Building a Bullpen, 2019 edition

AB in DC

OG Football Writing
SoSH Member
Jul 10, 2002
5,793
Springfield, VA
Walden seems to have entered "Do not play on consecutive nights" territory along with Barnes:
4 app, 4 IP, 8 H (2 HR), 7 ER, 2 BB, 4 K,
 

DanoooME

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Mar 16, 2008
15,522
South Jersey
I'm not sure how to break all this stuff down... but the Sox bullpen had a very good first month. They've at least seemed to be absolute garbage since then.......
Well, the numbers don't bear out your theory. Unless you solely look at W-L pct.

SplitWLW-L%ERAGGFSVIPHRERHRBBSOBFWHIPSO9SO/W
April/MarGR83.7274.47103308110.298605518521274781.35510.32.44
MayGR74.6363.6787274105.187454311421194461.22510.22.83
JuneGR65.5454.3398255108.0106565215501424821.44411.82.84



Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/30/2019.
 

Sampo Gida

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 7, 2010
5,038
Excluding Sundays game (data not in) the Red Sox bullpen in June is 5th in ERA , 3rd in FIP and 4th in WPA( AL teams only)

The ball has made a lot of bullpens and rotations look bad.

Still, another good /elite BP arm will help. DD is on it per mlbtr
 

Delicious Sponge

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 23, 2003
1,067
Boston
Statistics claiming to show that the Red Sox bullpen is actually good when it’s apparent that it’s not — are like talking about “more days in first place.”

Look: with a good bullpen the Red Sox win both games in this series. The Yankees aren’t unstoppable and based on their starting pitching are vulnerable in a playoff series to a team built like the Red Sox.

We need at least 2 strong arms out there. I’m not sure how we get them but this otherwise elite team deserves it.
 

geoduck no quahog

not particularly consistent
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Nov 8, 2002
11,302
Seattle, WA
I don't understand how "data" can make 17 blown saves (2nd worst in baseball) look good.

League average is 10.

51.5% of Red Sox save opportunities have been converted (2nd worst in baseball).

League average is 65.9%

I know this has been an ongoing discussion (saves / blown saves, etc.) but my lying eyes sure as hell tells me this bullpen sucks, and it's not just a few bad outings.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
10,720
Maine
I don't understand how "data" can make 17 blown saves (2nd worst in baseball) look good.

League average is 10.

51.5% of Red Sox save opportunities have been converted (2nd worst in baseball).

League average is 65.9%

I know this has been an ongoing discussion (saves / blown saves, etc.) but my lying eyes sure as hell tells me this bullpen sucks, and it's not just a few bad outings.
Maybe because blown saves is a bullshit stat? Can't argue that it's good for bullpens to give up leads but their 17 blown saves have resulted in only 9 losses. So right away, the total seems less dramatic in context. Because blown saves can happen prior to the 9th inning, giving up a lead is not a permanent issue if the offense has opportunity to come back and re-take the lead, which they have in 8 cases. Just to contrast the 2019 team's 6-9 record in games with blown saves, the 2018 team was 12-7 in the 19 games in which a blown save was recorded. In other words, relievers, even good ones, spit the bit sometimes. And often, they do it while the offense still has opportunity to turn things around again.

Save percentage is just as bullshit because it count blown saves that are effectively blown holds (the guy giving up the lead was never expected to finish the game) but does not account for holds. How about saves+holds/saves+holds+blown saves instead? (17+46)/(17+46+17)=78.75% League average = 85.14%. Still below average but not nearly as dramatically.

The bullpen has had some bad stretches. It's not a disaster. Or at least, they alone are not responsible for team's middling record.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 11, 2007
2,366
Well, the numbers don't bear out your theory. Unless you solely look at W-L pct.

