Building a Bullpen, 2019 edition

Red(s)HawksFan

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Yesterday is an interesting case for the bullpen. One of their best relievers blew the save in the 8th. Then another reliever blew another save in the 13th. Two blown saves in one game. Hard to do. But then...they ended up putting up this line: 11.1 ip, 11 h, 3 r, 3 er, 5 bb, 14 k, 2.38 era, 1.41 whip, 11.1 k/9

So on the whole, terrific work by the bullpen, and yet they blew the game TWICE.
Second game this year in which they've recorded multiple blown saves (5/22 at Toronto). Not that uncommon in extra inning games, especially ones that go as long as last night's game (Toronto was 13 innings).

The team's record in games with a blown save is now 6-6. So essentially, the bullpen has coughed up a lead 14 times, but it has only resulted in 6 losses.
 

Max Power

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Yep, and K/9 still above 11 would suggest he can still get guys out. Increased walks are a concern as you point out. Certainly not saying he is a sure thing, but I really can't see the downside of taking a gamble on a 30 yo pitcher with 150 career saves on a minor league deal. All the more reason, given the Sox salary situation and thin farm system
It's easy to put up a high K/9 when you have a WHIP of 2. He's facing 5 batters per inning rather than the 4 that a good pitcher does, so his actual strikeout rate is 25% less than it looks.
 

Green Monster

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It's easy to put up a high K/9 when you have a WHIP of 2. He's facing 5 batters per inning rather than the 4 that a good pitcher does, so his actual strikeout rate is 25% less than it looks.
What is your point? He has clearly been struggling for about a year now, wouldn't have been released otherwise. My point is that he might be a reasonable gamble on a minor league deal given that he is still 30 years old and has been successful. Haven't seen him pitch in person, only looking at numbers, but seems like he is having control issues which frequently are mechanical issues. Sox don't have the cap space or the prospect depth to do much else........... Can't see them winning a bidding war for Will Smith as much as I would love to see him on the Sox.

PS: Not sure an 11.3 K/9 is as Easy as you suggest. For comparison Verlander & deGrom have 11.1 and are top10 (yes, more innings and fewer walks)
 

bosox79

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How does that make any sense at all?
He made a typo or something. Cody Allen has struck out 25% of the batters he's faced this year. It looks higher than that because his K/9 is so high.

2013: 29.2%, 11.3 K/9
2014: 32.6%, 11.8 K/9
2015: 34.6%, 12.9 K/9
2016: 33.0%, 11.5 K/9
2017: 32.6%, 12.3 K/9
2018: 27.7%, 10.7 K/9
2019: 25.0%, 11.3 K/9

He's basically saying K/9 sucks as a stat. His K/9 this year is similar to his 2016 K/9 despite striking out 8% less batters. A 25% K rate is also pretty mediocre in today's game.

edit: Also to the guy above, comparing a starting pitchers K/9 to a relievers is incredibly stupid. Comparing their K% is stupid too.
 

bosox79

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Ironically enough, Justin Verlander is actually striking out more batters than Cody Allen. 32.5% compared to 25.0%. deGrom is at 30.1%.

This just shows how K/9 is a junk stat and completely misleading. Marcus Walden is at 27.2% but has a K/9 of 9.8. He strikes out more batters than Cody Allen.
 

Green Monster

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Ironically enough, Justin Verlander is actually striking out more batters than Cody Allen. 32.5% compared to 25.0%. deGrom is at 30.1%.

This just shows how K/9 is a junk stat and completely misleading.
Fair enough......

So do you think Cody Allen is worth a gamble?
 

BaseballJones

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He made a typo or something. Cody Allen has struck out 25% of the batters he's faced this year. It looks higher than that because his K/9 is so high.

2013: 29.2%, 11.3 K/9
2014: 32.6%, 11.8 K/9
2015: 34.6%, 12.9 K/9
2016: 33.0%, 11.5 K/9
2017: 32.6%, 12.3 K/9
2018: 27.7%, 10.7 K/9
2019: 25.0%, 11.3 K/9

He's basically saying K/9 sucks as a stat. His K/9 this year is similar to his 2016 K/9 despite striking out 8% less batters. A 25% K rate is also pretty mediocre in today's game.

edit: Also to the guy above, comparing a starting pitchers K/9 to a relievers is incredibly stupid. Comparing their K% is stupid too.
I just question the logic. Sure, the more batters he faces, the lower his K-per-batter rate is likely to be. But putting runners on by walk should have zero impact on his K/9 rate. That's not a measurement of strikeouts per batter faced. It's a measurement of strikeouts per nine innings pitched, which is a measurement, really, of strikeouts per three OUTS recorded. You've gotta get three outs to equal an inning, and it doesn't matter if you face three batters (or one, if you come in as a reliever with two guys on and induce a triple play!) or twelve in an inning. You still need to get three OUTS. Walking more guys has zero impact on someone's K/9 rate.

