Building a Bullpen, 2019 edition

canderson

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Brasier optioned, Hernandez recalled

@redsox
The #RedSox today recalled LHP Darwinzon Hernandez from Triple-A Pawtucket. To make room on the 25-man roster, the club optioned RHP Ryan Brasier to Pawtucket.
 

Plympton91

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Well, this is working out just swimmingly.

No one should be at all surprised, really, that Brasier’s 2018 success was on the “mirage” portion of the “Relievers results are volatile” spectrum. He was, after all, unable to make the major leagues in Japan as recent as 2017. To make a plan whereby this career minor leaguer was a lynchpin if your bullpen in 2019 was the height of arrogance and professional malpractice.
 

chrisfont9

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Well, this is working out just swimmingly.

No one should be at all surprised, really, that Brasier’s 2018 success was on the “mirage” portion of the “Relievers results are volatile” spectrum. He was, after all, unable to make the major leagues in Japan as recent as 2017. To make a plan whereby this career minor leaguer was a lynchpin if your bullpen in 2019 was the height of arrogance and professional malpractice.
Why? Do you think his positive results last year were luck? If they weren't, why couldn't they be sustained? There are hundreds of guys who got their shit together late in the process and were fine from there. Also, I'm not sure how much they were just outright betting on the bullpen as they were trying to get by spending less on relievers, given the payroll and how bad a bet it often is to spend big on relievers. They counted on Brasier having continued success because the alternatives weren't great, and because on its face it wasn't a terrible bet.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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Brasier's had a bad year but this move is still a little surprising given that he has strikeout stuff. I'm surprised he wasn't dropped down to middle relief (6th, 7th, mop-up) and given a chance to figure it out with a little less pressure. Maybe the emergence of Taylor has made him expendable for the time being? Or is this just so he can do a mental reset against, on paper, lesser talent and regain his confidence? Does he come back up before the end of the year?
 

bosox79

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Brasier's had a bad year but this move is still a little surprising given that he has strikeout stuff. I'm surprised he wasn't dropped down to middle relief (6th, 7th, mop-up) and given a chance to figure it out with a little less pressure. Maybe the emergence of Taylor has made him expendable for the time being? Or is this just so he can do a mental reset against, on paper, lesser talent and regain his confidence? Does he come back up before the end of the year?
Brasier doesn't have strike out stuff. He has a below average K%. I'm surprised they send him to AAA too, though. Darwinzon, on other hand, does have strike out stuff. He just has no clue where the ball is going after he throws it.
 

chrisfont9

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Brasier's had a bad year but this move is still a little surprising given that he has strikeout stuff. I'm surprised he wasn't dropped down to middle relief (6th, 7th, mop-up) and given a chance to figure it out with a little less pressure. Maybe the emergence of Taylor has made him expendable for the time being? Or is this just so he can do a mental reset against, on paper, lesser talent and regain his confidence? Does he come back up before the end of the year?
Yeah, I guess they wanted to give him a more significant mental break.
 

mfried

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Brasier is 75-90% sure to come back in the roster expansion period if not earlier.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Brasier threw three days in a row. He was the best candidate to be optioned to get a fresh arm up. Doesn't hurt that he's not been all that sharp of late. Probably could use the break and get himself back on track.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Brasier doesn't have strike out stuff. He has a below average K%. I'm surprised they send him to AAA too, though. Darwinzon, on other hand, does have strike out stuff. He just has no clue where the ball is going after he throws it.
His SSS numbers since being turned into a FT reliever suggest he has at least a slight clue... and most likely a strike.
 

Plympton91

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His SSS numbers since being turned into a FT reliever suggest he has at least a slight clue... and most likely a strike.
Andrew Miller turned into a relief ace within 12 months of converting to full time relief. As a reliever, you pick your 2 best pitches, and perfect them. As a starter, you have to have 3 and you’d like 4. That takes time and effort away from commanding the first 2.

