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The Bullpen--Beyond Paps and Oki


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#1 drtooth


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Posted 13 April 2008 - 09:12 AM

After a poor performance by Timlin on Friday and the recent departures of Corey and Snyder, what is the status of the pen after Papelbon and Okajima? The current cast.

Manny Delcarmen--Eliminate the Toronto series (actually Frank Thomas), he has been reasonably good.

David Aardsma--Hard thrower that has always had issues with command (59 BB in 101.2 career innings).

Julian Tavarez--Long man. Does anyone want him out there in high leverage situations?

Javier Lopez--A LOOGY that struggled last year vs LHH.

Mike Timlin--One outing may be harsh to judge him on, but what does he have left?

What are the reasonable alternatives and what changes can be made?

#2 RoDaddy

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 09:23 AM

The status of our pen is about as good as I've ever seen . Paps and Oki might be the best bullpen 1-2 in the history of the franchise, and MDC has matured enough to project as one of better RH set-up and sometimes closers around. Yeah, there some questions about the other guys, but every one of them also have the potential for big years with the probable exception of Timlin (age and injuries). Plus, we have Hansen waiting in the wings, and he's been lights out so far. Really - how much more could you ask of a bullpen?

#3 Trautwein's Degree


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Posted 13 April 2008 - 09:40 AM

Delcarmen's 2007 Splits
AB H HR BB SO OPS Against
None On 88 17 3 9 26 0.628
On Base 65 11 1 8 15 0.472


Delcarmen's 2007 data suggests that he was as good if not better with men on than with no runners on base.

Compare Delcarmen's 2007 numbers to that of Mike Timlin:

Timlin's 2007 Splits
AB H HR BB SO OPS Against
None On 116 27 2 6 16 0.613
On Base 82 19 5 8 15 0.72


Timlin gave up more homeruns, walks, and struck out less batters with men on in 34 less batters faced with men on.

I like what Delcarmen brings to this bullpen.

#4 SaveBooFerriss


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Posted 13 April 2008 - 10:09 AM

Delcarmen is not an issue. He'll be fine.

The rest is a big problem.

Tavarez may be done. I hope he is gone when (if) Colon can come back healthy.

Aardsma is interesting, but it is hard to have much confidence.

Lopez is very limited.

I like Timlin better in the post-season then in the regular season.

The Sox have to be looking at Hansen, Pauley, Alvarez, Hull & Masterson very closely. Any of these guys could be better than what the Sox have now.

#5 DJnVa


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Posted 13 April 2008 - 10:22 AM

Gammons was talking about one of the big stories so far this season is how bad bullpens are. He said that through the first week and a half of the season, the NL was at 50% in save percentage, and that every team has questions back there. If you are on board with that, the key to the Sox will obviously be MDC. I would assume everyone is comfortable with Okajima as the 7th/8th inning guy depending on exact match-ups, and if MDC can step up, the Sox will have what a lot of teams don't have--3 guys that you can count on back there.

The guys like Tavarez/Corey/Lopez are the dreck that makes up bullpens all across the league. The obvious key is minimizing the key innings that guys like that have to throw. One of the biggest ways to do this is to have the starters throw strikes (Lester, we're looking at you) and go deeper into games.

#6 ScubaSteveAvery


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Posted 13 April 2008 - 10:59 AM

If Tavarez were to move to the rotation, get hurt, or gets booted off the team, Pauley represents a reasonable option out of the pen. I guess my only concern is that he has virtually no bullpen experience in his body of work in the minors. But last year, in his second year in AAA, he put up encouraging numbers, such as improving his HR/9, K/9, and BB/9 from a year before, while lowering his home run rate to about one per nine innings. I like the fact that he has a sinker that should induce ground balls with runners on and can mix that in with a nice curve. He is off to a great start in Pawtucket this year: 9.1 IP, 0.96 ERA, 7 hits, 2 BB, and a .200 OPP BA.

