Building a Bullpen, 2019 edition

reggiecleveland

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The Red Sox are league average in allowing home runs. The MLB ave is 72; the Sox have allowed 71. NL teams have allowed an league average of 69, which you'd expect actually to be lower because of facing basically eight-hitter lineups.

The Red Sox have not had a problem "keeping the ball in the park." Every team has.
This is like complaining the Cs give up more 3s than they used t or that the Pats can't stop the pass anymore, and the Bruins don't fight as much.
 

Adrian's Dome

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Brasier has been a lot longer than a week and has cliff dived. He’s not close to above average right now, and should probably be optioned to figure things out. Workman, Walden and Hembree are very solid 6th-7th inning guys and we have one elite late inning arm in Barnes. It’s not as bad as it’s looked the last week, but needs at least one late inning elite guy to take the pressure off Barnes. I’d be stunned if DD didn’t make a substantial move.
Prepare to be stunned.

This board's entire expectation of what a good bullpen is is completely out of whack. You generally do not go into a season with multiple elite-level arms, nor is it normal to expect that kind of performance.

The unit as a whole has performed wonderfully, especially given how much they've been leaned on. Furthermore, yes, Brasier is struggling at the moment. Slumps happen. One thing a GM should not do is panic and overreact to small sample sizes, unless you really believe that Hembree is now one of the best relievers in the majors and Brasier one of the worst given the past couple weeks.

If anyone suggested displacing Xander and shaking up the entire lineup because he hit .130 for a couple weeks they'd be laughed off the board, but a couple bad pen games and now we're scrambling to figure out what moves to make?
 

AB in DC

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I mostly agree with Adrian's Dome, but are you seriously comparing Ryan Brasier to Xander Bogaerts??

There is a non-zero probably that Brasier was a flash in the pan and will not come anywhere close to his numbers again. Lots of people have great rookie seasons but never quite pan out.
 

Adrian's Dome

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I mostly agree with Adrian's Dome, but are you seriously comparing Ryan Brasier to Xander Bogaerts??

There is a non-zero probably that Brasier was a flash in the pan and will not come anywhere close to his numbers again. Lots of people have great rookie seasons but never quite pan out.
The point of the comparison isn't that they're equivalent players. The point is to not overreact to SSS and that no player is immune to slumps. We've seen even the best players look like garbage for weeks at a time.
 

joe dokes

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I mostly agree with Adrian's Dome, but are you seriously comparing Ryan Brasier to Xander Bogaerts??

There is a non-zero probably that Brasier was a flash in the pan and will not come anywhere close to his numbers again. Lots of people have great rookie seasons but never quite pan out.
Given what his numbers were last season, its likely that he *wont* repeat them. But there's a pretty wide swath of "good" between "otherworldy" and "DFA now."
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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Prepare to be stunned.

This board's entire expectation of what a good bullpen is is completely out of whack. You generally do not go into a season with multiple elite-level arms, nor is it normal to expect that kind of performance.

The unit as a whole has performed wonderfully, especially given how much they've been leaned on. Furthermore, yes, Brasier is struggling at the moment. Slumps happen. One thing a GM should not do is panic and overreact to small sample sizes, unless you really believe that Hembree is now one of the best relievers in the majors and Brasier one of the worst given the past couple weeks.

If anyone suggested displacing Xander and shaking up the entire lineup because he hit .130 for a couple weeks they'd be laughed off the board, but a couple bad pen games and now we're scrambling to figure out what moves to make?
Agreed...but this isn't exactly the first time this season the bullpen questions have been raised. Everyone is saying, "they're the 5th best pen in the AL! Why change anything?" And if there was a guarantee it would stay that way or improve, I'd be joining the chorus to stand pat. But there isn't and right now they do not seem to have one reliable arm that can get the final three outs except for, probably, Matt Barnes. But when he's being deployed to get someone out of a jam in the 7th or 8th and they have to spin the wheel of remaining relief pitchers to see who gets the save op (if there is one) or who gets to close out the game if it's relatively close. That's where the concern lies. Two nights ago, the Indians made it closer game than it should have been in what was ultimately a bit of a lopsided win. Last night, they scored 7 runs in the final two innings against THREE different pitchers (none of them named Matt Barnes) despite having miserable offensive numbers in what was a crushing loss that they really couldn't afford to take.