I’m optimistic on Darwizon. At least this blown season may have the silver lining identifying a cheap bullpen core for 2020.
 

bosox79

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Andrew Miller turned into a relief ace within 12 months of converting to full time relief. As a reliever, you pick your 2 best pitches, and perfect them. As a starter, you have to have 3 and you’d like 4. That takes time and effort away from commanding the first 2.
Darwinzon clearly has the stuff to get batters out so it's just a matter of not walking the ballpark. If/when he gets that under control, it's off to the races. I've mentioned this a bunch, but I've heard some people suggest (including a Whitesox scout at Hadlock Field) a move to the bullpen would help him repeat his delivery a la Dellin Betances, thus improving his control and command. Only working on 2 pitches instead of 4 will help as well.

If I sounded pessimistic on him I didn't mean to. I'm actually optimistic that he'll be effectively wild and have a bb/9 of closer to 4.5-5 than 7-8 out of the bullpen. He can get by on the former, not the latter.
 

Plympton91

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Josh Taylor! Come on down! You’re the next contestant on “Who’s the Red Sox set up man!”

Wah WAH WAAAAHHH (attempt to mimic the Price is Right 3-note you’re a loser music)

We’re sorry, you too can’t maintain the stuff and composure you show in blowouts when you’re asked to handle a small lead.

Who’s next?
 

Bob Montgomery's Helmet Hat

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Oh, I guess this is a game thread now.

Taylor gave up a home run tonight. How dare he. Time to take him out back and shoot him.

Any objective, moderately knowledgeable baseball fan can see that his stuff is really good. He's an asset to build on despite the fact that he has the audacity to not be perfect. He has the kind of arm that we covet when other teams have.
 

Plympton91

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Oh, I guess this is a game thread now.

Taylor gave up a home run tonight. How dare he. Time to take him out back and shoot him.

Any objective, moderately knowledgeable baseball fan can see that his stuff is really good. He's an asset to build on despite the fact that he has the audacity to not be perfect. He has the kind of arm that we covet when other teams have.
The substance of the post is the same substance I’ve been harping on since last winter. The Red Sox have the largest supply of quality 10th, 11th, and 12th men on a pitching staff in all of Major League Baseball. Hembree, Velazquez, Johnson, Brasier, Lakins, Hernandez, etc. All people every team except the Yankees (who don’t need any help) would be happy to have pitching when they’re ahead by at least 5 or losing by more than 2. In Low leverage situations, they’re warriors. The Sons of John Wasdin.

Taylor looks like he’s another one to add to that stable. You’re right that he’s got great stuff. Can he command that stuff in a tight game? Not yet apparently.

But it’s ok, I was told all winter that Durbin Feltman would be closing by September this year. So I’ll just wait for him.
 
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rhswanzey

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Has anyone looked at where we are at for net 2 straight/3 straight/3 out of 4 stress appearances as compared to last season? I feel like we knew we were getting less bullpen production this year, but the performance gap is being exaggerated by being perpetually behind the 8 ball on usage. Usage and fatigue impacts performance. Some of these arms would be more consistent if used less, but we ain’t in a perfect world.

For all it’s warts, the bullpen as a unit leads the majors in K/9. It is also comfortably second in total appearances, despite not carrying 1-2 out specialists.

Back in ST, guys like Bradford had a little bit of fun with Cora calling Johnson and Velazquez staff MVPs last year. I don’t think we heard Cora loudly enough there. Not sure a single opener was used pre expanded rosters last year. This year, both long men have rarely been in the pen. Even when in the rotation, Velazquez was given the shortest of leashes with an often unmet target of 9-12 outs.

At this point last year, we were well into 6 ERA Kelly mode and hadn’t discovered Braiser yet. It’s not like the pen was suddenly viewed as a weakness because Kimbrel and Kelly left. It was seen as a huge liability that was papered over by Eovaldi and to a lesser extent Price all October long.
 
Jun 12, 2019
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Has anyone looked at where we are at for net 2 straight/3 straight/3 out of 4 stress appearances as compared to last season? I feel like we knew we were getting less bullpen production this year, but the performance gap is being exaggerated by being perpetually behind the 8 ball on usage. Usage and fatigue impacts performance. Some of these arms would be more consistent if used less, but we ain’t in a perfect world.

For all it’s warts, the bullpen as a unit leads the majors in K/9. It is also comfortably second in total appearances, despite not carrying 1-2 out specialists.