#7 Montana Fan


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Posted 13 April 2008 - 01:24 PM

Would I be wrong to expect a strong second half ML pen performance from one of Hansen, Masterson, Bowden or even possibly Bard? I think we're OK for now but can expect some BP improvement as the less useful options are weeded out.

I'd also say that Coco's value is going to go up as the season goes on. Perhaps the Sox can grab a good young arm for him in May or June.

#8 jtn46


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Posted 13 April 2008 - 03:25 PM

Man, we're spoiled. In 2006 pitchers by appearances with their ERA in parentheses:

Timlin (4.36)
Papelbon (0.92)
Tavarez (4.71)
Delcarmen (5.06)
Foulke (4.35)
Seanez (4.82)
Hansen (6.63)
Lopez (2.70)

...and so forth. It could be a lot worse than it is right now. At least we have 3 solid guys.

Bard was just transitioned to a reliever and is in A ball. I think we need to wait until next season to consider him. Hansen will become an option, but given his struggles it's wise to wait a couple months so he comes up with a lot of confidence.

#9 PedroSpecialK


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Posted 13 April 2008 - 03:34 PM

I'm pretty confident that Hansen will deserve a call-up by the ASB this year, as he's thrown well in pretty much every outing this year and has really got his strikeout numbers back. By the end of the year, our pen could look like this:

Papelbon
Okajima
Delcarmen
Hansen
Aardsma
Timlin
Lopez/Tavarez

That's one fantastic variety of relievers - a groundballer (Timlin), LOOGY (Lopez), full-inning lefty and righty (Okajima and Delcarmen), and three legitimate power righties in Papelbon, Hansen and Aardsma. The only thing we could be missing is a power lefty - perhaps Alan Embree will be acquired for a second tour at the deadline?

#10 jtn46


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Posted 13 April 2008 - 03:44 PM

The one good thing about the bullpen struggles is that it defines a need. In the offseason the FO likely felt the pen was going to be pretty good, but I'm sure understood that with the volatility of relievers, some of these guys could potentially need replacing. Now if teams start calling about Coco, Theo can look for relievers that would be ahead of Timlin on the pecking order.

#11 PedroSpecialK


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Posted 13 April 2008 - 03:57 PM

Now if teams start calling about Coco, Theo can look for relievers that would be ahead of Timlin on the pecking order.

This is a good point. One trading partner I can definitely see for Crisp is the Cubs. If Pie isn't hitting by June, they may begin to panic. Seeing as Reed Johnson is probably their next best bet in CF, they may be willing to swap some seemingly bad contracts - Eyre + prospect (Josh Donaldson?) for Crisp or something of that nature.

#12 tailwind


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Posted 13 April 2008 - 04:06 PM

That's one fantastic variety of relievers - a groundballer (Timlin), LOOGY (Lopez), full-inning lefty and righty (Okajima and Delcarmen), and three legitimate power righties in Papelbon, Hansen and Aardsma. The only thing we could be missing is a power lefty - perhaps Alan Embree will be acquired for a second tour at the deadline?


I agree with you on Hansen, if he keeps up his numbers he could push himself into the conversation come summer. Regarding Timlin, he isn't a groundball pitcher anymore. As recently as 2005 he had a 1.41 GB/FB ratio, but in 2006 and 2007 it was 0.93 (89 grounds to 96 flies in 2006, 68 grounds to 73 flies in 2007.) If he struggles, it might be time to part ways.

I don't think a power lefty is really necessary with both Lopez and Okajima around. It wouldn't hurt, but I don't think they'd go shopping for one over giving Hansen a chance unless an irresistable deal was put on the table.

#13 templeUsox


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Posted 13 April 2008 - 04:18 PM

I'd be pretty shocked if we didn't see Masterson in the pen, by August at the latest. Even disregarding the fact that a lot of people think he will end up as a reliever, it's really not a leap to think his stuff can help a major league pen right now.

Personally, I'd like to overhaul the entire back half of the pen mid-season by getting rid of Lopez, Timlin and Tavarez and replacing them with Hansen, Richardson, and Masterson.

