Friday, March 27, 2009

Bullpens

I went back and it turns out that I did the the third starters after all so I just need to make this post and one last post to sum it all up

Yankees- Mariano Rivera is one of a very exclusive group of relievers who manage to stay incredibly dominant for more than just a couple years. He seems to be recovering on schedule from his shoulder injury and will be ready by Opening Day baring any setbacks. He is getting older though and you have to wonder how many years he has left. The guy expected to fill the 8th inning role is Damaso Marte. He, like most relievers, has been very inconsistent over the years. All in all he's been a good setup man and the fact that he's left-handed doesn't hurt. His contract was probably a bad idea but they could've done worse. Behind these two is a long list of potential middle relievers/setup men. To list them all would be pointless but you have to think that a handful of them will stick in the major leagues. The wild card here is Mark Melancon. If he keeps dominating AAA then he'll be up in no time. The Yanks bullpen won't be a concern unless Rivera falls off a cliff.

Red Sox- Boston also seems to have found a top knotch closer in Jonathan Papelbon (who is a prime contender to replace Curt Schilling as the biggest A-hole in baseball). He made the switch from the rotation back in 2005 and he hasn't looked back since. His numbers the past three years have been very close to Rivera's and he's much younger. So, this may be the year he claims the title of best closer in the AL East. Hideki Okajima was also a great find by Theo Epstein. It gives them a formidable combination at the end of games that rivals the Yankees. . Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen are also promising. However, after that things thin out. Justin Masterson and Javy Lopez don't really inspire much confidence and Takashi Saito could be a stroke of brilliance or a disaster. If he can recover from his injury well then they have a devestating combination at the end of the game. However, the odds are against that. All in all, another great bullpen.

Rays- I hate to admit it but before this post, I knew absolutely nothing about the Rays bullpen. Thats kind of because they flat out suck. Troy Percivical, their closer, has very rarely been great and last year he was awful. On the Yankees or Red Sox he might not make the cut. At first glance, Dan Wheeler provides a glimmer of hope. However, his DIPS stats have been in decline for the past few years and are largely uninspiring. Not terrible, but not great either. After that, things get better. J. P. Howell and Grant Balfour seem promising. However, the bullpen just isn't on the same level as the Yanks and Sox.

Conclusion- Red Sox- Yankees- Rays- The Yanks and Sox are really close on this one. However, I went with Boston mainly because I have more faith in Papelbon than Rivera at this stage in their careers. On the other hand, if anything ever happed to Rivera, Joba might join the bullpen and fill the hole. Boston also has the tremendous potential of Takashi Saito. I won't argue with anyone who put the Yankees first here though. The Rays are clearly trailing the pack here. Of course, bullpens are extremely volatile and I questioned whether I wanted to make a post like this at all.