Back in ST, guys like Bradford had a little bit of fun with Cora calling Johnson and Velazquez staff MVPs last year. I don’t think we heard Cora loudly enough there. Not sure a single opener was used pre expanded rosters last year. This year, both long men have rarely been in the pen. Even when in the rotation, Velazquez was given the shortest of leashes with an often unmet target of 9-12 outs.

At this point last year, we were well into 6 ERA Kelly mode and hadn’t discovered Braiser yet. It’s not like the pen was suddenly viewed as a weakness because Kimbrel and Kelly left. It was seen as a huge liability that was papered over by Eovaldi and to a lesser extent Price all October long.
Completely false. Price appeared in exactly one game in relief in the postseason. It was ERod who generally came out of the bullpen, and he put up a 6.23 ERA in his relief innings.
The bullpen was fourth in the AL in ERA last year despite a whole lot of innings from flotsam and jetsam like Thornburg, Scott, Poyner, and an injured Pomeranz. Astute fans knew that the core members of Kimbrel, Kelly, Barnes, Brasier, Hembree, and Workman was actually quite good, and just those six pitchers (all you need for the postseason) compared favorably to the front six of any other playoff team. You must have been listening to too many WEEI "hot takes" last year.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Completely false. Price appeared in exactly one game in relief in the postseason. It was ERod who generally came out of the bullpen, and he put up a 6.23 ERA in his relief innings.
The bullpen was fourth in the AL in ERA last year despite a whole lot of innings from flotsam and jetsam like Thornburg, Scott, Poyner, and an injured Pomeranz. Astute fans knew that the core members of Kimbrel, Kelly, Barnes, Brasier, Hembree, and Workman was actually quite good, and just those six pitchers (all you need for the postseason) compared favorably to the front six of any other playoff team. You must have been listening to too many WEEI "hot takes" last year.
I think most of SoSH would be in the "Astute Fan" group.... and I'd guess about 90% of the posters here were horribly worried about the bullpen heading into the playoffs. It was the Kimbrell and Barnes show. Kelly was unpredictable and was close to not making the playoff rosters... Brasier was a complete unknown that had never had any success in MLB prior. Hembree was at best a 6th inning guy.... Workman was inconsistent and not even close to being a core bullpen arm last year. Even Barnes had a pretty horrible stretch and was, at best, also considered a 7th inning guy. People here were pretty disappointed they didn't go out and get a BP arm at the deadline. The BP in '18 heading into the playoffs was still a massive liability (along with Sale's faltering 2nd half performance.... and question marks about Price's ability in "big games").
 
Jun 12, 2019
35
I think most of SoSH would be in the "Astute Fan" group.... and I'd guess about 90% of the posters here were horribly worried about the bullpen heading into the playoffs. It was the Kimbrell and Barnes show. Kelly was unpredictable and was close to not making the playoff rosters... Brasier was a complete unknown that had never had any success in MLB prior. Hembree was at best a 6th inning guy.... Workman was inconsistent and not even close to being a core bullpen arm last year. Even Barnes had a pretty horrible stretch and was, at best, also considered a 7th inning guy. People here were pretty disappointed they didn't go out and get a BP arm at the deadline. The BP in '18 heading into the playoffs was still a massive liability (along with Sale's faltering 2nd half performance.... and question marks about Price's ability in "big games").
Workman appeared in 43 games after his recall on June 5 and put up a 136 ERA+. Remove his last appearance of the season and he had a 2.68 ERA. How on earth was he "inconsistent" and "not a core member"?

The 2018 playoff bullpen had six pitchers with an ERA+ of at least 100. Only the Astros could do the same. With the exception of Kimbrel, they didn't have a stud reliever, but they had guys who were good enough to piece together three innings to get to the closer.
 

Green Monster

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So the plan is for Eovaldi to assist the Red Sox bullpen.....he has one rehab appearance at AAA (does great) and then the Sox have some debate about weather he should do a second rehab appearance or just proceed to the Red Sox.......he is sent to the Sox and then doesn't make an appearance all weekend. I know they didn't need a "closer" in any of the games, but wouldn't a garbage inning in a one-sided game have made sense? What am I missing??
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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So the plan is for Eovaldi to assist the Red Sox bullpen.....he has one rehab appearance at AAA (does great) and then the Sox have some debate about weather he should do a second rehab appearance or just proceed to the Red Sox.......he is sent to the Sox and then doesn't make an appearance all weekend. I know they didn't need a "closer" in any of the games, but wouldn't a garbage inning in a one-sided game have made sense? What am I missing??
A "garbage" inning is something you throw to your closer if he's been idle for a week and you're unconcerned about him being unavailable the next day as a result. What good does it do to Eovaldi for a "garbage" inning in the blowout on Saturday if that renders him unavailable for Sunday when they might need him for an important inning? Or on Sunday if he won't be able to pitch Monday?