SplitWLW-L%ERAGGFSVIPHRERHRBBSOBFWHIPSO9SO/W
April/MarGR83.7274.47103308110.298605518521274781.35510.32.44
MayGR74.6363.6787274105.187454311421194461.22510.22.83
JuneGR65.5454.3398255108.0106565215501424821.44411.82.84



Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/30/2019.
Wow. That's sort of shocking to see. So the BP is not as bad as it seems, but yeah... it's still at this point, clearly not good enough to get the team to where it needs to be. I still don't think Kimbrell would have made much difference (maybe 2 games at this point.. ? obviously hard to prove in any way) but clearly adding a strong reliever would help. So now I'm tending towards believing it's BP exhaustion and overwork. So that shifts the burden back to our starters and even Sale not going deep enough into games to preserve freshness in the BP arms
 

bosox79

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 22, 2002
10,143
Brewer featured some sharp breaking stuff today and was effective. As for the rest, WTDS.
Brewer in June: 12 games, 0.73 era, 12.1 ip, 10 hits, 2 r, 1 er, 12bb/13k, WHIP of 1.78. He has faced 58 batters in that period, he has given up 0 extra base hits. Hitters are slashing .227/.386/.227.

It's ugly to watch but basically he just needs to get 3 outs before he puts on 4 base runners. Highly effective.
 
Last edited:

SouthernBoSox

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 23, 2005
10,801
So he's a gimmick pitcher who doesn't strike people out, gives up a ton of air contact, and struggles with right handed hitters.
 

BaseballJones

goalpost mover
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
5,737
Walden seems to have entered "Do not play on consecutive nights" territory along with Barnes:
4 app, 4 IP, 8 H (2 HR), 7 ER, 2 BB, 4 K,
Or the "he's never really been that good, had a nice first two months, and is now regressing to the mean" territory.
 

BaseballJones

goalpost mover
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
5,737
Maybe because blown saves is a bullshit stat? Can't argue that it's good for bullpens to give up leads but their 17 blown saves have resulted in only 9 losses. So right away, the total seems less dramatic in context. Because blown saves can happen prior to the 9th inning, giving up a lead is not a permanent issue if the offense has opportunity to come back and re-take the lead, which they have in 8 cases. Just to contrast the 2019 team's 6-9 record in games with blown saves, the 2018 team was 12-7 in the 19 games in which a blown save was recorded. In other words, relievers, even good ones, spit the bit sometimes. And often, they do it while the offense still has opportunity to turn things around again.

Save percentage is just as bullshit because it count blown saves that are effectively blown holds (the guy giving up the lead was never expected to finish the game) but does not account for holds. How about saves+holds/saves+holds+blown saves instead? (17+46)/(17+46+17)=78.75% League average = 85.14%. Still below average but not nearly as dramatically.

The bullpen has had some bad stretches. It's not a disaster. Or at least, they alone are not responsible for team's middling record.
The blown save/save % stats may not be good, but it's still an apples-to-apples comparison among all bullpens in MLB. They all have the stat playing by the same rules. Nobody can possibly make the case that - from the perspective of evaluating a bullpen - being among the very worst teams in baseball in terms of blown saves (which means you give up leads late in games) and save percentage (which means you give them up at a higher rate than other teams) is anything but bad.

Of course your offense may bail you out and you could theoretically be undefeated in games where you blow saves. Blown saves doesn't automatically mean losing games. But it's always always a bad thing for your bullpen to be handed a lead and give it away. How that can be spun positively is beyond me. BS stat or not, it does tell us how often teams' bullpens blow leads. If you blow leads more often and at a higher percentage than everyone else, that's bad. No way around it.

Doesn't mean there aren't other stats which show your bullpen is solid. Maybe you have the very best bullpen in baseball at limiting runs when you are tied or even down 1-2 runs, which is a very valuable thing, as it gives your team a chance to come back and win games. There's lots of ways of looking at bullpen stats. But blowing leads, no matter how you slice it, is bad.
 

