Friday, May 1, 2009

April Progress Report: Bullpen

[21 games into the season represents roughly 1/8th of the schedule, and the end of the first month seems like a good time to analyze what has thus far occurred. Following a tradition started by Boston Bren, mid-term evaluations are called Progress Reports (not Report Cards). These ratings are somewhat subjective, as they attempt to balance expectations and salary with value contributed to the team.

We already tackled the starting rotation, the infield, and the outfield

(Click to enlarge)

By dissecting results after 21 games, we are already trafficking in small sample sizes. The fact that relievers have seen the least action of any group of players only exacerbates this problem. As I mentioned going into yesterday's game, the Yanks had the 2nd worst bullpen in the majors. Let's just take an overview to see what has gone wrong so far, and how bad it really is.

First of all, the bullpen has pitched 71 innings this year and surrendered 51 earned runs, good for a 6.46 ERA. However, if you want to be a super-apologist you could take into account that 21 of those runs came in 14 innings after Chien Ming Wang had been pulled from his two worst starts, in games that were all but over. Removing those from the equation, their ERA is 4.74, good for 19th in the MLB. Again, not good, but certainly better.

Mariano's numbers don't tell the entire story because he allowed two of Jonathan Albaledjo's inherited runners to score on Wednesday night, deflating his ERA and inflating Albie's. (He does have a 13K/0BB ratio, however). Jose Veras has a solid WHIP and good strikeout numbers but a bloated ERA because of one performance against Cleveland (the 22-4 game) where he gave up 3 runs without getting an out.

The bullpen has been poor, but there is reason to be optimistic, I think. Hopefully Brain Bruney comes back from the DL and picks up where he left off. I like what I've seen from Mark Melancon so far and David Roberston's minor league numbers are fantastic. It hasn't been a bring been a bright spot so far, but I'm willing to bet that the 'pen will be significantly better in May than it was in April.

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