Here in lies the problem with using a delicate pitcher in a dedicated role that comes with particular expectations (and conditions). They're saving him for a certain game situation, but can't afford to waste him in any other spot just to get him work/reps because he then could be unavailable for that certain game situation you save him for. I wasn't really on board with using Eovaldi out of the bullpen when he could be starting, but that horse is out of the barn at this point. If they are going to use him as a reliever, I wish they'd just said he's moving to the bullpen to join in with the rest to be used situationally rather than name him the closer. Let Cora use him when he needs him (as he does with Barnes and the others) and rest him when he needs rest, and if he picks up a few saves along the way, so be it. If once he's got his feet under him and he's shown he can work back to back days without worry, then maybe you make him the closer officially if that's what is needed to appease the baseball cognoscenti.
 

Plympton91

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I do not understand how Eovaldi can be expected to miss three months after undergoing surgery and then step onto a major league mound in a real game after 1 rehab appearance. I mean, three months is the same as Nov. Dec. Jan., after which normal teams have their pitchers do 6 weeks of scrimmage games. But not the Red Sox. Nope. 1 game in Pawtucket and right into the fire he goes.

The Red Sox make almost no use of rehab assignments and it costs them again and again and again. Thankfully, tonight’s debacle came in a blowout, precisely the kind of blowout people spent the precious half page telling us he wouldn’t be used in.

Where is 2018 Cora? I like him a lot better.
 

Benni

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Day 1 of the Eovaldi experiment is a failure. Where is Kimbral? Oh that’s right saving games in Chicago because of flawed thinking of management. Didn’t we already try this closer by committee years ago with Epstein and look he went and got a proven closer for hiis ball club. So people learn from their mistakes. I hope it works out with Eovaldi but I have my doubts.
 

bosox79

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Day 1 of the Eovaldi experiment is a failure. Where is Kimbral? Oh that’s right saving games in Chicago because of flawed thinking of management. Didn’t we already try this closer by committee years ago with Epstein and look he went and got a proven closer for hiis ball club. So people learn from their mistakes. I hope it works out with Eovaldi but I have my doubts.
This isn't a game day thread. Make better quality posts.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Day 1 of the Eovaldi experiment is a failure. Where is Kimbral? Oh that’s right saving games in Chicago because of flawed thinking of management. Didn’t we already try this closer by committee years ago with Epstein and look he went and got a proven closer for hiis ball club. So people learn from their mistakes. I hope it works out with Eovaldi but I have my doubts.
Epstein did NOT go out and get a "proven closer". He went out and traded for a starting pitcher. A starting pitcher who the manager decided to move to the bullpen to be the closer a month later because the manager was a bumbling and uncreative fool. Alex Cora is not that.
 

bosox79

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Epstein did NOT go out and get a "proven closer". He went out and traded for a starting pitcher. A starting pitcher who the manager decided to move to the bullpen to be the closer a month later because the manager was a bumbling and uncreative fool. Alex Cora is not that.
Semantics, no? Kim was a proven closer, not a proven starter. He had all of 7 starts when the Sox traded for him, compared to 70 saves. And of course Kim was universally HATED and stunk up the joint and wasn't even used in the playoffs. IIRC, he was even left off the roster for the last 2 rounds.