So I have no idea what he was actually trying to argue.
 

Max Power

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He made a typo or something. Cody Allen has struck out 25% of the batters he's faced this year. It looks higher than that because his K/9 is so high.

2013: 29.2%, 11.3 K/9
2014: 32.6%, 11.8 K/9
2015: 34.6%, 12.9 K/9
2016: 33.0%, 11.5 K/9
2017: 32.6%, 12.3 K/9
2018: 27.7%, 10.7 K/9
2019: 25.0%, 11.3 K/9

He's basically saying K/9 sucks as a stat. His K/9 this year is similar to his 2016 K/9 despite striking out 8% less batters. A 25% K rate is also pretty mediocre in today's game.

edit: Also to the guy above, comparing a starting pitchers K/9 to a relievers is incredibly stupid. Comparing their K% is stupid too.
There was no typo. A good pitcher faces about 4 batters per inning and Cody Allen is facing 5. His K/9 translates to a 25% lower strikeout per batter rate than that good pitcher because he's facing 25% more batters per inning and thus has more opportunities to record a strikeout. The fact that he's recording the same strikeout percentage in the outs he manages to record is meaningless. What happens during all those non-outs make him a shitty pitcher who was just released by a shitty team.
 

bosox79

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There was no typo. A good pitcher faces about 4 batters per inning and Cody Allen is facing 5. His K/9 translates to a 25% lower strikeout per batter rate than that good pitcher because he's facing 25% more batters per inning and thus has more opportunities to record a strikeout. The fact that he's recording the same strikeout percentage in the outs he manages to record is meaningless. What happens during all those non-outs make him a shitty pitcher who was just released by a shitty team.
Which is why I used K%, which measures Strikeouts/Batters faced.
 

effectivelywild

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If he's agree to pitch in Pawtucket.
Hopefully he realizes that he currently has no real value in the majors and needs to go down tot he minors to see if he can fix whatever is wrong. In that sense, Boston might be actually appealing, as they've had some success claiming relievers off the scrap heap and making them useful, and they certainly have some guys in the bullpen that they'd probably prefer to replace with someone better. Maybe Brian Bannister can make a pitch to him about what needs to be changed.
 

Cumberland Blues

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He's arguing that strikeouts per batter faced is a more meaningful stat than strikeouts per inning. He's right.

edit - in response to BaseballJones
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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^ https://twitter.com/SPChrisHatfield/status/1141379964727676930

"Looks like the Red Sox have released Carson Smith, who was rehabbing in Fort Myers. Smith had upward mobility (7/31) and opt-out (8/30) clauses in his contract, but seems rehab wasn't progressing to org's liking. "
Clearly because he was overworked.

Another disaster trade (and, yes, I know he was brought back as a minor league free agent). Maybe this is why Dombrowski doesn't feel comfortable dealing for relievers: every time he does, they turn out to be awful.
 

joe dokes

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Another disaster trade (and, yes, I know he was brought back as a minor league free agent). Maybe this is why Dombrowski doesn't feel comfortable dealing for relievers: every time he does, they turn out to be awful.
Its actually a miracle he can even get out of bed every day with that track record. A miracle.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Clearly because he was overworked.

Another disaster trade (and, yes, I know he was brought back as a minor league free agent). Maybe this is why Dombrowski doesn't feel comfortable dealing for relievers: every time he does, they turn out to be awful.
I know Smith didn't work out, but what did they lose in dealing for him? The opportunity to pay Miley 10X more to suck (5.48 ERA in the two seasons he had left on his deal)? A disappointing trade given the expectations Smith came with, but I'd hardly qualify it as a disaster. Smith's presence on the roster (or more accurately, the DL/IL) neither helped nor hurt the team significantly.
 

joe dokes

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I know Smith didn't work out, but what did they lose in dealing for him? The opportunity to pay Miley 10X more to suck (5.48 ERA in the two seasons he had left on his deal)? A disappointing trade given the expectations Smith came with, but I'd hardly qualify it as a disaster. Smith's presence on the roster (or more accurately, the DL/IL) neither helped nor hurt the team significantly.
I think Mueller's point is that Dombroski's career-long failure has made him gun-shy about dealing for relievers. Just look at last year, when he simply stood there with his hands in his pockets during reliever trade season when a few shrewd moves could have led to the team winning the World Series.
 

