Saturday, 17 December 2011

No "Bull" About It

With the winter meetings over and 2 months until Pitchers and Catchers report, rosters have begun to take shape. Last season the bullpen was a sore spot for the Blue Jays as they “blew” 25 saves, tied for 3rd most in all of baseball. Since the end of the 2011 season, and even since the Colby Rasmus trade, there has been a lot of turnover.  Gone are Jon Rauch, Shawn Camp, Frank Francisco, Jason Frasor, Mark Rzepczynski, Octavio Dotel, Wil Ledezma, Rommie Lewis, Trever Miller, PJ Walters, and the deplorable Brian Tallet.  Last years assortment of a bullpen went:

While the peripheral numbers look solid (3.88 ERA, 4.00 FIP, 3.93 xFIP, 3.42 SIERA) , the Jays did have some trouble putting games away.  Saves being the awful statistic it is, will be ignored.  Instead we shall look at Shutdowns (SD) and Meltdowns (MD), which is a more telling form of statistic then saves or holds.  In 474 appearances by Toroto’s bullpen, the Jays posted 125 Shutdown appearances (Games in which the reliever added more then a certain mark of WPA, or Win Probability Added) which ranked 15th in MLB.  On the converse of that, Toronto’s 57 meltdowns were 5th best in baseball ahead of only the Mariners, Red Sox, Phillies, and White Sox. 

Of the 57 Meltdowns, 21 came from the brutal combination of Shawn Camp and Jon Rauch. The rest of the team had only 36 with half (18) coming from the Jekyll and Hyde trio of Frank Francisco, Luis Perez and Mark Rzepczynski. Those 5 relievers accounted for over half of all relief appearances (250) and recorded 69 shut downs and 39 meltdowns.  That is less then 2 shut downs for every meltdown.  The rest of the team amassed 56 shutdowns to only 18 meltdowns.  Its telling that of those 5 pitchers only Luis Perez remains on the club.  The best relievers last year: Casey Jansen (18-4 SD-MD), Carlos Villanueva (6-2) and Jesse Litsch (6-3) all return all in the hunt for a spot in the bullpen.

The biggest move of the Jays offseason so far (ignoring the Yu Darvish rumors) was Alex Anthopolous’ acquisition of Chicago White Sox “closer” Sergio Santos.  Santos was once a Jays farm hand, although he played shortstop at the time, has already made a splash as a pitcher in the big leagues.  Blessed with a wicked slider and mid 90’s heat Santos has posted fantastic numbers in his first two seasons (11.58 K/9, 3.29 ERA, 2.97 FIP and 3.20 xFIP).  Santos has been solid by Shutdowns/Meltdowns posting 40 SD and 17 MD.

Currently the internal pullpen options are:

Sergio Santos, Casey Jansen, Villenueva and Litsch all have pretty much secured spots in the bullpen.

Chad Beck, Joel Carreno, Luis Perez, Kyle Drabek, Dustin McGowan, Danny Farquhar, Brett Cecil, Jim Hoey, Trystan Magnuson are all internal options.

External Options (Shutdowns/Meltdowns: David Aardsma (sat out last season, but for his career 96/35), Miguel Batista, (9/6) Francisco Cordero(34/6), Juan Cruz (10-7), Mike Gonzalez(11-6), Jose Mijares (11-8), Sergio Mitre (4-4) , Darren Oliver (17-13), Micah Owings(4-2), Dan Wheeler (5-5), Jamey Wright (18-11) and Joel Zumaya (So many shoulder issues, but hit high 90‘s in showcase for teams, career 69-34).

Personally, I like the options of Aardsma, Oliver, Wheeler, Wright, and Zumaya.

What do you think? Who do you like for next years pen?

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