Sampo Gida

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 7, 2010
5,038
35-7 when taking a lead into the 8th. 90-4 last year. Thats about 5 extra losses at this point this year. 49-35 and we would be much happier and ahead in the WC race at least
 

bosox79

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 22, 2002
10,143
They are both interesting. I don't see what it hurts to try them as long as they aren't expecting them to be the answers.

Houck had a much better 2nd half last year and has been pretty good his last few outings. 7 games, 2.30 era, 43.0 ip, 15bb/43k, 1 HRA. .209/.309/.278 against with a BAbip of .281.
23.8% K rate, 8.3% BB rate. You'd think a move to the pen would see his K% jump.

If Darwinzon could ever find the plate, he'd be scary good. If you're the optimistic type, you can hope that with more frequent work, he will have a more consistent release and better command. The move to the pen supposedly helped Betances repeat his delivery and we all see what that did for his career.

This year in 58.1 ip across AA-MLB, Darwinzon has 53bb/84k. 30.1% K rate, 19.0% BB rate. I don't think you'll find any successful pitchers with a 19.0% BB rate in the minors. It's not like his career rate of 13.8% is much better. The stuff is clearly there though.
 

Plympton91

bubble burster
SoSH Member
Oct 19, 2008
11,806
Here’s another way to see why the Red Sox overall rate stats for the bullpen are misleading indicators of the bullpen’s quality.

Ryan Brasier OPS against
Low leverage:566
Medium leverage: 849
High leverage:781

Matt Barnes OPS against
Low leverage: 498
Medium leverage: 630
High leverage: 707

Brandon Workman OPS against
Low leverage: 306
Medium leverage: 268
High leverage: 619

The three pitchers most counted on to get high leverage outs are all pitching like Craig Kimbrel in low leverage outings, but see significant drop offs pitching in high leverage situations (though Workman is still pretty good).

Ironically, Hembree and Walden show the opposite trend, doing better when the game is on the line. So, maybe the return of Hembree will be a short term shot in the arm and his injury an under appreciated hindrance during the putrid June.
 

In my lifetime

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 18, 2003
923
Connecticut
Splitting samples of 30-45 innings into thirds is just creating SSS. Thus of 5 pitchers, you have 2 who have better Med and High leverage pitching compared to low; 2 which have worse and 1 which has better med leverage but worse high leverage. From that you then somehow draw a conclusion......... and on top of it, you determine retrospectively or at least fail to define what is low, med and high leverage.

And there is nothing ironic about Hembree and Walden trending in the opposite direction of your hypothesis. I think the word may be inconvenient for the hypothesis.
 

Tyrone Biggums

nfl meets tri-annually at a secret country mansion
SoSH Member
Aug 15, 2006
6,133
A truly shocking development. They shouldn’t have even bothered tendering him a contract last off-season and saved whatever sum that was toward more margin of error on the luxury tax threshold.
Agreed. He's been an absolute disaster. Wish they had assets to get a real closer. If only there was someone on the market after free agency began that fit the description...
 

Green Monster

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 29, 2000
1,991
CT
Obviously single A batters are different than MLB batters, but it appears that Cody Allen may have regained his control after a mechanical tweek .....would have been nice to have him on a minor league deal


25180
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 19, 2009
4,761
He really thinks a MLB team is going to hand him the ball? He is toast.
Another MLB team will probably offer him a minor league contract. He gets paid either way.
Yeah, he's in a win-win position. Boston still has to pay out the remainder of his contract and if he gets a new deal, well it's just more money. If not, he gets to rest and rehab and work on getting his stuff back in the hopes of pitching his way onto a club or at least a MiLB deal next spring. Does he have kids? He may be happy to spend the time with them.
 