Practically, it won't happen. Timlin is Tito's binky and he would never show up a veteran of Timlin's ilk by burying him in the back of the pen. But I have serious doubts about whether he can be more effective than Masterson or to a lesser extent Hansen.

#14 tailwind


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Posted 13 April 2008 - 04:23 PM

I'd be pretty shocked if we didn't see Masterson in the pen, by August at the latest. Even disregarding the fact that a lot of people think he will end up as a reliever, it's really not a leap to think his stuff can help a major league pen right now.

Personally, I'd like to overhaul the entire back half of the pen mid-season by getting rid of Lopez, Timlin and Tavarez and replacing them with Hansen, Richardson, and Masterson.

Practically, it won't happen. Timlin is Tito's binky and he would never show up a veteran of Timlin's ilk by burying him in the back of the pen. But I have serious doubts about whether he can be more effective than Masterson or to a lesser extent Hansen.


Richardson? Getting a little ahead of yourself, don't you think?

Timlin is hardly Tito's binky. It was the wrong move to bring him in the Yankee game (which is easy to say now, after the fact,) but if he keeps getting shelled, he's not going to continue to be thrown out there with all of the other quality arms we have. Tavarez isn't going anywhere, the team values his flexibility, plus the fact he's the only guy in the pen that can semi-reliably handle long work. I doubt the team would want to go to war in the playoffs with that many rookies in the 'pen unless it's absolutely necessary, stunting the growth and development of those guys is the last thing the Sox want.

As it stands, Hansen's name is only being brought up because he's in AAA and looks fairly ready.

#15 templeUsox


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Posted 13 April 2008 - 04:31 PM

Richardson? Getting a little ahead of yourself, don't you think?

Timlin is hardly Tito's binky. It was the wrong move to bring him in the Yankee game (which is easy to say now, after the fact,) but if he keeps getting shelled, he's not going to continue to be thrown out there with all of the other quality arms we have. Tavarez isn't going anywhere, the team values his flexibility, plus the fact he's the only guy in the pen that can semi-reliably handle long work. I doubt the team would want to go to war in the playoffs with that many rookies in the 'pen unless it's absolutely necessary, stunting the growth and development of those guys is the last thing the Sox want.

As it stands, Hansen's name is only being brought up because he's in AAA and looks fairly ready.

I'm not getting ahead of myself. If you don't know about your own team's farm system, it's cool, but playing the patron saint of major league drek role doesn't really get us anywhere. I'd much prefer taking talent and ability to the playoffs then experience and Veteran Presence. That's might just be me though. I do like the throwaway line about stunting player's growth though. I mean, it's never been proven, and most many successful major league starting pitchers have contributed from the pen early in their career, but hey, the argument was worth a shot, right?

#16 tailwind


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Posted 13 April 2008 - 11:54 PM

I'm not getting ahead of myself. If you don't know about your own team's farm system, it's cool, but playing the patron saint of major league drek role doesn't really get us anywhere. I'd much prefer taking talent and ability to the playoffs then experience and Veteran Presence. That's might just be me though. I do like the throwaway line about stunting player's growth though. I mean, it's never been proven, and most many successful major league starting pitchers have contributed from the pen early in their career, but hey, the argument was worth a shot, right?


Thanks for the attempted insult on my knowledge of the system, but I know our young guys. Richardson is far from the majors, there's not a chance in hell he ends the year in our bullpen. You are getting way ahead of yourself.

Talent and ability don't get you jack shit if you rush every single player you have with those aforementioned two traits to the majors without seasoning them first (see Hansen and Delcarmen, 2005.) You show me a team that brings up every young player they've got on a whim who shows a flash, and I'll show you a team that continually destroys their reserves of young talent.

Edited by tailwind, 13 April 2008 - 11:55 PM.


#17 NYCSox


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Posted 14 April 2008 - 12:02 AM

Yeah, Richardson is a stretch this season. Hansen will be up for sure as long as he has no hiccups in AAA and Masterson should make it by the end of July/early August.

#18 templeUsox


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Posted 14 April 2008 - 12:02 AM

Thanks for the attempted insult on my knowledge of the system, but I know our young guys. Richardson is far from the majors, there's not a chance in hell he ends the year in our bullpen. You are getting way ahead of yourself.