So, okay, it was a bump in the road and the numbers say it should be fine moving forward... what happens if it isn't? What number of games or losses or games back in the standings is the magic number for taking action if action needs to be taken? The thought that I've seen is that they're in the playoffs right now (in May, 4 full months and change before the season actually ends) and that there's no need to act until that changes. So when does it change enough for people to start worrying? When the pen is 7th? 10th? After they've fallen 12 games back or more? When they drop below .500 by 5 or more games? When do they make the move? Because I would argue that the time to act is BEFORE it gets to the point of desperation, which would seem to be right about now. And even if the pen is solid, what harm is there in getting better if the option is available? I don't understand people's reticence in addressing an issue that has a few question marks surrounding it.
 

Adrian's Dome

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Agreed...but this isn't exactly the first time this season the bullpen questions have been raised. Everyone is saying, "they're the 5th best pen in the AL! Why change anything?" And if there was a guarantee it would stay that way or improve, I'd be joining the chorus to stand pat. But there isn't and right now they do not seem to have one reliable arm that can get the final three outs except for, probably, Matt Barnes. But when he's being deployed to get someone out of a jam in the 7th or 8th and they have to spin the wheel of remaining relief pitchers to see who gets the save op (if there is one) or who gets to close out the game if it's relatively close. That's where the concern lies. Two nights ago, the Indians made it closer game than it should have been in what was ultimately a bit of a lopsided win. Last night, they scored 7 runs in the final two innings against THREE different pitchers (none of them named Matt Barnes) despite having miserable offensive numbers in what was a crushing loss that they really couldn't afford to take.

So, okay, it was a bump in the road and the numbers say it should be fine moving forward... what happens if it isn't? What number of games or losses or games back in the standings is the magic number for taking action if action needs to be taken? The thought that I've seen is that they're in the playoffs right now (in May, 4 full months and change before the season actually ends) and that there's no need to act until that changes. So when does it change enough for people to start worrying? When the pen is 7th? 10th? After they've fallen 12 games back or more? When they drop below .500 by 5 or more games? When do they make the move? Because I would argue that the time to act is BEFORE it gets to the point of desperation, which would seem to be right about now. And even if the pen is solid, what harm is there in getting better if the option is available? I don't understand people's reticence in addressing an issue that has a few question marks surrounding it.
You act as if the point of desperation for the unit is an absolute certainty.

I think a blip in the road is far more likely than THE SKY IS FALLING, but hey, to each their own.
 

E5 Yaz

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You act as if the point of desperation for the unit is an absolute certainty.

I think a blip in the road is far more likely than THE SKY IS FALLING, but hey, to each their own.
Maybe we should trade Devers for a reliever ... because of his slow start and all
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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You act as if the point of desperation for the unit is an absolute certainty.

I think a blip in the road is far more likely than THE SKY IS FALLING, but hey, to each their own.
You or the snarky post after yours still haven't addressed the main question I've asked: when do they act if it turns out to not be a blip in the road?

I'm guessing neither of you were Boy Scouts because you don't seem to understand that you prepare for the worst and hope for the best instead of just the latter. Thankfully, neither of you are running this team.

So I'll ask again, and maybe get a real answer this time:

When do they act if these recent issues persist? I'm not saying the sky is falling but there's definitely been some random debris hitting the ground lately.

Heck, I'll rephrase the question: are you comfortable with this bullpen, as presently constituted, in the postseason in 5- and 7-game series against teams that are likely to have finished with better records?
 

BaseballJones

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You or the snarky post after yours still haven't addressed the main question I've asked: when do they act if it turns out to not be a blip in the road?

I'm guessing neither of you were Boy Scouts because you don't seem to understand that you prepare for the worst and hope for the best instead of just the latter. Thankfully, neither of you are running this team.