Sam Ray Not

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
5,555
NYC
It's a small consolation (to me) that Travis Shaw weirdly seems to have turned into a pumpkin this season. Still: one of the worst trades in recent memory. Adios TT.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
10,720
Maine
Yeah, he's in a win-win position. Boston still has to pay out the remainder of his contract and if he gets a new deal, well it's just more money. If not, he gets to rest and rehab and work on getting his stuff back in the hopes of pitching his way onto a club or at least a MiLB deal next spring. Does he have kids? He may be happy to spend the time with them.
Is it more money for him? I thought if you're released by one team (who pays your full salary) and sign with another (typically for league minimum), your original team is credited for the salary paid by the new team. Is that only on paper or for luxury tax purposes? I had always assumed that the player doesn't get more money, just a new environment.

As an example, the Red Sox are still paying Pablo Sandoval's contract...except for the ~$550K the Giants are paying. But Sandoval's total salary is still the $18M the original contract stipulated.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 19, 2009
4,761
Is it more money for him? I thought if you're released by one team (who pays your full salary) and sign with another (typically for league minimum), your original team is credited for the salary paid by the new team. Is that only on paper or for luxury tax purposes? I had always assumed that the player doesn't get more money, just a new environment.

As an example, the Red Sox are still paying Pablo Sandoval's contract...except for the ~$550K the Giants are paying. But Sandoval's total salary is still the $18M the original contract stipulated.
Maybe if it's a ML deal, but I don't think it counts if it's MiLB. I could be wrong, though.
 

Plympton91

bubble burster
SoSH Member
Oct 19, 2008
11,806
Please don’t say Kimbrel.
Britton was my first choice, but he would have had to be in place of Eovaldi.

Brad Brach would have been in the same salary range as Thornburg and more likely to be useful. Of course, he’s also been a disaster anyway.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
10,720
Maine
Maybe if it's a ML deal, but I don't think it counts if it's MiLB. I could be wrong, though.
A minor league deal is unlikely to be all that much money though. At least in the sense of whether it is a significant factor in a player's decision to decline an outright assignment and opt for free agency. I'm just not picturing a player looking at a choice of free agency versus Pawtucket and choosing free agency because he can get paid slightly more to play for Toledo or Albuquerque. He's doing it anticipating he will play for the Tigers or the Rockies.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 19, 2009
4,761
A minor league deal is unlikely to be all that much money though. At least in the sense of whether it is a significant factor in a player's decision to decline an outright assignment and opt for free agency. I'm just not picturing a player looking at a choice of free agency versus Pawtucket and choosing free agency because he can get paid slightly more to play for Toledo or Albuquerque. He's doing it anticipating he will play for the Tigers or the Rockies.
Entirely possible. He may also not want to pitch for the Boston organization any longer. Some credit his issues to Farrell's throwing program but it may just be that he doesn't like the way they are handling him and prefers to pitch for another organization, whether at the ML level or below. Not going to guess at reading his mind, but it's not like the organization hasn't had some issues with pitcher health these last few years and maybe it's developing a bad reputation for pitchers who are trying to come back from injuries like his. Just spitballing there, though.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
10,720
Maine
Entirely possible. He may also not want to pitch for the Boston organization any longer. Some credit his issues to Farrell's throwing program but it may just be that he doesn't like the way they are handling him and prefers to pitch for another organization, whether at the ML level or below. Not going to guess at reading his mind, but it's not like the organization hasn't had some issues with pitcher health these last few years and maybe it's developing a bad reputation for pitchers who are trying to come back from injuries like his. Just spitballing there, though.
Oh for sure. It may not even be anything the Sox did or didn't do. He may just want a change for the sake of change. Few players elect to accept an outright assignment when given the choice. Most probably do so because they feel they can contribute somewhere else at the big league level. Or they have no desire to go back to riding busses rather than flying charters.
 

shaggydog2000

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 5, 2007
5,817
Entirely possible. He may also not want to pitch for the Boston organization any longer. Some credit his issues to Farrell's throwing program but it may just be that he doesn't like the way they are handling him and prefers to pitch for another organization, whether at the ML level or below. Not going to guess at reading his mind, but it's not like the organization hasn't had some issues with pitcher health these last few years and maybe it's developing a bad reputation for pitchers who are trying to come back from injuries like his. Just spitballing there, though.
If you can find me a franchise that doesn't have pitchers who get injured, I'll eat my shoe. And not in a one year sample, a good 4-5 year run where their injury rate is dramatically lower than other teams.

