Triple-R: The Bullpen

Any discussion about the Yankee bullpen starts and ends with this man. Courtesy of UPI/John Angelillo.

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

Since I did such a bang up job predicting the rotation that will no longer include almost half of the analyzed members, I figured I might as well see this series all the way through to its conclusion.  With what happened last time, maybe there’s some Triple-R karma left over from the Pineda trade and a few days after this is posted the Yankees will somehow add Craig Kimbrel and Sean Marshall to the bullpen before the season starts.  But if not, here’s what we can expect from the current members of the Yankee ‘pen.

Mariano Rivera- Remain

At this point, history, logic, and conventional wisdom can basically go out the window with Mo.  He is doing things in his 40s and performing at a level that nobody else in sports, save for maybe Nicklas Lidstrom, is doing. … Click here to read the rest

A look at the bullpens of the prospective AL postseason teams

Former Yankeeist readers will recall that last September in the weeks leading up to the postseason we ran a handful of posts that functioned as something of a pre-preview of the playoffs. Rest assured that once we know who the Yankees are actually facing in the ALDS we’ll be publishing our customary disgustingly comprehensive playoff preview over several posts, but in the meantime I thought we’d get a head start and take a gander at certain aspects of the prospective postseason teams. Today we’ll compare bullpens (here’s last year’s post).

One important caveat to take into account with any comparison of full-season team stats is that obviously the stat lines are the product of every single player who donned a uniform for a given team that season; as such in some cases the team numbers will probably be slightly improved once teams pare their rosters back down to who they feel are their best 25 players. That said, I still think a 162-game sample composed primarily of statistics from men whom one would expect to make the postseason roster can be a helpful barometer when assessing and comparing a team’s relative strengths and weaknesses against each other.… Click here to read the rest

C'Torre, Destroyer of Arms

With Scott Proctor back on the Yankees’ roster, I’ve been looking back at the way the club used relievers at the end of the Joe Torre era. Torre had a reputation for burning through his best arms, leaning on any decent reliever he could find for as long as the player was reasonably effective and then discarding him when the inevitable arm troubles popped up. I went looking through the numbers assuming that the nature of Torre’s bullpen usage had probably become exaggerated with time, but the data shows that Torre was about as abusive as people claim.

I compared Torre’s last 4 seasons to Girardi’s first 4 (the last of which still has 16 games left) to try and see how the usage patterns differed. Here is how it breaks down:

[table id=53 /]

As you can see, Torre had no qualms about using relievers for 70+ innings or 70+ appearances, something that Girardi has simply been unwilling to do.… Click here to read the rest

Thinking About Noesi's Future

Hector Noesi has had a very solid first season in Pinstripes, working out of the bullpen to the tune of a 3.42 ERA and 3.60 FIP in 47.1 innings. He has actually been more impressive than those numbers reflect, as he had two terrible outings that skew his numbers drastically. In his other 22 appearances, Noesi has put up a stellar line of 39 H, 9ER, 35 K’s, 12 BB, 3HR, and a 1.82 ERA/3.09 FIP in 44.2 innings. His stuff has looked quite impressive, with two fastballs (4-seamer and 2-seamer) showing good life at 92-95 MPH, a slider that gets plenty of swinging strikes (26.5% whiff rate), and a curve and changeup that he mixes is on occasion to keep batters guessing. While he was sent down yesterday, he will be back with the club shortly, and has a good chance to win a spot on the postseason roster.

That sums up Noesi’s recent past and his present. The interesting angle when it comes to Hector is his future, which Joe Pawlikowski at RAB touched on recently:

His presence should leave the Yankees in a flexible position this winter.

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Yankee Bullpen Thriving Again

Jay Jaffe over at Pinstriped Bible recently took a look at the Yankees’ bullpen and liked what he saw:

Add it all up and the Yankee bullpen now has the AL’s lowest ERA at 3.08, its second-best strikeout rate at 8.1 per nine (the Red Sox are .0024 behind them in that department), and its fourth-best strikeout-to-unintentional walk ratio at 2.6. Furthermore, the bullpen has allowed just 23.9 percent of inherited runners to score, the league’s second-best mark, and they’ve taken the loss a league-low 10 times, for whatever that’s worth. The Yankees are 59-6 (.908) when leading after six innings, 2.5 wins better than the average AL team under such circumstances.