So I'll ask again, and maybe get a real answer this time:

When do they act if these recent issues persist? I'm not saying the sky is falling but there's definitely been some random debris hitting the ground lately.

Heck, I'll rephrase the question: are you comfortable with this bullpen, as presently constituted, in the postseason in 5- and 7-game series against teams that are likely to have finished with better records?
I’m actually much more comfortable in that situation than I am now because in that kind of a series they can (a) ride their top arms a lot more, and (b) get key help from starters.

In other words... last year’s formula, which worked pretty damned well.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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I’m actually much more comfortable in that situation than I am now because in that kind of a series they can (a) ride their top arms a lot more, and (b) get key help from starters.
Yes, but those guys in the pen will eventually have to pitch the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings (possibly beyond) of some of those games. Unless they are all blowouts where they're just in to mop up (which seems unlikely), they're going to be facing good teams in close games and will have to get big outs. Why not give them some reinforcements if possible, especially since they are down two guys from the bullpen that did so well last postseason?
 

Adrian's Dome

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You or the snarky post after yours still haven't addressed the main question I've asked: when do they act if it turns out to not be a blip in the road?

I'm guessing neither of you were Boy Scouts because you don't seem to understand that you prepare for the worst and hope for the best instead of just the latter. Thankfully, neither of you are running this team.

So I'll ask again, and maybe get a real answer this time:

When do they act if these recent issues persist? I'm not saying the sky is falling but there's definitely been some random debris hitting the ground lately.

Heck, I'll rephrase the question: are you comfortable with this bullpen, as presently constituted, in the postseason in 5- and 7-game series against teams that are likely to have finished with better records?
It's because your entire overly-wordy posts are ridiculous. There is no reason to expect the worst-case scenario that the entire bullpen is going to collapse upon itself like a fucking neutron star.

Yes, I am comfortable with the bullpen given they're the unit that has 1. been consistently good and 2. outperformed all expectations, unlike the offense and the starting pitching.

Lastly, since you don't seem to have much knowledge on how these things tend to work, they have other possible internal candidates to help in relief down the road, and the playoffs are a completely different ballgame in which someone unlikely can very easily be the hero (Mr. Joe Kelly and his 8.8 ERA this season says hello.)

It is not worth it to overreact to SSS and to pay premiums for relievers when it is entirely unnecessary, and since that has to be explained to you, I'm glad you're the one not running the team.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Who are they trading Dalbec for, who fits their payroll situation? It's a great 50% solution to find an asset to trade, but if you can't tell us who will give us that quality relief guy we can afford for Dalbec then you don't have a solution.

And anyone suggesting we should trade Benintendi for a RP when we are already tied for the WC just isn't thinking this thru.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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It's because your entire overly-wordy posts are ridiculous. There is no reason to expect the worst-case scenario that the entire bullpen is going to collapse upon itself like a fucking neutron star.

Yes, I am comfortable with the bullpen given they're the unit that has 1. been consistently good and 2. outperformed all expectations, unlike the offense and the starting pitching.

Lastly, since you don't seem to have much knowledge on how these things tend to work, they have other possible internal candidates to help in relief down the road, and the playoffs are a completely different ballgame in which someone unlikely can very easily be the hero (Mr. Joe Kelly and his 8.8 ERA this season says hello.)

It is not worth it to overreact to SSS and to pay premiums for relievers when it is entirely unnecessary, and since that has to be explained to you, I'm glad you're the one not running the team.
Believe me, I am too because it seems like a thankless job. Your Pollyanna act is ridiculous too.

And thank you for still failing to answer the question I posed to you so you could pick on my posting style and your perception of my knowledge base. Obviously they have people waiting in the wings (Feltman being the most obvious), but no one has suggested calling any of them up yet for some reason. And Joe Kelly was really good during the regular season as well, which was why his postseason heroics were not a complete shock, so that's not the best example.