Edit: I mean consistently, each year.
 
Last edited:

bosox79

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 22, 2002
10,143
Didn't Carson Smith whine about the Sox pitching program/medical staff and then ended up re-signing anyway?

I agree with the poster above tho, pitching injuries are inevitable.
 
Jun 2, 2016
590

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
10,720
Maine
Perhaps he is still injured?

I wouldn't totally write him off yet, but his time was certainly up here
The track record of players coming back from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is mixed at best. Even if he's "healthy", there's a good chance he'll never again be the pitcher he was or even an effective pitcher at all. It's a shame, because he had potential.
 

bosox79

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 22, 2002
10,143
The track record of players coming back from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is mixed at best. Even if he's "healthy", there's a good chance he'll never again be the pitcher he was or even an effective pitcher at all. It's a shame, because he had potential.
TOS is interesting because you can find a lot of physicians claiming it's not even a real thing and that people use diagnose it to describe the unknown (Fultz).
 

DeadlySplitter

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 20, 2015
18,242
clear that DD is likely stuck hoping that all the internal improvements work out. https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/redsox/2019/07/13/onball/g94d2BsRmMAlhSQXmy1adJ/story.html

Now what about the bullpen?

Dombrowski was quick to remind reporters the Red Sox will be using Nate Eovaldi in relief.

“For some reason people seem to, like, not grasp onto that. He’s a big addition for us,” he said.

Theoretically, sure. Eovaldi is a starter with primo stuff that should translate well to the bullpen. But he has not appeared in a game in three months because of elbow surgery and has only four games of relief experience since 2012.

It’s not a lock Eovaldi can stay healthy or be a successful reliever. He is scheduled to face hitters on Monday afternoon and could appear in a minor league game on Wednesday or Thursday before returning to the major league roster.

Can Eovaldi be sharp on that timetable? Perhaps. But the Sox should be more proactive than hoping a starter can come off the injured list and take on a new role in the heat of the pennant race.
 

bosockboy

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
10,524
St. Louis, MO
I couldn't find it again when I looked later but Jason Martinez (the Roster Resource guy) wrote somewhere after the Cashner deal that Boston is over $245M now, so zero wiggle room left there.
Unless they find a trade where salary is covered. But more than likely done yes.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
10,720
Maine
I couldn't find it again when I looked later but Jason Martinez (the Roster Resource guy) wrote somewhere after the Cashner deal that Boston is over $245M now, so zero wiggle room left there.
Even without knowing the exact figures, it seems obvious given the way the Cashner deal was structured (Orioles sending cash to partially cover his remaining salary) that the Sox are right up against it. They did the same thing when they acquired Pearce last year from the Jays and Kinsler from the Angels, and ended up just over the secondary threshold (Cot's says less than $1M). The couple million in savings having the cash thrown in is probably something a team well below the cap wouldn't even worry about.
 

Harry Hooper

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jan 4, 2002
25,590
I couldn't find it again when I looked later but Jason Martinez (the Roster Resource guy) wrote somewhere after the Cashner deal that Boston is over $245M now, so zero wiggle room left there.
I just looked over at rosterresouce.com. The updated luxury tax payroll (including Cashner) number for the Sox is $243,383,027.
 

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
44,106
I just looked over at rosterresouce.com. The updated luxury tax payroll (including Cashner) number for the Sox is $243,383,027.
Strange, maybe that's why I couldn't find the Martinez quote again, because he assumed BOS was taking on Cashner's full salary (?).