Talent and ability don't get you jack shit if you rush every single player you have with those aforementioned two traits to the majors without seasoning them first (see Hansen and Delcarmen, 2005.) You show me a team that brings up every young player they've got on a whim who shows a flash, and I'll show you a team that continually destroys their reserves of young talent.

Richardson is not far, far away from the majors. If he was, he would not have been asked to this year's Rookie Development Program, a program specifically reserved for players with a chance to make the show in the next calender season. Anyone who begins the year in double-A is fodder for discussion about helping out on the big league level. Additionally, it has come to my attention recently that the Sox "are very high on him."

Masterson is clearly ahead of where Papelbon was the year he made his major league debut. Prior to that year, Papelbon had ended the season at high-A. Last year, Masterson ended the year with 60 IP in Portland. It goes without saying that Hansen has been on the cusp of the majors for a while. And w/r/t to Richardson, well the Sox actions speaker louder than your words.

#19 TomRicardo


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Posted 14 April 2008 - 12:18 AM

Thanks for the attempted insult on my knowledge of the system, but I know our young guys. Richardson is far from the majors, there's not a chance in hell he ends the year in our bullpen. You are getting way ahead of yourself.

Talent and ability don't get you jack shit if you rush every single player you have with those aforementioned two traits to the majors without seasoning them first (see Hansen and Delcarmen, 2005.) You show me a team that brings up every young player they've got on a whim who shows a flash, and I'll show you a team that continually destroys their reserves of young talent.


I would be shocked to see Richardson before September. I think the Red Sox are serious about giving the kid 150 IP this season as he is the fourth best pitching prospect in Red Sox minor league system (fifth if Buchholz comes down when Colon is ready). Lopez and Timlin should be the next two on the cuitting block. Masterson and Hansen will probably be there replacements though I think it could be just Hansen moving up and Lopez staying in the pen. I also really think the Red Sox want Masterson to pitch 180 IP. I think they truly see him as a starter. It is not too much of a stretch seeing Masterson in Pawtucket in June and July and making a spot start or two in September becoming the fifth starter next year. Of course that really depends on his change up and seeing if he continue to pitch well moving deeper into games. He has jumped Bowden at this point.

I really can't see how you can justify Timlin srtaying in the pen with so much talent behind him and him pitching so poorly.

#20 TheYellowDart5


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Posted 14 April 2008 - 12:24 AM

I really can't see how you can justify Timlin srtaying in the pen with so much talent behind him and him pitching so poorly.

No doubt he's pitched awfully in his two appearances so far, but does anyone really believe that Timlin's not going to get a ton of chances to work things out?

I'm pretty much convinced that the only way Timiln doesn't finish the year on the active roster is if he suffers a season-ending injury between now and then.

#21 SoxScout


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Posted 14 April 2008 - 12:57 AM

I think Richardson is the player I would most like to see the organizational reports on. I want to know the true development of his curve and change-up over the 170 innings he has pitched since joining the system. Hazen says, "He still has to work on developing some consistency to secondary stuff".... I want to know what that really means.

His GB% has been steady around 45% and he has shown no problem striking people out, presumably, with his fastball. But he is 24 years old and just reaching AA. He is the type of player to take a chance with.

If he continues pitching well I hope his placement in AA is reassessed sooner rather than later. His makeup seems to be exceptional and his past shows he can deal with pressure. Come the middle of June or so, I would be interested to see him bumped to Pawtucket to pitch out of the pen in 2 and 3 inning stints every few days.

If he can throw strikes and get lefties to swing and miss, that would be real nice.

Edited by SoxScout, 14 April 2008 - 01:00 AM.


#22 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 14 April 2008 - 08:19 AM

I really can't see how you can justify Timlin srtaying in the pen with so much talent behind him and him pitching so poorly.


Jeez, isn't two games still a pretty small sample? Are you calling for Papi to be released too?