That proven closer sure did us a lot of good.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Semantics, no? Kim was a proven closer, not a proven starter. He had all of 7 starts when the Sox traded for him, compared to 70 saves.
I can concede that Kim was a "proven" closer in the sense that he had 70 saves to his credit. However, if the intent of acquiring Kim was to close and "fix" the mistake of going with a closer by committee approach, why did he make five starts before moving to the bullpen?
 

bosox79

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I can concede that Kim was a "proven" closer in the sense that he had 70 saves to his credit. However, if the intent of acquiring Kim was to close and "fix" the mistake of going with a closer by committee approach, why did he make five starts before moving to the bullpen?
Because you remember incorrectly. https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.fcgi?id=kimby01&t=p&year=2003

2 of his first 3 appearances with the Sox were in MR. Little was using him on 2 days rest and shit.

edit: He was actually really good out of the pen too. I'm not sure why he was hated so much. After the full move back. 47.1 ip, 10bb/50k, 2.28 era, .190/.260/.247 against.
 

Devizier

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Kim had the bad relief rep from Arizona due to his playoff meltdowns. I also think there were some other, less flattering reasons that people didn’t like him. This was during the time of ubiquitous “Ichiro is a slap hitter” and other reactionary takes, IIRC.
 

joe dokes

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Thankfully, tonight’s debacle came in a blowout, precisely the kind of blowout people spent the precious half page telling us he wouldn’t be used in.

Where is 2018 Cora? I like him a lot better.
So basically you're criticizing the manager for *not* folowing the lead of the SoSH ass-couch brigade, but instead using Eovaldi in a blowout? I prefer a manager who, to paraphrase Warner Wolf, "takes our advice and goes the other way."
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Because you remember incorrectly. https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.fcgi?id=kimby01&t=p&year=2003

2 of his first 3 appearances with the Sox were in MR. Little was using him on 2 days rest and shit.

edit: He was actually really good out of the pen too. I'm not sure why he was hated so much. After the full move back. 47.1 ip, 10bb/50k, 2.28 era, .190/.260/.247 against.
Middle relief, not closing, but still, he made five starts and it was a month before he was officially moved to the bullpen and named the closer.

His usage bordered on criminal because the manager was a bone head. Is it any wonder why he broke down and was unavailable for that post-season?
 

bosox79

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Middle relief, not closing, but still, he made five starts and it was a month before he was officially moved to the bullpen and named the closer.

His usage bordered on criminal because the manager was a bone head. Is it any wonder why he broke down and was unavailable for that post-season?
He was available and was in the 1st round. They chose to leave him off the roster. He may have very well been broken down though.

edit: They were also facing the Yankees and Kim/Yankees was a thing.
 

Sam Ray Not

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Day 1 of the Eovaldi experiment is a failure. Where is Kimbral? [sic] Oh that’s right saving games in Chicago because of flawed thinking of management. Didn’t we already try this closer by committee years ago with Epstein and look he went and got a proven closer for hiis ball club. So people learn from their mistakes. I hope it works out with Eovaldi but I have my doubts.
Not sure who Kimbral is, but Craig Kimbrel has pitched 8.2 innings for the Cubs this season and given up 13 baserunners (6 hits, 7 walks). Tiny sample, but the 7.3 BB/9 is particularly worrisome (for the Cubs) in the context of the 4.5 he allowed last season, 5.1 in 2016, and 6.5 in last last year's playoffs. Even over his mostly stellar career, he's a pretty mediocre 3.5 (compare Koji at 1.5, sigh). And at age 31 he's pretty clearly in decline.

We have our maddeningly high-BB / high-K, tear-your-hair-out late inning guy in Barnes. Evo's the opposite of that, in that arguably his best quality is his avoidance of free passes (1.6 BB/9 last year in 111.0 IP, 1.2 BB/9 in his 22.1 playoff IP). Last night's poor one-game sample notwithstanding, I'm looking forward to adding him to the bullpen mix.
 

WestMassExpat

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Not sure who Kimbral is, but Craig Kimbrel has pitched 8.2 innings for the Cubs this season and given up 13 baserunners (6 hits, 7 walks). Tiny sample, but the 7.3 BB/9 is particularly worrisome (for the Cubs) in the context of the 4.5 he allowed last season, 5.1 in 2016, and 6.5 in last last year's playoffs. Even over his mostly stellar career, he's a pretty mediocre 3.5 (compare Koji at 1.5, sigh). And at age 31 he's pretty clearly in decline.