BaseballJones

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He's arguing that strikeouts per batter faced is a more meaningful stat than strikeouts per inning. He's right.

edit - in response to BaseballJones
Ok that's fair, and an interesting point. He confused me by referring to the impact walks have on one's K/9 rate, which of course isn't true at all. So he probably misspoke a little there.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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I know Smith didn't work out, but what did they lose in dealing for him? The opportunity to pay Miley 10X more to suck (5.48 ERA in the two seasons he had left on his deal)? A disappointing trade given the expectations Smith came with, but I'd hardly qualify it as a disaster. Smith's presence on the roster (or more accurately, the DL/IL) neither helped nor hurt the team significantly.
Miley could have been dealt for a better player, but I'll cede the point. I also don't think that just because he was shit elsewhere means he would have been shit here (talking about Miley), but that's just posturing on my part.
 

oumbi

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Brasier may have recovered from recent pitching woes. In his past six games he has pitched well.

6 innings
5 hits
1 ER
0 BB
7 K

Tilt may have rediscovered his tiltiness.
 

BaseballJones

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I know Smith didn't work out, but what did they lose in dealing for him? The opportunity to pay Miley 10X more to suck (5.48 ERA in the two seasons he had left on his deal)? A disappointing trade given the expectations Smith came with, but I'd hardly qualify it as a disaster. Smith's presence on the roster (or more accurately, the DL/IL) neither helped nor hurt the team significantly.
Wade Miley, two years before coming to Boston: 3.74 era, 104 era+, 1.30 whip
Wade Miley, with Boston: 4.46 era, 96 era+, 1.37 whip
Wade Miley, the last two years: 2.94 era, 145 era+, 1.20 whip
 

DeadlySplitter

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the one real cost of the offense squandering so much last night was Velazquez retweaked his back. Returned to the IL, and everyone's favorite guy Josh Smith is back up.
 

joe dokes

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Wade Miley, two years before coming to Boston: 3.74 era, 104 era+, 1.30 whip
Wade Miley, with Boston: 4.46 era, 96 era+, 1.37 whip
Wade Miley, the last two years: 2.94 era, 145 era+, 1.20 whip
Given Smith's trajectory, its an unfortunate turn that 3 years after they got rid of Miley, he stopped sucking.

Miley could have been dealt for a better player, but I'll cede the point. I also don't think that just because he was shit elsewhere means he would have been shit here (talking about Miley), but that's just posturing on my part.
2015 Wade Miley for a better player than 2015 Carson Smith? Unlikely.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Wade Miley, two years before coming to Boston: 3.74 era, 104 era+, 1.30 whip
Wade Miley, with Boston: 4.46 era, 96 era+, 1.37 whip
Wade Miley, the last two years: 2.94 era, 145 era+, 1.20 whip
So, we're just going to ignore the two seasons immediately after he left Boston? The two that happen to be the only two where he would have been guaranteed to be with the team had they decided not to trade him? Sure, that makes sense.

As for getting a better player for Miley, like who? Smith was a young pitcher with many years of control coming off a stellar year. Injuries derailed him, which can't be predicted. At best, maybe DD could have traded Miley for a similar pitcher who didn't have his elbow then his shoulder blow up on him.

Dombrowski can't be pilloried for some other trades, but I have a hard time ripping him for giving up a mediocre pitcher for a younger one that happened to get hurt immediately after arriving.
 

BaseballJones

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So, we're just going to ignore the two seasons immediately after he left Boston? The two that happen to be the only two where he would have been guaranteed to be with the team had they decided not to trade him? Sure, that makes sense.
Yep. Because I'm not ripping him for the trade. I'm just pointing out that somehow Miley managed to get it together and seems to have turned into a pretty good pitcher. So it goes.
 

Green Monster

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the one real cost of the offense squandering so much last night was Velazquez retweaked his back. Returned to the IL, and everyone's favorite guy Josh Smith is back up.
I didn't make it to the end of the game last night so I hope this isn't a silly question.....Did Velazquez really get re-injured or is this a convenient way to get a fresh arm for the pen since Smith and others were just sent down?
 

DeadlySplitter

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I didn't make it to the end of the game last night so I hope this isn't a silly question.....Did Velazquez really get re-injured or is this a convenient way to get a fresh arm for the pen since Smith and others were just sent down?
he really did retweak the back.
 