It appears we're at an impasse here, so I'll have this be my last word on the subject to you. You appear convinced that the way things are will not change, so clearly your solution is to do nothing and wait for these relievers who have been struggling to suddenly remember they are great arms and get everybody out from here through Game 162 and beyond. I'll sit back and wait for that to happen and if it doesn't, I'll just assume it's a hallucination since Adrian's Dome told me the pen will be fine.

Who are they trading Dalbec for, who fits their payroll situation? It's a great 50% solution to find an asset to trade, but if you can't tell us who will give us that quality relief guy we can afford for Dalbec then you don't have a solution.

And anyone suggesting we should trade Benintendi for a RP when we are already tied for the WC just isn't thinking this thru.
They were two names that came to mind, not the definitive list. And my question wasn't so much who they should get as when they should make a determination if someone did need to be brought in.
 

joe dokes

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Believe me, I am too because it seems like a thankless job. Your Pollyanna act is ridiculous too.

And thank you for still failing to answer the question I posed to you so you could pick on my posting style and your perception of my knowledge base. Obviously they have people waiting in the wings (Feltman being the most obvious), but no one has suggested calling any of them up yet for some reason. And Joe Kelly was really good during the regular season as well, which was why his postseason heroics were not a complete shock, so that's not the best example.
.
.

Joe Kelly 2018 was really good in April, May and August. He was really shitty in June, July and September. So if being "really good at some point in the season" is the requirement, then the Sox have it covered already because a bunch of those guys have been really good so far.

Durbin Feltman is getting his ass kicked in 2019. He's not "waiting in the wings" for anything at the moment.
 

Adrian's Dome

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Believe me, I am too because it seems like a thankless job. Your Pollyanna act is ridiculous too.

And thank you for still failing to answer the question I posed to you so you could pick on my posting style and your perception of my knowledge base. Obviously they have people waiting in the wings (Feltman being the most obvious), but no one has suggested calling any of them up yet for some reason. And Joe Kelly was really good during the regular season as well, which was why his postseason heroics were not a complete shock, so that's not the best example.

It appears we're at an impasse here, so I'll have this be my last word on the subject to you. You appear convinced that the way things are will not change, so clearly your solution is to do nothing and wait for these relievers who have been struggling to suddenly remember they are great arms and get everybody out from here through Game 162 and beyond. I'll sit back and wait for that to happen and if it doesn't, I'll just assume it's a hallucination since Adrian's Dome told me the pen will be fine.



They were two names that came to mind, not the definitive list. And my question wasn't so much who they should get as when they should make a determination if someone did need to be brought in.
Yes, when the unit has been consistently good, the proper course of action is to do nothing.

Glad you finally understand.
 

joe dokes

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Nine blown saves (2nd in AL). 57.14 save% (12th in AL).
Blown saves are a tricky number.
Bases loaded none out in the 6th, up by one. Reliever gets a 6-4-3 DP ground out and a strikeout. Excellent relief work. Tie game. Blown save.
And that blown saves often get recorded in situations where there was no chance at an actual save (like the 6th inning example) makes the percentage misleading as well.
 

BaseballJones

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Yes, but those guys in the pen will eventually have to pitch the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings (possibly beyond) of some of those games. Unless they are all blowouts where they're just in to mop up (which seems unlikely), they're going to be facing good teams in close games and will have to get big outs. Why not give them some reinforcements if possible, especially since they are down two guys from the bullpen that did so well last postseason?
If there was a good way to get reinforcements sure, sign me up. But you asked if I’m comfortable with this pen in the playoffs and I answered honestly - moreso than I am for the grind of the regular season, for the reasons I have given.
 

joe dokes

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You can get blown saves in games that you win
I was going to mention that, but *if* blown saves were good representations of bad relief pitching, it would still be useful to know how much bad relief pitching a team had, even if they won the game. It's just that the particular stat doesn't always mean bad relief pitching.
 

