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.
*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.
*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?
*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.
*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.