We have our maddeningly high-BB / high-K, tear-your-hair-out late inning guy in Barnes. Evo's the opposite of that, in that arguably his best quality is his avoidance of free passes (1.6 BB/9 last year in 111.0 IP, 1.2 BB/9 in his 22.1 playoff IP). Last night's poor one-game sample notwithstanding, I'm looking forward to adding him to the bullpen mix.
A couple of nitpicks: 1) you obviously know who Kimbral is because you corrected the name to the proper spelling; 2) in his 6 most recent appearances (all but his first 2.2 IP), Kimbrel's line is 6 IP, 0 ER, 5 BB, 9 SO. And who knows how much his daughter's medical condition last season contributed to his "clearly in decline"?

That said, I'm happy the Red Sox didn't lock him up long term.
 
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Sam Ray Not

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A couple of nitpicks: 1) you obviously know who Kimbral is because you corrected the name to the proper spelling
LOL, thanks. Just to be clear: "I'm not sure who Kimbral is" was a smartass way of saying "you misspelled the name of a guy who pitched for the Red Sox for three seasons, silly." But thanks for your concern for anyone here who might have read it differently. (Which, to be clear, is a smartass way of saying "you didn't really need to point that out," haha).

2) in his 6 most recent appearances (all but his first 22. IP), Kimbrel's line is 6 IP, 0 ER, 5 BB, 9 SO. And who knows how much his daughter's medical condition last season contributed to his "clearly in decline"?
I mean even in that tiny, cherrypicked sample, 5 BB in 6 IP is problematic. And I provided his career numbers, which suggest that in terms of control his career year in 2017 was far more anomalous than last season.

Kimbrel BB/9 last five-plus seasons:

2014: 3.8
2015: 3.3
2016: 5.1
2017: 1.8
2018: 4.5 (6.5 playoffs)
2019: 7.3
 
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bosox79

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I mean even in that tiny, cherrypicked sample, 5 BB in 6 IP is problematic. And I provided his career numbers, which suggest that his career year in 2017 was far more anomalous than last season.
In that sample size, (24 batters faced) he's walking more than 20% of the batters he has faced. That's worse than Darwinzon. Of course the sample size is incredibly small and we all see what Brandon Workman is doing with a bb/9 of 6.1 this year, or walking 17.0% of the batters he faces.

I'm not high on him, but there are a lot of pitchers getting by with high k%, high bb% rates. Hard to do damage against a pitcher if you never put the ball in play.
 

Al Zarilla

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Not sure who Kimbral is, but Craig Kimbrel has pitched 8.2 innings for the Cubs this season and given up 13 baserunners (6 hits, 7 walks). Tiny sample, but the 7.3 BB/9 is particularly worrisome (for the Cubs) in the context of the 4.5 he allowed last season, 5.1 in 2016, and 6.5 in last last year's playoffs. Even over his mostly stellar career, he's a pretty mediocre 3.5 (compare Koji at 1.5, sigh). And at age 31 he's pretty clearly in decline.

We have our maddeningly high-BB / high-K, tear-your-hair-out late inning guy in Barnes. Evo's the opposite of that, in that arguably his best quality is his avoidance of free passes (1.6 BB/9 last year in 111.0 IP, 1.2 BB/9 in his 22.1 playoff IP). Last night's poor one-game sample notwithstanding, I'm looking forward to adding him to the bullpen mix.
I’ve watched a couple of Kimbrel’s saves for the Cubs and it’s like late last year. He blows away a guy with the devastating curve and fastball. Oh, he’s back. Then he walks a hitter or two, throwing completely wild, easy take pitches. And then, somebody times the fastball and knocks in a run or two. I feel bad for the guy except that he still makes a mountain of money.
 

Sam Ray Not

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I'm not high on him, but there are a lot of pitchers getting by with high k%, high bb% rates. Hard to do damage against a pitcher if you never put the ball in play.
True. But given that our two best / highest-leverage relievers (Workman and Barnes) currently are both high-K% / low-contact / frustratingly high-BB% RHP in the Kimbrel mold, I kinda like mixing things up with a borderline elite control guy like Eovaldi. I'm not sure if studies have shown there's any intrinsic value to that kind of "control diversity" in a bullpen, but for the sake of my 60-70% remaining non-grey hair alone, I like knowing we have one high-lev guy in the pen who isn't going to walk the park. A 7th-8th-9th of Workman (6.1 BB/9) Barnes (4.5), and Kimbrel (7.3) might have been the death of me.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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He was available and was in the 1st round. They chose to leave him off the roster. He may have very well been broken down though.