LesterFan

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Brasier just isn't good. His K% is 19.4%, which ranks 142nd among the 179 qualifying relievers. The league average for relievers is 24% and all the good ones are over 30%. You need to be able to strike batters out out of the pen, especially in this era where homers are flying like crazy.
 

bosox79

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Blown saves are a tricky number.
Bases loaded none out in the 6th, up by one. Reliever gets a 6-4-3 DP ground out and a strikeout. Excellent relief work. Tie game. Blown save.
And that blown saves often get recorded in situations where there was no chance at an actual save (like the 6th inning example) makes the percentage misleading as well.
Probably even trickier in a world with openers.

I don't really pay attention to saves but if a pitcher leaves the game with a lead after 3 and another coughs up the lead sometime between the 4th-9th, that is a BS right? Or is it just a loss since the "opener" wasn't eligible for the win? I wonder how many of our BS happened in the same game. Looks like none, surprisingly.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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Probably even trickier in a world with openers.

I don't really pay attention to saves but if a pitcher leaves the game with a lead after 3 and another coughs up the lead sometime between the 4th-9th, that is a BS right? Or is it just a loss since the "opener" wasn't eligible for the win? I wonder how many of our BS happened in the same game. Looks like none, surprisingly.
Blown saves only happen in the 7th or later unless the rule has changed. A pitcher cannot get a win unless he has pitched 5 full innings and left with the lead or the team takes the lead and keeps it before the first reliever takes the hill. A pitcher can take a loss if he is the pitcher of record when the opposing team goes ahead and his team never ties or takes the lead before the end of the game, whether it's in the first or the 9th. Blown saves only happen if the lead is 3 runs or less and it is in the 7th inning or later, even if the pitcher who surrenders the tying or go-ahead hit is not responsible for the tying or go-ahead runners reaching; likewise a save only occurs if the lead is 3 or less and it does not increase and he is the last pitcher of record. Anything that results in the preservation of a lead of 3 or less in the 7th or later but it is not by the final pitcher of record is a Hold. A hold can be credited even in a loss so long as the lead change happens after the pitcher leaves the game UNLESS he is responsible for inherited runners that score to tie the game or worse. (Or possibly even if he is; I'm slightly fuzzy on that aspect of the rule.)
 

bosox79

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You'd think I'd know the 7th inning rule but I didn't. So holds are 7th and after too?
 

chawson

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I think the truth here is somewhere in the middle. Barnes has been excellent, but the pen after him has been not as deep as last year's pen after Kimbrel, and last year's pen was already fairly suspect.

2018 bullpen (total minus CK): 3.94 FIP, 23.6 K%, 9.5 BB%, .98 HR/9
2019 bullpen (total minus MB): 4.24 FIP, 24.5 K%, 10.4 BB%, 1.21 HR/9

And here's how the Sox bullpen stacks up against AL contenders (and last year's team) without the closer/best reliever from each:

2019 HOU bullpen 2-5 (Pressly, Harris, Rondon, Valdez): 1.81 ERA, 2.64 FIP, 8.54 K%, 2.67 BB%, .32 HR/9
2019 OAK bullpen 2-5 (Trivino, Soria, Hendriks, Wendelken): 3.34 ERA, 2.88 FIP, 9.50 K%, 3.34 BB%, .34 HR/9
2019 CLE bullpen 2-5 (Wittgren, Clippard, Olson, Cimber): 3.07 ERA, 3.03 FIP, 8.15 K%, 2.00 BB%, .67 HR/9
2019 TBR bullpen 2-5 (Pagan, Castillo, Beeks, Chirinos): 2.63 ERA, 3.04 FIP, 9.40 K%, 2.79 BB%, .64 HR/9
2019 NYY bullpen 2-5 (Britton, Kahnle, Holder, Ottavino): 2.59 ERA, 3.14 FIP, 10.82 K%, 3.88 BB%, .74 HR/9
2019 MIN bullpen 2-5 (Harper, Rogers, May, Hildenberger): 3.58 ERA, 3.22 FIP, 9.58 K%, 3.00 BB%, .69 HR/9
2018 BOS bullpen 2-5 (Barnes, Brasier, Kelly, Hembree): 3.71 ERA, 3.39 FIP, 10.95 K%, 3.85 BB%, .86 HR/9
2019 BOS bullpen 2-5 (Walden, Workman, Brasier, Hembree): 2.74 ERA, 3.83 FIP, 10.09 K%, 3.98 BB%, 1.06 HR/9