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Drew Smyly DFA'ed by the Rangers. Maybe worth a flyer, get him some time at Pawtucket to work things out. A cursory look at his numbers show he's absolutely getting pounded on his fastball and maybe part of the problem is his changeup is being thrown harder than in the past, possibly resulting in that issue in that there isn't enough of a difference between his change and fastball. He's certainly got enough talent to be useful if he gets straightened out. There might be demand for his services so the Sox might have to send "cash considerations" to get him, but why not? He'd be on the roster at the minimum on a ml deal.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Drew Smyly DFA'ed by the Rangers. Maybe worth a flyer, get him some time at Pawtucket to work things out. A cursory look at his numbers show he's absolutely getting pounded on his fastball and maybe part of the problem is his changeup is being thrown harder than in the past, possibly resulting in that issue in that there isn't enough of a difference between his change and fastball. He's certainly got enough talent to be useful if he gets straightened out. There might be demand for his services so the Sox might have to send "cash considerations" to get him, but why not? He'd be on the roster at the minimum on a ml deal.
A trade for Smyly ("cash considerations") would mean he'd need to be rostered with the big league club and that they'd have to assume the remainder of his major league contract (prorated $5M cap hit), assuming the Rangers wouldn't kick in cash themselves. The only way it makes sense to take a flyer on Smyly is if he clears waivers, becomes a free agent, and is willing to sign a minor league deal to figure things out in Pawtucket. If there's interest in him elsewhere, especially interest in letting him work things out on a big league roster, I expect he'd go there.
 

DanoooME

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A trade for Smyly ("cash considerations") would mean he'd need to be rostered with the big league club and that they'd have to assume the remainder of his major league contract (prorated $5M cap hit), assuming the Rangers wouldn't kick in cash themselves. The only way it makes sense to take a flyer on Smyly is if he clears waivers, becomes a free agent, and is willing to sign a minor league deal to figure things out in Pawtucket. If there's interest in him elsewhere, especially interest in letting him work things out on a big league roster, I expect he'd go there.
Whoops! Mixing roster metaphors.
 

bosox79

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Colton Brewer has a pretty interesting line his last 19 games: 2.70 era, 23.1 ip, 23 hits, 8r/7er, 13bb/19k, WHIP of 1.59. You'd assume that era is incredibly flukish but hitters are slashing .258/.352/.337 off him (106 batters faced). That's an ISO against of .079. Ridiculous. For the year, hitters are slashing .276/.373/.346 for an even lower ISO of .070.

His first 10 games: 8.31 era, 8.2 IP, 12 hits, 8r/8er, 7bb/11k, WHIP of 2.19. Hitters slashed .316/.422/.368 (45 BF). They still hit for next to no power.

2019: .276/.373/.346, ISO .070 151 PA, 7 XBH
2018: .253/.322/.350, ISO .097, 243 PA, 15XBH
2017: .236/.291/.277, ISO .041, 262 PA, 2 XBH
2016: .285/.354/.365, ISO .080, 322 PA: 12 XBH
2015: .258/.325/.389, ISO .131, 511 PA: 38 XBH

His FIP for the year is actually 3.67. It's ugly, but apparently effective.
 

joe dokes

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Colton Brewer has a pretty interesting line his last 19 games: 2.70 era, 23.1 ip, 23 hits, 8r/7er, 13bb/19k, WHIP of 1.59. You'd assume that era is incredibly flukish but hitters are slashing .258/.352/.337 off him (106 batters faced). That's an ISO against of .079. Ridiculous. For the year, hitters are slashing .276/.373/.346 for an even lower ISO of .070.

His first 10 games: 8.31 era, 8.2 IP, 12 hits, 8r/8er, 7bb/11k, WHIP of 2.19. Hitters slashed .316/.422/.368 (45 BF). They still hit for next to no power.

2019: .276/.373/.346, ISO .070 151 PA, 7 XBH
2018: .253/.322/.350, ISO .097, 243 PA, 15XBH
2017: .236/.291/.277, ISO .041, 262 PA, 2 XBH
2016: .285/.354/.365, ISO .080, 322 PA: 12 XBH
2015: .258/.325/.389, ISO .131, 511 PA: 38 XBH

His FIP for the year is actually 3.67. It's ugly, but apparently effective.
I guess a parade of baserunners isn't fatal if they aren't followed by xbh?
 

