Oakland’s Bullpen In Need of Relief

Not a lot of things are going right for the A’s these days, they have a lineup that features Bobby Crosby, Jack Hannahan, and Adam Kennedy most days, their young rotation is taking a beating, and any plans of winning the division have seemingly been doused for the moment, but right about now, Billy Beane is probably thankful that he spent so much energy constructing his bullpen. Not because the pen has had many leads to secure and protect, but because more than any other team in baseball, the A’s are calling upon their pen to rack up innings. At least that’s what I found when I took the total number of innings pitched and then divided the amount of relief thrown innings by the total innings, giving us the percentage of total innings thrown by relievers. Here’s a look at the graph:

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The A’s stick out like a sore thumb. That unit is getting about 4% more innings than any other team, and all things considered, is doing a decent job with it. The Marlins lead the league in bullpen FIP, but the A’s are the fourth best overall and second best in the American League behind only the Chicago White Sox. Off-season waiver claim Kevin Cameron, trade acquisition Mike Wuertz, oddballer Brad Ziegler, and middling starter-turned-reliever Andrew Bailey are the bright spots. Remember that the A’s lost their best reliever, Joey Devine, before he even threw a pitch this season. We all knew the A’s rotation would be a question mark heading forward, but I don’t think any of us expected the rotation to only pitch about 55% of the total innings thus far.

Also, for those curious, the other teams at the top and bottom of the graph. Top: Phillies, Orioles, Astros, Marlins. Bottom: Rangers, Pirates, Reds, Royals, Cubs.





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Tim_the_Beaver
13 years ago

may not change the data too much, but I’d be curious to see this plot if you took out extra innings. It would not give as accurate a picture for how much the relievers are getting taxed, but it would give a more accurate picture as to how early Oakland’s young starters are getting yanked.

Sal Paradise
13 years ago
Reply to  Tim_the_Beaver

I would also suggest changing it to average innings started to control for the extra inning games, or at least adding that information to the graph.

Also, if you’re not using the X-axis, I’d suggest a horizontal bar chart, because I kept wondering what the X-axis on the graph was supposed to represent (it looks like it’s just X+1 for the next team currently).