So, in some sense they're alright, but you can't pretend the signs aren't there. One major issue is that Brasier and Hembree have been too homer prone for their jobs. There's obviously a book on Brasier that wasn't yet written during his dominance last summer and fall. Hembree has always had home run problems, and while his velocity is fine and ERA is decent right now, his secondaries have declined substantially and are getting absolutely crushed this year. He seems to know it. He's barely throwing them.

Workman's had an effective couple months, but that walk rate (6.66, 6th highest among qualified MLB relievers) and low BABIP (.125, 2nd lowest in MLB) require a lot of faith. He also seems to be max efforting every pitch, throwing hard curveballs half the time (third highest rate in the league — Barnes is 2nd). It makes some sense he's going all out because it's his walk year and he's been a near-DFA candidate since forever, but I'm skeptical he can stay on this tightrope into September.

Walden and his slider have been a revelation so far, but he's also a 30-year-old journeyman and has had two bad outings this past week. It's fair to wonder if he can keep it up, or that the league won't adapt to his new slider after a couple months.

Other teams' bullpens have some questionable characters, of course (Cleveland's looks particularly dubious), but most teams are good at keeping the ball in the ballpark. Hembree, Brasier, and to some extent Barnes have been pretty shoddy at that, and the other two guys have virtually no track record of success.
 

nvalvo

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It is possible that there is now a book on Brasier. It is also possible that his location has been much worse.

Comparing his two seasons on Brooksbaseball, it looks to me as though the stuff is very similar in terms of repertoire, velo and movement, but he's been in the middle of the zone (heightwise) somewhat more, and has been yielding some SLG on those pitches.

That could be a result of people laying off the high fastballs and low sliders, forcing him to throw unambiguous strikes, and then crushing them.
 

BillMuellerFanClub

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Comparing his two seasons on Brooksbaseball, it looks to me as though the stuff is very similar in terms of repertoire, velo and movement
I find this interesting in that my anecdotal feedback on Braiser is that he's throwing 94 and not 96-97. Checking for myself and seeing the month-by-month breakdown comparison to last year, it's true. He's down .6 MPH on the 4 seamer (97-96.40) YoY, but that's negligible.

He has, however inverted the usage of his change up (more) and sinker (less), and is throwing more off-speed pitches overall this season. This may be contributing to his reduced K-rate, as the balls tend to be put in play - and hard. His slugging against is drastically higher this year on his change up (0.0 vs .670), caveat of small sample size not withstanding. Last season, his worst pitch was his slider at .430 (.260 in 2019). Seems to me that he should be throwing his change up less.
 

Delicious Sponge

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Looking at this year’s pen it seems like the concepts were:

* good curve balls are the new market inefficiency

* having a bullpen ace is more important than a traditional “closer”

* it’s not worth spending money on relief arms

Maybe they’re right?
 

DeadlySplitter

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Colten Brewer, the only major league reinforcement DD got this offseason for the pen, has a 5.87 ERA. DD deserves some flak for that.

it feels like the balloon may have popped on this pen. I'm scared.

 
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CaptainLaddie

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Wait, guys, did the Red Sox have an all-time great reliever in the last 12 months? One who had his problems in the playoffs at times but in their first nine seasons has the.... *does math* most saves of any pitcher in baseball history. But I digress.
 
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Red(s)HawksFan

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Colten Brewer, the only major league reinforcement DD got this offseason for the pen, has a 5.87 ERA. DD deserves some flak for that.

it feels like the balloon may have popped on this pen. I'm scared.

One of these things is not like the others. Of the guys who pitched last night, the only one I'd expect to be a contributor to a playoff bullpen is also the one who didn't give up any runs last night. The rest are roster filler that we really shouldn't be getting worked up over.
 