Timlin has looked awful in his two outings, but it's just that. He was excellent last year, so I'm not sure why the Sox should panic and cut bait at this point.

I know that folks have been clamoring for Timlin to be dumped for years, but I'd give him more than two outings against the Yankees. He had a 3.42 ERA and 1.05 WHIP last year.

#23 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 14 April 2008 - 08:28 AM

Jeez, isn't two games still a pretty small sample? Are you calling for Papi to be released too?

Timlin has looked awful in his two outings, but it's just that. He was excellent last year, so I'm not sure why the Sox should panic and cut bait at this point.

I know that folks have been clamoring for Timlin to be dumped for years, but I'd give him more than two outings against the Yankees. He had a 3.42 ERA and 1.05 WHIP last year.

I wouldn't call Timlin "excellent" last year; he really had two distinct seasons in 2007 along with a DL stint. He went on the DL in May, and on June 25 his ERA was 6.48. He was pretty terrible for 1/2 the year, and then was excellent for the second half of the year.

He may not be fully healed from his finger injury, or maybe it's another slow start for a guy who's 42 years old. He does bear watching.

#24 URI


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Posted 14 April 2008 - 08:31 AM

Jeez, isn't two games still a pretty small sample? Are you calling for Papi to be released too?


Yes, because David Ortiz's situation is the same as Mike Timlin's.

#25 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 14 April 2008 - 08:34 AM

I wouldn't call Timlin "excellent" last year; he really had two distinct seasons in 2007 along with a DL stint. He went on the DL in May, and on June 25 his ERA was 6.48. He was pretty terrible for 1/2 the year, and then was excellent for the second half of the year.

He may not be fully healed from his finger injury, or maybe it's another slow start for a guy who's 42 years old. He does bear watching.

Agreed, of course he bears watching. But overall, he had a good year last year, particuly in the second half (2.09 ERA last 34 outings) and cutting him after two games would be pretty short sighted, I think. I wouldn't be pitching him in a tight spot right now(although I'm not really sure Aardsma and his walk rate is ready for those spots, either) but I wouldn't get rid of him based on his first two outings of the year.

Yes, because David Ortiz's situation is the same as Mike Timlin's.


Point being that what we've seen right now is defined as a small sample size. Sometimes two games of suck is just that, sometimes its not. Would you release timlin right now?

Edited by Rudy Pemberton, 14 April 2008 - 08:37 AM.


#26 URI


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Posted 14 April 2008 - 08:37 AM

Point being that what we've seen right now is defined as a small sample size, you know this. You told me all about last May when I wondered what was up with Drew and Lugo!


The point being that Timlin is a 42 year old reliever who has available replacements under Red Sox control, and Ortiz is 32, and there are no available replacements who can match his production. Also the stats that you mentioned...ERA and WHIP, are pretty useless in assessing relief pitching. Timlin let everyone else's runners score last year.

I mean, I understood your sample size point, and I agree with it, but this isn't a political campaign. Try showing some intellectual honesty.

#27 Kevin Youkulele


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Posted 14 April 2008 - 08:44 AM

The point being that Timlin is a 42 year old reliever who has available replacements under Red Sox control, and Ortiz is 32, and there are no available replacements who can match his production. Also the stats that you mentioned...ERA and WHIP, are pretty useless in assessing relief pitching. Timlin let everyone else's runners score last year.

I mean, I understood your sample size point, and I agree with it, but this isn't a political campaign. Try showing some intellectual honesty.

WHIP is useless in assessing relief pitching? It doesn't give you the whole picture, sure, but how often a reliever lets guys get on base seems like a pretty good metric.

#28 URI


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Posted 14 April 2008 - 09:02 AM

WHIP is useless in assessing relief pitching? It doesn't give you the whole picture, sure, but how often a reliever lets guys get on base seems like a pretty good metric.


Without getting into an argument about this, WHIP is a fantasy baseball creation that is dependent on the defense, and leaves out HBP, which is small, but important. It's also not on scale with the other main pitching stats.

(H+BB+HBP)/IP*9...all the numbers are easy to find and calculate, and it actually tells you how many guys the reliever gets on base.

