||73.7 %||3.93||3.96||0.6|
|Matt Belisle||55.0||6.5||2.6||0.9||.318||72.3 %||4.06||3.99||0.3|
|Taylor Rogers||55.0||7.7||2.8||0.9||.319||73.2 %||3.89||3.87||0.3|
|Michael Tonkin||45.0||9.0||2.8||1.1||.319||73.6 %||3.94||3.85||0.3|
|J.T. Chargois||40.0||8.4||4.0||0.9||.318||72.6 %||4.11||4.06||0.1|
|Craig Breslow||35.0||6.7||3.7||1.3||.319||71.5 %||4.86||4.85||0.0|
|Tyler Duffey||30.0||7.2||2.4||1.2||.319||69.6 %||4.50||4.19||0.0|
|Justin Haley||25.0||7.1||3.4||1.2||.317||70.1 %||4.70||4.55||0.0|
|Buddy Boshers||20.0||8.8||3.7||0.9||.316||72.3 %||3.96||3.81||0.0|
|Ryan O’Rourke||15.0||9.0||3.9||1.1||.309||73.6 %||4.16||4.20||0.0|
|Glen Perkins||10.0||8.9||2.3||1.1||.316||74.0 %||3.80||3.66||0.0|
|Alex Wimmers||10.0||7.4||4.0||1.2||.315||70.6 %||4.76||4.63||0.0|
|Mason Melotakis||10.0||7.6||4.3||1.3||.316||70.8 %||4.97||4.99||0.0|
|The Others||33.0||8.3||4.2||1.3||.324||69.1 %||5.10||4.74||0.0|
Glen Perkins pitched only two innings last season and things aren’t off to a good start this one, as he’s likely to be placed on the 60-day disabled list at some point. We’re projecting nine Twins relievers for at least 25 innings this season, and Michael Tonkin’s 3.85 FIP is the best such mark on the club. The only player projected for more than 0.3 WAR is Ryan Pressly’s, at 0.6 WAR. The 28-year-old right-hander put up a 3.70 ERA and 3.74 FIP after recording numbers in the high-2s in 27 innings the season before. He throws hard and should be a decent option in late innings this year.
Brandon Kintzler closed things for much of the 2016 season by using his sinker more than 80% of the time. That pitch doesn’t lead to a lot of strikeouts, but he generates a ton of ground balls and walked under 4% of the batters he faced last season. If he can keep his walks to that level, he’ll be effective again, but if the walks rise, he’ll be a below-average reliever.
Matt Belisle did the same no-strikeout, no-walk thing as Kintzler last year for the Nationals, and it led to a 1.76 ERA and 2.84 FIP. The walk rate was one-third below his career averages, and if the 36-year-old’s numbers look more like his career averages, he’ll be a little bit above replacement on the season. Taylor Rogers is a decent LOOGY. The aforementioned Tonkin struck out 25% of batters last season, but gave up a lot of homers. If he can get the homers down, he should be a serviceable middle reliever. J.T. Chargois struck out a lot of hitters in the minors but wasn’t able to translate to the big leagues in his call-up last year.
Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 3
Because they don’t have any good relievers.