Byrdbrain

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But he's scared don't you get it?

Realistically the bullpen has one top pitcher, a couple of ok pieces and a bunch of replacement level or below guys. They certainly could use another good arm and I don't see where it is going to be coming from.

As one who mocked the "fatal flaw" talk last year I actually do think the bullpen will be a problem this year. It hasn't been a huge one to date, last two days excepted, but it's going to be tough to keep it together without one more guy who can be trusted out there.
 

chawson

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One of these things is not like the others. Of the guys who pitched last night, the only one I'd expect to be a contributor to a playoff bullpen is also the one who didn't give up any runs last night. The rest are roster filler that we really shouldn't be getting worked up over.
Except Hembree shouldn’t be getting meaningful postseason innings, and the 2018 Red Sox more or less agreed.

He had four appearances in last year’s postseason:

- a scoreless 11th in the 18-inning Game 3 against LAD (last option in the pen in the Eovaldi game)
- 2/3 of the 9th inning down 7-2 in ALCS Game 1
- the 8th in the ALDS Game 3 while the Sox were up 16-1
- two scoreless innings (walking three) down 6-2 to NYY in Game 2

Hembree has decent strikeout ability, but he’s performing worse this year, despite the 2.88 ERA.
 

Adrian's Dome

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Except Hembree shouldn’t be getting meaningful postseason innings, and the 2018 Red Sox more or less agreed.

He had four appearances in last year’s postseason:

- a scoreless 11th in the 18-inning Game 3 against LAD (last option in the pen in the Eovaldi game)
- 2/3 of the 9th inning down 7-2 in ALCS Game 1
- the 8th in the ALDS Game 3 while the Sox were up 16-1
- two scoreless innings (walking three) down 6-2 to NYY in Game 2

Hembree has decent strikeout ability, but he’s performing worse this year, despite the 2.88 ERA.
And the postseason is a completely different animal in which our starters (IE: your best pitchers) were taking majority of the load.

Hembree's ERA+ is significantly better this year than last (161 to 105,) his WHIP is about .5 better, his H/9 is down .8, hr HR/9 is essentially the same (a tenth lower this year,) his BB/9 is essentially the same, and his K/9 is only down 1 (but still a decent 10.4,) and his FIP is only marginally higher (.015, which is basically insignificant.)

Fifteen thousandths of FIP with pretty much similar numbers across the board is "performing worse"? Those numbers are perfectly fine for your 4th/5th man, a useful reliever that can miss bats. This team may have issues, but Heath Hembree is not one of them. Nor is the bullpen in general, and it's kind of ridiculous that the bullpen is being talked about the day after a spot starter dropped 7ER in 4IP and the AAA fodder were left to clean it up.
 
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...Realistically the bullpen has one top pitcher, a couple of ok pieces and a bunch of replacement level or below guys. They certainly could use another good arm and I don't see where it is going to be coming from.

As one who mocked the "fatal flaw" talk last year I actually do think the bullpen will be a problem this year. It hasn't been a huge one to date, last two days excepted, but it's going to be tough to keep it together without one more guy who can be trusted out there.
As currently constructed, the bullpen relies extremely heavily upon Barnes (as evidenced by his usage patterns). There's a less-than-zero chance that a work load that consists essentially of nothing but high stress, high leverage innings could lead to diminished effectiveness. Additionally, as with any player, there's always the chance of injury. If (God forbid) Barnes goes down, the ripple effect could be severe.

Except Hembree shouldn’t be getting meaningful postseason innings, and the 2018 Red Sox more or less agreed...
And, based upon the fact that he was left off the WS roster, the Sox felt the same way about Workman last year.

When I look at this pen, I am concerned about a serious lack of depth. I have faith that the front office shares such concerns and I foresee a "Sox Acquire [INSERT NAME OF APPLICABLE PITCHER(S)]" thread at some point before the trade deadline.
 

bosox79

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Workman is a completely different beast than last year. I have no clue what to think of him going forward.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Except Hembree shouldn’t be getting meaningful postseason innings, and the 2018 Red Sox more or less agreed.