DeadlySplitter

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on the heels of maybe their first true meltdown - ruining a huge lead against a bottom five team in the league - it seems like Dombrowski is going to see how Steven Wright does (suspension is over on Tuesday) before making any moves.

would anyone be surprised if...
-he goes through a rough patch and makes things worse - the knuckleball comes and goes, so...
-he gets injured again quickly, remember he has Pedey's faulty surgery too
-clubhouse chemistry could be hurt a bit - many players were unhappy he took PEDs

good luck, Dave!
 

chawson

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It’s a drag that none of the minor league fliers have panned out so far. I was highest on Putnam, who still hasn’t thrown a pitch, and optimistic about Mejia and Ellington, who have both been unremarkable in AA/AAA.

I wonder if DD will have the firepower to land Will Smith. Seems like Houston or Atlanta could offer more if they wanted to, and that NL Central race is tight. Chicago and Milwaukee could each use a closer and St. Louis needs a guy to do what Andrew Miller isn’t.
 

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It’s a drag that none of the minor league fliers have panned out so far. I was highest on Putnam, who still hasn’t thrown a pitch, and optimistic about Mejia and Ellington, who have both been unremarkable in AA/AAA.

I wonder if DD will have the firepower to land Will Smith. Seems like Houston or Atlanta could offer more if they wanted to, and that NL Central race is tight. Chicago and Milwaukee could each use a closer and St. Louis needs a guy to do what Andrew Miller isn’t.
Chicago signed a closer
 

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[B]Pete Abraham[/B]‏Verified account @PeteAbe
This is the issue with the Red Sox:
* Workman is on pace for 79 games, 24 more than last season counting his minor league games.
* Barnes is on pace for 71 games, 9 more that last season.
* Brasier pitched in 34 MLB games in 2018. Saturday was his 35th this year.
 

johnnywayback

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I do believe in Barnes and Workman. But I think adding another elite arm makes a lot of sense, both in case one of them burns out and in order to push Brasier and everyone else back an inning. Will Smith really is the perfect target. Unfortunately, their biggest intermediate-term need is in the outfield, and majors-ready outfield prospects is one thing we definitely do not have. Mata and Shawaryn might be a place to start.
 

bosox79

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I do believe in Barnes and Workman. But I think adding another elite arm makes a lot of sense, both in case one of them burns out and in order to push Brasier and everyone else back an inning. Will Smith really is the perfect target. Unfortunately, their biggest intermediate-term need is in the outfield, and majors-ready outfield prospects is one thing we definitely do not have. Mata and Shawaryn might be a place to start.
You don't like Walden?


And Brandon Workman confuses me. Has any pitcher had his level off success with a BB% that high? He's also not allowing any xbh, in 143 PA he's given up 2 doubles and 1 HR. Hell, he's not allowing hits.

Prior to 2019: 887 BF, 21.5% K rate, 8.8% BB rate, 8.0% xbh, 0.74 GB/FB. 63.4% strike %, 30.5% s/Looking, 15.7% S/swinging, Hitters swung at 44.1% of his pitches and at 69.5% of strikes. 28.1% of strikes were put in play.
2019: 143 BF, 35.0% K rate, 18.2% BB rate, 2.1% xbh, 1.06 GB/FB. 59.5% strike %, 36.0% s/looking, 22.0% S/swinging. Hitters swung at 38.1% of his pitches and 64.0% of strikes. 17.9% of strikes were put in play.

He's throwing 4% less strikes, but 58% of his strikes come via looking or swinging compared to 46.2% before. Hitters are also swinging at his pitches 6% less while putting the ball in play 10% less often.
 

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I don't think Pete and a lot of other people give enough blame to the bullpen inning issue to the starters not going long enough. I know Johnson just got back and we can excuse him for only going five, but it seems like it's become way too acceptable to only get that many innings out of your starter, especially given what $ is being spent on them.
 

Danny_Darwin

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[B]Pete Abraham[/B]‏Verified account @PeteAbe
This is the issue with the Red Sox:
* Workman is on pace for 79 games, 24 more than last season counting his minor league games.
* Barnes is on pace for 71 games, 9 more that last season.
* Brasier pitched in 34 MLB games in 2018. Saturday was his 35th this year.
In terms of sheer appearances, the Red Sox have 198 appearances totaling 203.1 innings from their six most frequently-used relievers so far - Barnes, Brasier, Brewer, Hembree, Walden, and Workman. Among plausible contenders, only Oakland has relied on any group of six relievers more heavily.

I don't think Pete and a lot of other people give enough blame to the bullpen inning issue to the starters not going long enough. I know Johnson just got back and we can excuse him for only going five, but it seems like it's become way too acceptable to only get that many innings out of your starter, especially given what $ is being spent on them.
I think there's definitely an argument to be made that the best solution for the pen would be to trade for a 3rd- or 4th-starter type. Worry about what happens when Eovaldi is healthy when and if that time comes.