|Kelvin Herrera||65.0||9.9||2.7||0.8||.306||77.0 %||3.00||3.17||1.3|
|Joakim Soria||65.0||8.8||3.3||1.0||.310||74.7 %||3.76||3.89||0.5|
|Matt Strahm||55.0||9.0||2.9||1.1||.311||74.6 %||3.76||3.90||0.3|
|Scott Alexander||55.0||6.7||3.4||1.0||.310||71.9 %||4.20||4.29||0.0|
|Chris Young||45.0||8.8||3.7||1.6||.305||73.0 %||4.69||4.77||-0.1|
|Miguel Almonte||40.0||7.6||4.5||1.2||.309||71.9 %||4.66||4.79||-0.1|
|Al Alburquerque||35.0||8.4||4.4||1.0||.308||74.4 %||4.03||4.23||0.0|
|Kyle Zimmer||30.0||8.4||3.7||1.0||.310||72.3 %||4.12||4.08||0.0|
|Mike Minor||25.0||7.9||3.2||1.2||.304||73.5 %||4.11||4.21||0.0|
|Brian Flynn||20.0||8.1||3.6||0.9||.306||74.2 %||3.80||3.98||0.0|
|Kevin McCarthy||15.0||6.4||3.5||1.1||.307||70.2 %||4.64||4.65||0.0|
|Andrew Edwards||10.0||7.6||4.6||1.1||.308||71.9 %||4.60||4.74||0.0|
|Jake Junis||10.0||6.7||2.4||1.3||.309||69.6 %||4.61||4.53||0.0|
|The Others||52.0||8.3||4.2||1.3||.324||69.1 %||5.10||4.74||-0.1|
Whoa. What happened here? Remember when the Royals revolutionized baseball with multiple shutdown relievers, shortening the game and making up for a mediocre rotation? It wasn’t that long ago: they’re just 18 months removed from a World Series title. Wade Davis, one of the very best relievers in baseball over the last three seasons, is now employed by the Cubs after having been traded for Jorge Soler. Kelvin Herrera is taking over the mantle as top reliever, but there isn’t much after him.
Herrera was one of just a dozen relievers in 2016 to put up at least 2.0 WAR. He took a big leap forward last year, increasing his strikeouts from 22% to 30% and decreasing his walks from 9% to 4%. He changed his pitch mix considerably, throwing mostly upper-90s fastballs with the occasional change prior to last season, but mixing in both a curve and slider last year to great effect.
The Royals signed Joakim Soria to a three-year, $25 million before last season, but things didn’t go as planned. Soria’s poor 4.05 ERA accompanied a worse 4.36 FIP, causing a replacement-level season. His strikeout rate was decent, but his walks went up and he gave up a bunch of homers, getting worse as the season went on. The homers probably should come down a bit, but that still won’t make him the pitcher whom the Royals thought they were getting before last season.
The only other reliever on the Royals worth a substantive discussion is Matt Strahm. The 25-year-old began last year as a Double-A starter and struck out 25% of hitters against just 5% walks. The Royals needed a reliever at the end of July and they called up Strahm, who proceeded to strike out 34% of batters. He also walked 12%, but didn’t give up a homer in 22 innings. He mostly throws a mid-90s four-seam fastball, also using a curve and change around 10% of the time. That repertoire might be usable as a starter, but he might find a home in the bullpen to fill the Royals’ needs there. After those three pitchers, the rest of the Royals bullpen is projected to be below replacement level.
Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 1
Herrera is king.
|Arodys Vizcaino||65.0||10.4||4.2||0.9||.316||76.0 %||3.58||3.62||0.6|
|Jim Johnson||65.0||8.4||2.9||0.8||.319||71.9 %||3.71||3.54||0.7|
|Mauricio Cabrera||55.0||9.2||5.4||0.8||.310||74.2 %||3.97||4.14||0.1|
|Ian Krol||55.0||9.8||3.4||0.9||.318||75.1 %||3.57||3.60||0.4|
|Jose Ramirez||45.0||9.5||4.7||1.1||.311||73.9 %||4.18||4.35||-0.1|
|Paco Rodriguez||40.0||9.7||4.1||1.0||.307||75.7 %||3.65||3.97||0.1|
|Eric O’Flaherty||35.0||7.4||3.2||0.9||.320||67.5 %||4.67||4.09||0.0|
|Chaz Roe||30.0||9.9||3.7||0.8||.314||73.7 %||3.57||3.48||0.1|
|Josh Collmenter||25.0||6.3||2.8||1.3||.300||72.4 %||4.36||4.59||0.0|
|Kevin Chapman||20.0||9.4||4.3||1.0||.319||72.8 %||4.17||4.04||0.0|
|Daniel Winkler||15.0||9.6||3.1||0.9||.310||76.1 %||3.49||3.54||0.0|
|Lucas Sims||10.0||9.5||5.4||1.0||.311||73.1 %||4.31||4.43||0.0|
|The Others||42.0||8.3||4.2||1.3||.324||69.1 %||5.10||4.74||-0.1|
Arodys Vizcaino looked great in 33 innings back in 2015, but last season was a step back, as he missed time with injuries to his elbow, oblique, and shoulder. He made just five appearances after the All-Star break, and on the season, he ended up walking 14% of batters. While also struck out 27% of batters and his 3.66 FIP was certainly decent, he won’t able to walk hitters at that same rate and remain effective in the big leagues. For a team that ranks 29th on this depth chart, Vizcaino could be a bright spot.