#29 Crazy Puppy

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 10:13 AM

Timlin let everyone else's runners score last year.

Not really. He had a problem with that in 2005 when he let 18 of 32 inherited runners score, but last year he allowed 6 of 25 to score, which is nothing special, but not awful either. Papelbon allowed 5 of 19 inherited runners to score last year.

#30 URI


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Posted 14 April 2008 - 10:15 AM

Not really. He had a problem with that in 2005 when he let 18 of 32 inherited runners score, but last year he allowed 6 of 25 to score, which is nothing special, but not awful either. Papelbon allowed 5 of 19 inherited runners to score last year.


I didn't say that as an absolute. I said it to show why ERA isn't very useful for relievers, sorry about being unclear.

#31 yecul


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Posted 14 April 2008 - 10:27 AM

Right now the problem with Timlin is that Francona's tendencies and the available pitchers have placed him in positions to fail.

He needs to get some Tavarez innings to get back in form. He just came off the DL and had, what, 2 rehab appearances? Maybe 3?

Timlin vs Aardsma will be an interesting small battle for the 4th spot.

#32 xjack


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Posted 14 April 2008 - 11:06 AM

What I like about the back end of this bullpen is that all these guys are expendable, contract-wise, if they don't perform. Aardsma may live up to his early potential. Timlin may well round into form. Same with Tavarez. And Javier Lopez could eventually justify the FO's odd attachment to him.

But if these guys falter, the Sox have good options. In PAW, there's Craig Hansen (0.00 ERA in 7.1 innings) and Abe Alvarez (.091 BA-against in his new LOOGY role). And by June or July, they may be able to call on Justin Masterson (0.00 ERA, 10/0 k/bb ratio in 9 innings in Portland) or Daniel Bard (0.00 ERA, 10/1 k/bb ratio in 7 innings in Greenville).

What the Sox won't have to do is trade for some overpriced middle reliever who's strung together 25 good innings in Pittsburgh or Washington or Texas.

#33 mabrowndog


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Posted 14 April 2008 - 11:21 AM

I wouldn't call Timlin "excellent" last year; he really had two distinct seasons in 2007 along with a DL stint. He went on the DL in May, and on June 25 his ERA was 6.48. He was pretty terrible for 1/2 the year, and then was excellent for the second half of the year.

He may not be fully healed from his finger injury, or maybe it's another slow start for a guy who's 42 years old. He does bear watching.

This is 100% correct. And because last year Timlin's Mr. Hyde came before his Mr. Jekyll, I'm optimistic that he can be effective again this year. I'm certainly not in any rush to ditch his ass in favor of some unproven minor leaguer simply because they've got loftier early-season numbers against inferior competition.

Timlin's 2007 mid-season splits, taken in context, are quite telling. URI's correct -- you can't just use ERA and WHIP as analytical tools. Inherited runners are, indeed, a HUGE part of reliever assessments, and are completely ignored by conventional stats. (FWIW, in the table below I included HBP in the WHIP calculation.)

.			  G   IP   ER   ERA   BF   H  2B  3B  HR   BAA   OBP   SLG	OPS   K  BB  HB  WHIP  K/BB  IR  IS  IR%  IR/G
4/10 - 6/26   16  16.7  12  6.48   75  23   2   1   5  .338  .384  .618  1.001   9   5   0  1.68  1.80   4   3  75%  .240
6/26 - 9/30   34  38.7   9  2.09  147  23   3   0   2  .177  .243  .246   .489  22   9   3  0.91  2.44  21   3  14%  .543
Sorry, but I have a hard time believing that a 41-year-old who pitched as well as Timlin did from 6/26 to 9/30 has magically morphed 6 months later into a 42-year-old cauldron of bubbling suck. Hitters couldn't do shit against him. Most improtantly, check out the inherited runner data at far right. I added the IR/G column to measure Tito's confidence to bring in Timlin for leverage situations. It's pretty clear that as Timlin sacked up, Tito's fears subsided.

