Monday, March 09, 2009

NL East Bullpens

Over the past few weeks we've taken a look at the NL East infields, outfields, and the starting rotations; with the Phillies being the readers' choice of each category (remember this is a Phils site and they're WFC). Today we wrap things up with the bullpens, let the voting commence.

Atlanta Braves:
*Mike Gonzalez/Closer- 36 g, 33.2 ip, 44 k, 14 sv, 4.28 era, 1.19 whip. Gonzalez when healthy is a reliable closer, but arm problems have cropped up on him both of the last 2 seasons. He has an excellent strikeout rate and has only blown 5 saves in 49 career chances.

*Rafael Soriano- 14 g, 14 ip, 16 k, 3 sv, 2.57 era, 1.14 whip. Soriano has the makeup to be a top notch setup man or closer, but just like Gonzalez his problem is staying healthy. He's coming off elbow surgery so the Braves aren't sure what to expect from him.

*Manny Acosta- 46 g, 53 ip, 3 sv, 4 hld, 3.57 era, 1.40 whip. Stepped up nicely when both Soriano and Gonzalez were hurt last season and has become a trusted member of Bobby Cox's late innings crew.

*Boone Logan- 55 g, 42.1 ip, 42 k, 3 hld, 5.95 era, 1.68 whip. Was packaged in the Javier Vazquez trade, and the Braves seem to think they've found their situational lefty. The truth is that he's been pretty bad during his 3 years in the majors, and gets crushed by righties and really isn't all that good against lefties either...I'm glad the Braves have Logan instead of Ohman this season.

*Blaine Boyer- 76 g, 72 ip, 67 k, 14 hld, 5.88, 1.36. Boyer was overused last season and his era post All-Star break ballooned to 11+, so what to expect from him this season is a crapshoot.

In The Mix: Jeff Ridgway, Buddy Carlyle, Jeff Bennett, Ed O'Flaherty, Peter Moylan, Vladimir Nunez, and others are all trying to secure a spot in the Braves bullpen. One thing is for sure, Atlanta has tons of depth in relief.

Florida Marlins:
*Matt Lindstrom/Closer- 66 g, 57.1 ip, 43 k, 5 sv, 14 hld, 3.14 era, 1.45 whip. Lindstrom is gaining some useful experience in Team USA's bullpen for the WBC, but he's still far from being considered a sure thing as closer. The cash strapped Marlins have to make due with what they have, and they have Lindstrom, so he becomes the de facto closer.

*Leo Nunez- 45 g, 48.1 ip, 26 k, 7 hld, 2.98 era, 1.24 whip. Comes way of Kansas City in the trade for Matt Jacobs, he's a good bet to be setup man and fallback plan for closer. In each of his 4 seasons in the majors he's dropped his era, which is good news for the Fish.

*Scott Proctor- 41 g, 38.2 ip, 46 k, 2 hld, 6.05 era, 1.68 whip. Proctor is still recovering from pitching 3 times a day when he was abused in the Yankees bullpen. Okay, it wasn't quite that bad, but Scott did pitch in 83 games in back to back seasons logging 85+ innings in each. His 2008 was disasterous, but I expect a return to the norm (3.50ish era).

*Logan Kensing- 48 g, 55.1 ip, 55 k, 5 hld, 4.23 era, 1.50 whip. Kensing has struckout a batter an inning over his career, but he's also put 1.5 base runners on per inning over that same stretch.

*Taylor Tankersley- 25 g, 17.2 ip, 13 k, 4 hld, 8.15 era, 1.70 whip. Taylor was horrible last year, but he's a lefty, and every MLB 'pen seems to need one of those now-a-days.

In The Mix: fireballer Jose Ceda, Kiko Calero, Burke Badenhop, Henry Owens, Ryan Tucker, Renyel Pinto, Jesus Delgado. Owens is returning from injury, and if healthy could easily step in as closer. Ceda has unbelievable upside.