From 2008 to 2013, Jim Johnson was a good reliever; then, in 2014, he was a not very good reliever. In 2015, he was pretty good again for a few months with the Braves, who traded him to the Dodgers, where he was bad again. He rejoined the Braves last season and was good again. The 33-year-old righty is still with the Braves, so presumably he will be good. Last year’s 1.4 WAR was Johnson’s career high. It was due, in part, to a very low-home run rate, which should regress upwards this year. The Braves closer should be serviceable nontheless.
Twenty-five year-old lefty Ian Krol had a successful 2016 campaign and should be decent once again. After that, Mauricio Cabrera, Jose Ramirez, Paco Rodriguez, and Eric O’Flaherty should all appear in Braves games in their new home out in the suburbs. Much like your friends who have kids and move out to the suburbs, you are likely to forget about them.
Andrew Miller Situation Scale: 5
If Arodys Vizcaino beats his projections.
|Fernando Rodney||65.0||9.4||4.2||1.0||.312||74.0 %||3.86||4.03||0.3|
|Jake Barrett||65.0||8.6||4.0||1.0||.310||73.4 %||4.07||4.18||0.3|
|Randall Delgado||55.0||8.5||3.8||1.1||.309||74.5 %||4.07||4.22||0.2|
|Andrew Chafin||55.0||8.5||3.6||0.8||.307||74.6 %||3.53||3.67||0.5|
|Archie Bradley||45.0||9.7||3.7||0.9||.318||73.6 %||3.80||3.70||0.3|
|Jorge de la Rosa||40.0||7.5||3.7||1.2||.313||72.1 %||4.46||4.53||0.0|
|Enrique Burgos||35.0||10.3||4.8||1.1||.314||73.7 %||4.14||4.09||0.0|
|Steve Hathaway||30.0||8.4||4.1||1.1||.313||73.0 %||4.22||4.34||0.0|
|Silvino Bracho||25.0||9.6||2.7||1.2||.310||73.8 %||3.87||3.84||0.0|
|Zack Godley||20.0||8.0||3.4||1.1||.314||72.7 %||4.23||4.26||0.0|
|Evan Marshall||15.0||7.4||3.6||1.0||.317||72.6 %||4.22||4.31||0.0|
|Matt Koch||10.0||5.8||2.1||1.3||.310||68.7 %||4.71||4.58||0.0|
|Jimmie Sherfy||10.0||10.0||4.5||1.1||.313||73.4 %||4.19||4.21||0.0|
|The Others||50.0||8.3||4.2||1.3||.324||69.1 %||5.10||4.74||-0.1|
You’ve probably heard of Fernando Rodney. You might not remember what he’s been up to. In the last two seasons, he’s played for the Mariners, Cubs, Padres, and Marlins. He was solid from 2012 through 2014, he was bad with the Mariners in 2015, mediocre with the Cubs later that year, good for the Padres for a short time in 2016, and then bad for the Marlins for the remainder of the season. He’s 40 years old and the Diamondbacks gave him $2 million to be their closer. It might work out. It just isn’t likely to.
Jake Barrett was above replacement level last season despite a bunch of walks, but he won’t be ready to go at the start of the season. Randall Delgado has produced double-digit walk rates in each of the last three seasons as a reliever. Andrew Chafin had a nice 2015 but was injured in 2016, producing good peripheral numbers in a small sample. That’s what the best projection on the worst bullpen in baseball looks like.
There are a couple reasons for optimism, if you’re into that sort of thing. (Although, if you’re a Diamondbacks fan, it would be understandable if you aren’t.) There’s a decent chance that Archie Bradley’s stuff will play up in short stints, and if it does, he has a good shot at beating his projections. The same holds true for Jorge de la Rosa, who Dave Cameron called The Biggest Free Agent Bargain Still Out There. Arizona is likely not to be good, but I wouldn’t bet on them finishing last at the end of the season.
Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.