And let's not forget his postseason, when a Garko bloop over Lugo's head in ALCS Game 1, and a bunt single and a roller up the middle in WS Game 3 were the only damage done against him in 5.2 IP. Okajima's HR to Holliday allowed those latter two runs to score, giving Timlin his shiny 7.71 World Series ERA -- a perfect illustration of why this stat tells very little about reliever performance. Timlin whiffed 7 of the 20 guys he faced and stranded all 5 of the runners he inherited.

Yes, his age is a concern and he bears close watching. But his velocity is fine. His mechanics are fine. His health, cut finger aside, is fine and he keeps himself in great physical shape. His issues right now are 100% centered on location and command, which are correctable flaws. They might well be an artifact of having just as f'd up a spring training regimen as anyone else on the team. Tito's confidence in him was rewarded last season and Timlin played a crucial role in the team's championship run. I see no reason to expect otherwise.

Edited by mabrowndog, 14 April 2008 - 02:23 PM.


#34 sibpin

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 11:16 PM

Keep in mind that WHIP and opponent OBP are different statistics - again by a "small" measure. (H+BB+HBP)/IP*9 is not the same as OBP because IP includes double plays, caught stealing, etc. as outs whereas OBP only counts plate appearance outs.

I enjoy Win Probability Added as a measure of relief performance, and gathered data from Fangraphs based on WPA. Adding players' WPA together shows their overall contribution to the winning effort over the season. In pitchers' cases, it shows what happened while they were pitching (and is thus dependent on fielders). Would WPA per game be a valid statistic to measure? It could show the rate at which players contribute. It does not necessarily identify the "best" reliever - WPA naturally weights by situation, so it highlights who's the most effective reliever in his given role.

Here's a look at cumulative relief records for members of the Sox from 2003 on, including today and all the postseason games. I think that time period is useful to look at (in terms of evaluating bullpen performance - not necessarily what to expect moving forward) for two main reasons: 1) It's the entire Theo era and 2) It's the entire Timlin era. I've limited it to just pitchers who pitched 10 relief games - Wakefield pitched 8 times in relief during this period and would have ranked second here with 6.13%.

WPA per Relief Appearance, 2003-2008

RkPitcherTotal WPAGamesWPA per Game
1Papelbon11.511477.83%
2Okajima3.72814.59%
3Kim, B1.62493.31%
4Corey0.89312.87%
5Romero0.48232.09%
6Donnelly0.47271.74%
7Williamson0.91601.52%
8Timlin5.533761.47%
9Foulke2.491701.46%
10Jones, T0.3271.11%
11Myers, M0.82960.85%
12Van Buren0.07100.70%
13Lopez, J0.67990.68%
14Bradford0.14330.42%
15Embree0.711980.36%
16Delcarmen0.361180.31%
17Malaska0.02190.11%
18Schilling0210.00%
19Gonzalez, J-0.0326-0.12%
20Shiell-0.0617-0.35%
21DiNardo-0.1936-0.53%
22Mendoza-0.3661-0.59%
23Adams, T-0.219-1.05%
24Leskanic-0.3735-1.06%
25Snyder-0.7154-1.31%
26Halama-0.4129-1.41%
27Mantei-0.534-1.47%
28Tavarez-1.1667-1.73%
29Martinez, A-0.211-1.82%
30Breslow-0.2613-2.00%
31Sauerbeck-0.5827-2.15%
32Pineiro-0.7831-2.52%
33Lyon-1.3849-2.82%
34Arroyo-0.6421-3.05%
35Hansen-1.5542-3.69%
36Seanez-2.4650-4.92%
37Fox-1.117-6.47%
38Gagne-1.6925-6.76%


Nice to see Corey's efforts rank very highly here - again, 2004-06 Foulke would probably be a better choice for the ninth inning than 2006-08 Corey, but proof that he's doing the job he's asked to do.

Edited by sibpin, 14 April 2008 - 11:22 PM.


