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Bullpen by the Numbers


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Yes, I know there area  lot of threads, but I believe this is unique and deserves its own thread.

 

Why has the Angels struggled so much?  In 2010 and 2011, we were very weak offensively but had great starting pitching...

In 2012 our offense was weak for half the season and starting pitching struggled for half the season.

2013 our offense was fine but our Starting pitching was weak.

 

What I did not mention was one constant.  Our bullpen has sucked in everyone of those seasons.  The bullpen (for obvious reason) is critical for a successful season.  The bullpen shortens the game and ensures wins when leading late.  The Angels greatest success came during the tandem of KROD and Shields shutting down the 8th and 9th innings.  The bull pen also allows the team to stay in close games and give the opportunity a chance for a comeback win.  If you recall, during our "glory times" of the previous decade we were always among the leaders in comeback wins.  That was because of our bullpen.  So lets' look at our bullpen by the numbers;

 

2014        ERA 5.31    26th of 30 teams      3blown saves is 5th worst in the league (we would be 9-5)

 

2013        ERA 4.26    26th of 30 teams      17 blown saves  which is 10th worst in the league

 

2012        ERA 3.94    22nd of 30 teams     22 blown saves which is third worst in the league  (weren't we in the race up until the last weekend?)

 

2011        ERA 3.52   11th of 30 teams (not bad)  25 blown saves which was third worst in the league.

 

2010        ERA 4.30   19th of 30 teams          17 blown saves 15th in the league, about middle of pack.

 

2009        ERA 4.49    23rd of 30 teams         19 blown saves  15th in the league  about middle of pack

 

2008        ERA 3.69    12th of 30                     12 blown saves (KROD and Shields)

 

Looking at the numbers, we are in our 6th season since the departure of KROD and Shields.  Since that time our bullpen has been in the bottom third of the league in ERA five (5) times.  We have been in the bottom third in the league in blown saves four (4) times. 

 

In 2012 we were just 2.5 games out of the WC entering the last week.  Yet we blew 22 saves that year.  Obviously an average bullpen would have gotten us into the WC.

 

In 2011 we were just 2.5 games out of WC entering the last week and only 4 games back of Texas, yet we blew 25 save opportunities.

 

We have had out struggles offensively, and made moves to improve it.  We have had struggles with out starting pitching and we made moves to improve that.  The one constant variable during our playoff drought is a crappy bullpen.  Hell, we in the bottom 3rd in ERA in our 2009 Division Champion team, yet at least our offense was good enough to get us to the LCS.

 

 

 

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17 blown saves really isn't that much.

 

Remember, a team can be leading 1-0 in say the 7th inning...say CJ Wilson loads the bases with no outs and they call the bullpen for Smith.

 

If he allows even ONE of those runs to score (even if Wilson let them get on), it's a blown save.

 

At least, I think that's how it works.

 

The Red Sox had the 3rd lowest 'save percentage' at 58% and it seemed to work out for them.

Edited by DW711
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17 blown saves really isn't that much.

 

Remember, a team can be leading 1-0 in say the 7th inning...say CJ Wilson loads the bases with no outs and they call the bullpen for Smith.

 

If he allows even ONE of those runs to score (even if Wilson let them get on), it's a blown save.

 

At least, I think that's how it works.

 

The Red Sox had the 3rd lowest 'save percentage' at 58% and it seemed to work out for them.

 

Yes, that is how it works.  I believe Salas letting two runs score in the seventh in our first game against Seattle (Weaver let the runners on) was considered a blown save. What is important is not the number of blown saves, but where we rank.  17 isn't a lot of blown saves, but if are in the bottom third, that means you bull pen is doing poorly relatively to the rest of the league.

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The pitching coach has been the one non-variable during that timeline you presented from 2008-2014.  It's absolutely maddening how he has been able to retain his job with subpar results year after year.  Talent be d@mned.  He can't even groom one pitcher from our minor leagues into a consistent quality reliever.  

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The pitching coach has been the one non-variable during that timeline you presented from 2008-2014.  It's absolutely maddening how he has been able to retain his job with subpar results year after year.  Talent be d@mned.  He can't even groom one pitcher from our minor leagues into a consistent quality reliever.  

 

I usually defend coaches as they are under appreciated and always take the blame for others failures.

 

That being said, I won't argue too much with you.  If the front office believes this is a good bull pen and it isn't, than it has to fall on someone.  Either the GM if f'n up, or the coach.  Jespan for example.  There has to be a reason why he is still on the roster.  The GM obviously see's something that makes it of value to keep him.  Well he still sucks, so that must fall on the coach.

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What those numbers don't show -- offense has been trending down while the ERA has gone up.    Those numbers are uglier than they look.

 

Wow, that is a very good point. Overall offensive numbers have been dropping while our bullpen's ERA has been rising!

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The Angels bullpen has the worst WAR in baseball at -0.8 and their FIP is UGLY at 5.02. Their HR/9 rate of 1.91 is the worst by a huge margin. Just to put that in perspective, Joe Blanton had a 1.97 HR/9 rate last season. 

 

Obviously, the home runs will come down as their 19.6 HR/FB percentage isn't going to keep up but it does look like home runs will be a serious issue for the team. 

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Whether you liked Frankie or not, we haven't been  the same since he left...Shields too....Fuentes had a decent 09 but fell apart late, including the post season....you just have to have some consistency in the pen to win anything....getting a lead is hard, holding a lead late is how you win, a lot (Angels 2002-2009).....

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The one constant you will see with teams that have a good bullpen (the Cards and the Braves, for instance) is that the vast majority of those arms are home-grown. It is useless in real life, as in fantasy, to pay for saves. Instead, the best way to assemble a killer bullpen is to draft young arms and develop them. Over the last few years, we have failed in that latter respect, especially (see Jepsen, Kevin).

 

The Angels actually have good arms on the farm, and we might see some of them this year.

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