New York Mets:
*Francisco Rodriguez/Closer- 76 g, 68.1 ip, 77 k, 62 sv, 2.24 era, 1.29 whip. The major piece of the Mets bullpen reconstruction is the newly crowned single season saves record holder. K-Rod brings instant respect to what was a laughable relief group.

*JJ Putz- 47 g, 46.1 ip, 56 k, 15 sv, 3.88 era, 1.60 whip. Was hindered by injuries last year, but still managed to strikeout far over 1 batter per inning. He would be the Mets bright new shining star at closer if not for K-Rod, so he slips into the setup role...which is just scary from an oppositions viewpoint.

*Pedro Feliciano- 86 g, 53.1 ip, 50 k, 2 sv, 21 hld, 4.05 era, 1.56 whip. He's the lefty specialist for the Mets, and he's pretty damn special against lefties, holding them to a .210 average and .575 OPS in '08. Death to Utley, Howard, Ibanez?

*Duaner Sanchez- 66 g, 58.1 ip, 44 k, 21 hld, 4.32 era, 1.32 whip. Sanchez isn't high on many people's list of solid relief pitchers, but he's one season removed from 3 quality years in a row.

In The Mix: Eddie Kunz, Brian Stokes, Sean Green, Carlos Muniz, Bobby Parnell, Tom Martin, and Rocky Cherry want in the Mets bullpen. Question is- who do the Mets want in their bullpen?

Philadelphia Phillies:
*Brad Lidge/Closer- 72 g, 69.1 ip, 92 k, 41 sv, 1.95 era, 1.23 whip. He was Mr. Perfect last season, converting all 48 save situations (including playoffs). He'll likely blow a save or two this season, but he'll still remain dominant with that filthy slider.

*Ryan Madson- 76 g, 82.2 ip, 67 k, 1 sv, 17 hld, 3.05 era, 1.23 whip. Madson always had the label of pitching badly in big games, but that all changed over the last couple months of the season. Mad Dog was busting out 97-98 mph fastballs in the playoffs and now looks to put a stronghold on the Phils 8th inning for the foreseeable future.

*Chad Durbin- 71 g, 87.2 ip, 63 k, 1 sv, 17 hld, 2.87 era, 1.32 whip. Durbin was a bullpen savior for a good portion of the season, as his success came as a surprise to almost everyone. His arm got tired in the waning months of '08 and his effectiveness suffered, but the Phils are banking on him producing similar numbers this season.

*Scott Eyre- 38 g, 25.2 ip, 32 k, 8 hld, 4.21 era, 1.17 whip. Mostly only useful versus lefties, Eyre went from Lou Pinella's doghouse to World Series champion last season. With JC Romeo unjustly being punished, he's the only guaranteed lefty in the 'pen to start the season.

*Clay Condrey- 56 g, 69 ip, 34 k, 1 sv, 1 hld, 3.26 era, 1.51 whip. Condrey isn't great, isn't good, but is mediocre and that's good enough for his role in the bullpen. He has a knack for working out of danger despite giving up tons of hits.

In The Mix: Gary Majewski, Mike Koplove, Blaine Neal, Robert Mosebach, Dave Borkowski, Justin Lehr, and the losers of the 5th spot in the rotation contest. Majewski has the early lead in my opinion. Of note- JC Romero will be serving a 50 game suspension to begin the season, but will be back come June.

Washington Nationals:
*Joel Hanrahan/Closer- 69 g, 84.1 ip, 93 k, 9 sv, 3 hld, 3.95 era, 1.36 whip. Washington doesn't truly have a closer on staff, so Joel will fill the void. He strikes out over a batter per inning, so that at least suggests he can handle it. Time will tell.

*Saul Rivera- 76 g, 84 ip, 65 k, 17 hld, 3.96 era, 1.49 whip. Saul is quietly becoming one of the more consistently reliable durable relievers in the National League. He's not flashy, but he gets the job done.