So despite the loss of Soriano for an extended spell and Joba Chamberlain for the remainder of the season, despite the annoying presence of Hamburger Helper in the form of Amauri Sanit, Buddy Carlyle, Sergio Mitre, and Lance Pendleton, the Yankees have once again emerged with a quality relief corps.

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Yankees Need More Length From Rotation

Tommy Bennett over at BP checks in with a look at bullpen usage through the first 13 games:

Given the workload they have been asked to bear and the skill with which they’ve borne it, it may not be surprising to learn that Padres relievers have thrown a higher percentage of their team’s innings than any other. At 42 percent through the first 11 games, the Padres featured one of just five bullpens to have thrown more than 40 percent of its team’s innings. The others—the Mets, the Yankees, the Royals, and the Orioles—all share the same characteristic asymmetry between the quality of the starters and the quality of the bullpen….

Let’s take the Yankees. Their search for a fourth and fifth starter has been very closely watched, and even their supposedly more dependable options have struggled of late. Beyond CC Sabathia, they have four guys who cannot be counted on to give them six innings every time out. By contrast, the Yankees spent much of the winter assembling a very expensive bullpen.

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David Robertson, Fireman

David Robertson got the win yesterday against the Red Sox, pitching 1.2 innings after coming on with two on and one out in the 5th inning. The excellent Chad Jennings caught up with him after the game to discuss his role on the club:

In the Yankees bullpen, Dave Robertson is kind of the fourth musketeer. He’s not the closer, he’s not the setup man, and he’s not Joba Chamberlain. That leaves him decidedly hidden in the shadows of bigger names and bolder personalities.

“I like where I’m at,” Robertson said. “I kind of slide under the radar. Just leave me there.”
[…]
Mariano Rivera and Rafael Soriano came into the season with clearly defined eighth- and ninth-inning roles, and Chamberlain has taken over the seventh. Boone Logan is the lefty, Bartolo Colon is the long man and Ayala is handling mop-up duty. That leaves Robertson.

He seems to be a kind of fire extinguisher. He’s the guy who gets ready in the middle of an inning, asked to settle a problem before it becomes a four-alarm disaster.

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Predicting The 2011 Opening Day Roster, Take 2

Joe Girardi is expected to finalize the Opening Day roster tomorrow, so I thought today would be a good time to predict what his roster will look like. Of course, most of the roster has already been announced, so this should be a fairly simple exercise. Here is my first try at the roster, written 10 days ago. There is just one change, but injuries might alter the roster further.

Everyday Players

C Russell Martin
1B Mark Teixeira
2B Robinson Cano
SS Derek Jeter
3B Alex Rodriguez
LF Brett Gardner
CF Curtis Granderson
RF Nick Swisher
DH Jorge Posada

Bench

BUC Gustavo Molina
OF/PH Andruw Jones
UIF Eduardo Nunez
IF Eric Chavez

The only change can be seen on the bench, where Molina looks to be the favorite for a spot that was assumed to be Montero’s. I would like to see Jesus get the spot regardless of his struggles, but I can understand stashing him in the minors until his bat heats up.… Click here to read the rest

Predicting The 2011 Opening Day Roster, Take 1

With Opening Day just two weeks away and players being cut on a daily basis, the makeup of the Opening Day roster is becoming exceedingly clearer. Let’s take our first stab at predicting the final 25 that the Yankees will take north with them:

Everyday Players

C Russell Martin
1B Mark Teixeira
2B Robinson Cano
SS Derek Jeter
3B Alex Rodriguez
LF Brett Gardner
CF Curtis Granderson
RF Nick Swisher
DH Jorge Posada

There are no surprises here, as all of these players were handed jobs before camp started and did nothing to lose them. I have not noticed Martin behind the plate at all, which is a very good sign when discussing catcher defense. He should be able to ward off Jesus Montero for the time being.

Bench

BUC Jesus Montero
OF/PH Andruw Jones
UIF Eduardo Nunez
IF Eric Chavez

As Larry noted yesterday, this is one of the strongest benches that the Yankees have fielded in a long time, assuming that Chavez remains healthy.… Click here to read the rest