#35 sfip


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Posted 15 April 2008 - 08:49 AM

I've written a little piece in my SoSHBlog about why I wouldn't recommend using ERA for a middle reliever. There's a bug in SoSH that won't let me link to just the blog entry itself, but it's currently the first entry that shows when you click on the link. I'm no sabermetrician in any way, shape or form, so you don't need to be a sabermetrician to understand the entry. Yes I'm plugging my SoSHBlog, but I don't get (or intend to get) anything for people clicking on it. It's meant to be a reference site for SoSHers.

#36 Frisbetarian


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Posted 15 April 2008 - 02:39 PM

Adding on to Dog's breakdown of Timlin's 2007. I wrote this originally when the Sox signed Timlin to a one year deal back in December and believe it is relevant here.

<<Timlin had an interesting 2007. On June 25th he had a 6.48 ERA, and had struck out only 9 batters (5.2K/9), while allowing 23 hits, and walking 5 in 15 2/3 innings. He had also allowed an equal number of fly balls and ground balls after a career of being an extreme ground ball pitcher (with an almost 2-1 ratio). Things looked grim and there was talk of him just hanging on to get his 1000th appearance.

Timlin then went on a 22 game streak that lasted through August 31st where he allowed only 3 earned runs in 28 2/3 innings, lowering his ERA to 2.78. He allowed no runs in 21 of those games, and the opposition managed only 13 hits and 3 walks in that span. His K/9 over that stretch was only 4.1 (13 K's in 28 2/3 innings), however, and his ground ball/fly ball ratio stayed about even. It was noted by many on the board that quite a few of his outs during this streak seemed to be hard hit balls, and the suspicion was that Timlin would not sustain this level of pitching for much longer.

Interestingly, however, Timlin actually seemed to get stronger and throw harder in September and October, with perhaps the rest SJH alluded to being a major factor. In the last two months including playoffs, Timlin threw 15 innings and allowed just 9 hits, 3 walks, while striking out 16 batters, 9.6K/9, a huge leap from his late June through late August streak. His gb/fb ratio did stay even, however.>>

The guy is 42 and, as others have noted, the Sox really have to keep a close eye for more frequent nagging injuries that heal slower and effect performance. Still I have to agree with MBD (and others) that there is little chance this guy just magically "lost it" over the off season. If he can stay reasonably healthy, I expect Mike Timlin to contribute to what could be a very good Red Sox bullpen.

#37 DJnVa


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Posted 17 April 2008 - 09:40 PM

According to Gammons tonight, Hansen may soon be on his way to Fenway---thinks he may be able to help stabilize the Sox pen, not as a mop up guy.

#38 flymrfreakjar

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 09:56 PM

According to Gammons tonight, Hansen may soon be on his way to Fenway---thinks he may be able to help stabilize the Sox pen, not as a mop up guy.


To expand on that he said Hansen's early success was because he's rediscovered his old delivery and is back to throwing 96-97 with good sink. He also said his slider was back to where it used to be. He's also Peter Gammons so who knows.

#39 Rough Carrigan


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Posted 18 April 2008 - 07:58 AM

I wonder if we'll ever get the real story about how much the coaching he got from Scott Boras Inc. got him out of that old delivery that he's just now rediscovered.

#40 Green Monster

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 08:40 AM

I know with Gammons it can be difficult to tell, but for those that heard his comments; was Gammons saying that Hansen is pitching so well he wouldn't be surprised if he was called up or that a transaction is imminent (ie Timlin to the DL)?

#41 Kevin Youkulele


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Posted 18 April 2008 - 08:44 AM

I know with Gammons it can be difficult to tell, but for those that heard his comments; was Gammons saying that Hansen is pitching so well he wouldn't be surprised if he was called up or that a transaction is imminent (ie Timlin to the DL)?

It was more in the "he's pitching well so I think they'll call him up soon" vein, and there was no mention of replacing Timlin or anyone else.

#42 Hairps

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Posted 20 April 2008 - 08:09 PM

The Red Sox are also considering bringing up right-hander Craig Hansen from Class Triple-A Pawtucket in an attempt to bolster their sagging bullpen

http://www.baseballp...?articleid=7394