*Steven Shell- 39 g, 50 ip, 41 k, 2 sv, 7 hld, 2.16 era, 1.08 whip. I'm a box score junky (read them every morning), so I'm a bit disappointed in myself for not realizing how awesome this rookie was last year. He was a starter in the minors, so relief may definitely be his niche.

*Garrett Mock- 26 g, 41 ip, 46 k, 4.17 era, 1.46 whip. Also a rookie last season with a great strikeout to inning rate. He has the capability to start or relieve. With him and Shell, the Gnats bullpen is heading in the right direction.

In The Mix: Tyler Clippard, Jesus Colome, Josh Towers, Michael Hinckley, Jorge Sosa, Marco Estrada, and anyone that doesn't make the rotation.

Who has the best bullpen?
Nationals free polls



Bob D said...

Romero's return puts them over the Mets. I would rank them as:
Philly, Mets, Nats, Fish, and lastly the Braves. But we also know that each year the pen is a crap shoot.

GM-Carson said...

Phils went from horrible bullpen in '07 to NL's best in '08. I do not expect to hold that honor again, and I voted the Mets as best bullpen.

I believe the Phils have the best offense, but the Mets have the best pitching.

Overall (defense, pitching, offense) team rank:
1. Phillies
2. Mets
3. Marlins
4. Braves
5. Nationals

GM-Carson said...

Happy b-day to Terry Mulholland and Benito Santiago.

Bob D said...

Carlos Ruiz got hurt in the WBC. Possibly a pinched nerve in the neck. That puts both Coste and Paulino as the catching duo if the injury is going to put him out for a prolonged time. Marson could also end up being the starter but I figure that to be more of a long shot. That also could mean that Mayberry may just get a bench spot as Coste was considered the front runner as a righthanded spot off the bench previously.

GM-Carson said...

Is he really hurt? Last I heard is that it's nothing major, and he should be fine.

Andrew said...


you calling the the 2009 final standings there?

GM-Carson said...

That's pretty much how I see the final standings. Phils win NL East, Mets win wild card.

Sometime next week, there'll be a Phils Roundtable discussion posted here that includes insight from some of the leading Phils bloggers (including myself and Corey of course).

GM-Carson said...

From the Zo Zone:
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said the Phillies will scrimmage at the Carpenter Complex on Wednesday afternoon, and a few players who have not been on the field should be there:

Pedro Feliz, who is recovering from lower back surgery.
Brad Lidge, who has had some tightness in his right forearm.
Chris Coste, who has had tightness in his right hamstring.
Chad Durbin, who had tightness in his right hamstring.

*Utley not expected to play yet though.

Mr. A-Hole said...

The Mets will still suck.

PWHjort said...

I voted for the Phillies' bullpen. I think the Braves and Phillies will both be very close until JC Romero gets un-suspended, then the Phillies will clearly have the best bullpen. Everyone is very high on the Mets bullpen. I am not. They've got nothing beyond K-Rod and Putz. K-Rod throws funny and they both have to switch to a new league. Plus they lost one of the greatest relievers of all time, Billy Wagner. As far as the Braves bullpen goes, they've got 3 key guys coming off of surgery. The closer is Gonzalez who does have a history of nagging knee injuries, but he doesn't have an "injury prone arm" like everyone likes to say. He's just had Tommy John once. Peter Moylan, a key set-up man, is coming off of Tommy John. Rafael Soriano is very injury prone and is coming off of elbow nerve surgery. He debuts in Spring Training tomorrow. The other lock is Blaine Boyer who has been working out with John Smoltz all off-season. He should be a lot like his 1st half last year when he led the league in appearances and had a sub-4 ERA. Logan is the front-runner for our LOOGY spot, but Eric O'Flaherty could also win it. Acosta is nowhere near guaranteed a spot in the bullpen, he skipped the WBC to try and win a spot. The last mid-relief spot is a competition between Acosta, Jeff Bennett (my favorite to win the job), Stephen Marek (guy we got in the Teixeira trade), and Phil Stockman (he's out of options but has a ton of injury history and kind of sucks). I'm pretty high on all of those guys (besides Stockman). The long-relief role is a competition between Buddy Carlyle and Jorge Campillo, our number 2 starter for most of last year. I wouldn't be surprised if either of those guys won the job. And by the way, there's no way in HELL the Braves will finish any lower than 3rd. Here's what CHONE: and PECOTA: think about the projected standings.