edit: They were also facing the Yankees and Kim/Yankees was a thing.
He made one appearance in the ALDS, in Game 1, faced four batters, walked one, hit one, and was lifted with 2 outs in the 9th and a 1 run lead. The only other appearance he made the rest of the series was when he flipped off a booing crowd before Game 3 at Fenway. I don't think it can be argued that they didn't need their closer the rest of the series (not with Derek Lowe being called upon to close out Game 5). I also don't think leaving him off the roster in the ALCS was a Yankee thing. He was determined to be unavailable before the Yankees series began. Suggests injury or fatigue to me.
 

Benni

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Jun 14, 2019
20
A couple of nitpicks: 1) you obviously know who Kimbral is because you corrected the name to the proper spelling; 2) in his 6 most recent appearances (all but his first 2.2 IP), Kimbrel's line is 6 IP, 0 ER, 5 BB, 9 SO. And who knows how much his daughter's medical condition last season contributed to his "clearly in decline"?

That said, I'm happy the Red Sox didn't lock him up long term.
I understand the long term commitment to Kimbrel but he was the difference in the bullpen because everyone else dropped back into lower leverage rolls which they seem to handle better. He has 8 appearance and 6 saves with the Cubs. I think his first outing was a disaster and has been reliable after that. I believe he is the difference in the Red Sox poor season. Not him personally but the Sox not having a closer to put everyone else in their lesser rolls where they belong.
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
13,351
I understand the long term commitment to Kimbrel but he was the difference in the bullpen because everyone else dropped back into lower leverage rolls which they seem to handle better. He has 8 appearance and 6 saves with the Cubs. I think his first outing was a disaster and has been reliable after that. I believe he is the difference in the Red Sox poor season. Not him personally but the Sox not having a closer to put everyone else in their lesser rolls where they belong.
"Not closer" is not the same thing as "less leverage."

4 of Barnes 6 blown saves this year were in the 7th or 8th inning. When he probably would have been pitching anyway. Only 2 were in the 9th.

None of Workman's 4 were in the 9th. 1 was in the 7th, 3 were in the 8th, when he probably would have been pitching anyway.

Brasier has one BS in the 7th and 2 in the 9th.

So even if they had Kimbrel or some other "closer," Barnes and Workman -- as the two best not-closers -- would likely be pitching in the 7th and 8th innings.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
11,001
Maine
"Not closer" is not the same thing as "less leverage."

4 of Barnes 6 blown saves this year were in the 7th or 8th inning. When he probably would have been pitching anyway. Only 2 were in the 9th.

None of Workman's 4 were in the 9th. 1 was in the 7th, 3 were in the 8th, when he probably would have been pitching anyway.

Brasier has one BS in the 7th and 2 in the 9th.

So even if they had Kimbrel or some other "closer," Barnes and Workman -- as the two best not-closers -- would likely be pitching in the 7th and 8th innings.
Great post. The lack of a nominal closer hasn't really been the problem, since as you point out, a lot of the blown saves (blown leads) have come before the 9th when the closer wouldn't make any sort of a difference. The problem has been over-use of their best relievers because the rotation hasn't covered as many innings as it realistically should.
 

DeadlySplitter

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Oct 20, 2015
19,453
a couple names DFA'd today that you could get for nothing and MLB minimum wage, but of course not much upside:
-Matt Harvey (outright released)
-Chasen Shreve
-Seunghwan Oh
 

Benni

lurker
Jun 14, 2019
20
Great post. The lack of a nominal closer hasn't really been the problem, since as you point out, a lot of the blown saves (blown leads) have come before the 9th when the closer wouldn't make any sort of a difference. The problem has been over-use of their best relievers because the rotation hasn't covered as many innings as it realistically should.
That is a misleading point. Having a go to closer allows the manager to mix and match his pitchers and shuffle them around depending on the situation—ex. Right lefty etc. Also it puts less pressure on the pen because rolls become more defined and pitchers get more comfortable with their roll. Don’t undervalue that ball players are creatures of habit and will perform better in situation where they feel the most comfortable and confident.