He had four appearances in last year’s postseason:

- a scoreless 11th in the 18-inning Game 3 against LAD (last option in the pen in the Eovaldi game)
- 2/3 of the 9th inning down 7-2 in ALCS Game 1
- the 8th in the ALDS Game 3 while the Sox were up 16-1
- two scoreless innings (walking three) down 6-2 to NYY in Game 2

Hembree has decent strikeout ability, but he’s performing worse this year, despite the 2.88 ERA.
I didn't say "meaningful" postseason innings, I said "contributor to a playoff bullpen". In other words, he's expected to be on the postseason roster should they get there. Ryan Weber, Josh Taylor, Colton Brewer, and Hector Velazquez are not. Even in the post-season, you need guys to eat innings in blow-outs or extra innings. That's what the #4 or #5 guy on the bullpen depth chart is for.
 

bosox79

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But he's scared don't you get it?

Realistically the bullpen has one top pitcher, a couple of ok pieces and a bunch of replacement level or below guys. They certainly could use another good arm and I don't see where it is going to be coming from.

As one who mocked the "fatal flaw" talk last year I actually do think the bullpen will be a problem this year. It hasn't been a huge one to date, last two days excepted, but it's going to be tough to keep it together without one more guy who can be trusted out there.
Walden and Workman may be more than just OK though. We don't really know, and people want us to make a move before we do. The team doesn't really have a lot of assets to be trading away and may have a bigger need come July if Walden and Workman are actually really good.

Workman's K% this year is 37.2%. Up until this year, his career K% was 21.2%. His BB% has spiked to 19.2% while his career rate is 8.8%. In the month of May, his K% is 35.6%, his BB% is 13.3%. He also has a Swinging Strike % of 23.8%, considerably up from his career % of 15.7% coming into the year.

He's not going to have a H/9 of 2.2 all year but he's also not going to have a BB/9 of 6.7 all year either. I thought all of his success prior to this year was mostly smoke and mirrors but as I stated above, I'm not sure what to think now. He's missing bats. Plus, even if I thought his last 2 years were smoke and mirrors... the results were good.
76 g, 3.22 era, 81.0 ip, 27bb/74k. 140 ERA+. Add in this year and you are at 103 games, 2.99 era, 105.1 ip, 45bb/109k, 152 ERA+, 1.158 WHIP since 2017. Matt Barnes since 2017: 154 games, 3.53 era, 153.0 ip, 67bb/218k, 128 ERA+, 1.203 WHIP.

Most bullpen arms are question marks and it seems fans tend to like other teams question marks more. Ty Buttrey has been brought up a few times but if he was on the Redsox, people would worry about him falling apart because he's not proven either. They mention Ryan Pressly who, up until last year, wasn't all that different than Brandon Workman. Maybe Workman and Walden fall apart and they do need to trade for a bullpen arm, but lets at least give it another month.
 

AB in DC

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I didn't say "meaningful" postseason innings, I said "contributor to a playoff bullpen". In other words, he's expected to be on the postseason roster should they get there. Ryan Weber, Josh Taylor, Colton Brewer, and Hector Velazquez are not.
Then who exactly is going to be in the playoff bullpen besides Barnes/Workman/Walden/Hembree? Brian Johnson? Maybe if 2018 Brasier shows up, sure, but 2019 Brasier is sub-replacement level.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Then who exactly is going to be in the playoff bullpen besides Barnes/Workman/Walden/Hembree? Brian Johnson? Maybe if 2018 Brasier shows up, sure, but 2019 Brasier is sub-replacement level.
Just curious if you recall your feelings about Joe Kelly as of end of regular season last year. In case you don't recall, his ERA from June 1 to September 30 was over 6.00
 

bosox79

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Then who exactly is going to be in the playoff bullpen besides Barnes/Workman/Walden/Hembree? Brian Johnson? Maybe if 2018 Brasier shows up, sure, but 2019 Brasier is sub-replacement level.
Sale, Price, Eovaldi.