GM-Carson said...

Get back to me when the Braves are in 4th place come end of September.

Really though, all teams in the NL East are very competitive aside from the Nationals.

Andy said...

I voted Mets.

Another end of the season monkey-wrench is the possibility that Wagner comes back to the Mets. 3 closers at the back end of the Mets BP?

Not saying Wagner will be what he used to, but that could give the Mets a serious boost in late August/September.

PWHjort said...

PECOTA and CHONE both lay out 2 tiers for the NL East, Philly, Atlanta, and NY in the first and Washington and Florida in the 2nd. I think that's probably right. The Marlins played WAY over their head in 2008 and they've got entirely too many question marks on their roster. In the power rankings, CHONE has the Phillies at 7, the Mets at 8, and the Braves at 9 while the Marlins are at 26 and the Nats at 28. The Marlins aren't nearly as good as the big 3 in the NL East and there's no chance they finish 3rd.

Bob D said...

Yes, the Phils say that Ruiz's injury is nothing. That is why it concerns me, they always do that even if Durbin's arm were to fall off they would say it is minor.

The Mets have 2 really good relievers and 2 mediocre, but nothing else. The Nats have a better pen than the Fish and Braves with more of an upside. The Braves pen is questionable, and the Fish just look really weak.

As for the Phils you have Lidge, Madson, Romero, and Durbin as good relievers. Then there is Eyre who is solid and the 6th reliever is Condrey who is decent. All of the other teams don't even have a reliever as good as Condrey in the 5th spot in there pen.

Andy said...

"The Mets have 2 really good relievers and 2 mediocre, but nothing else."

I don't think that's a true statement. Feliciano is a great LOOGY, and Sanchez isn't that far removed from being dominant, although there is a car crash in between.

Sean Green is a horse, and it will be interesting to see if his August/September last year was a fluke. I'd say he was more of a lock than Sanchez, actually.

Like most everyone else, the rest of the 'pen is a crapshoot to see who sticks. de los Santos seems interesting, as do a couple of the younger guys. Luckily, there's another month to figure it out.

GM-Carson said...

I like Durbin, but let's see if he can continue his success. It was his only successful big league seasons out of many.

Eyre is good for lefties only, so I'm hoping his role doesn't expand with Romero out.

I'm really rooting for Majewski or Koplove to rip it up here and spring and make the 'pen.

Braves have too many injury woes in that bullpen for my liking.

PWHjort said...

I love the Braves' bullpen. The only "injury prone" bullpen piece we have is Soriano. Gonzalez and Moylan are coming off of Tommy John surgery, but they've been throwing well in camp and having 1 surgery doesn't make you injury prone. We've also got a ton of depth in the bullpen. I'd rather have ours than the Mets'. The Phillies' I'd probably rather have. The Marlins' bullpen is no good and the Nationals' is worse.

Dan said...

Yeah, in case anyone else didn't see this (and from the comments, it appears as if no one has) the NYT was reporting the other day that it's pretty likely that Duaner Sanchez will get cut really soon. Basically, it's a money-saving move, because they only need to pay a quarter of his (fairly high) salary if they cut him before a certain day (which is quickly approaching).

He was definitely decent in the past, but he has been a *totally* different pitcher since that car crash. Also, he got fat. Take your pick...