Jun
22

No panic for the bullpen

By

Despite a few hiccups here and there, the Yankees bullpen actually hasn’t been that bad this season. Check out the numbers for AL bullpens. The Yanks’ relief corps has allowed 4.07 runs per game, third best mark in the AL. Not only that, but the fourth place team has allowed .24 more runs per game, while the first place team has allowed just .19 fewer. In other words, in terms of runs allowed the Yankees have one of three clearly superior bullpens in the AL.

Part of the reason for this is that the starters have been so good that only the best relievers have been needed in high leverage situations. Yankee relievers, including Chamberlain and Rivera, have entered the game with an average Leverage Index of .899, lowest mark in the AL. The bullpen has faced just 49 high-leverage situations, fewest in the AL by a decent margin. That means that the lesser relievers, even if pitching poorly, aren’t doing so at critical times.

The bullpen’s biggest problem right now is Chamberlain. He has faced 32 batters in high-leverage situations and has allowed nine hits, including two doubles and a homer, which has led to 12 runs. His groundball percentage, at 50 percent in low- and medium-leverage situations, drops to 42 percent when the pressure is highest. Even still, his peripherals are excellent in these high leverage situations. He has struck out 11 of those 32 batters to just two walks. What takes away from that is that he throws more pitches to batters in high leverage situations. This leads to deeper counts, and it’s then that Chamberlain becomes predictable. On 2-2 and 3-2 counts he’s going to the slider 66 and 63 percent of the time, respectively.

I doubt the Yankees will stop giving the ball to Chamberlain. He still has plenty of talent, and at times he’s looked brilliant. Also, the team doesn’t really have anyone to take those high leverage innings. Damaso Marte has faced only eight batters with the pressure on high, and he’s allowed three hits, including two doubles. David Robertson has also struggled in high leverage situations, walking three of the 16 batters he’s faced while allowing four hits and striking out just one. Beyond those guys, there aren’t many other options to take these critical situations. Joba shows the most promise in them, and I suspect he’ll continue to get the ball.

I have seen, in various places, concern about the back end of the bullpen. Chan Ho Park has been a disaster so far with his .354 BABIP and six home runs allowed. Chad Gaudin is nothing but a mop-up man. Boone Logan can’t even do his one job, which is to get out lefties. Damaso Marte walks way too many batters. These concerns, of course, are real. None of the above statements is false, at least in the context of the season to date. Still, there are two mitigating circumstances. First, we’ve seen two of these guys, Park and Marte, pitch much better than they have been. Second, as mentioned above, they haven’t been placed in the highest leverage situations, which is to say that the damage they have caused has been, for the most part, minimal.

The back end guys are also replaceable if they get to a certain point of ineffectiveness. Logan can always go back to AAA. Gaudin can always return to the scrap heap. Chan Ho Park will get more chances than the others, but even he isn’t making a salary that would make the Yankees balk at releasing him if his current pitching continues. They probably won’t find much on the trade market to replace them — after all, every team is looking for bullpen help — but there are a few interesting names on the farm. Ivan Nova, who made his major league debut earlier this season, is pitching well. Jason Hirsh has moved to the bullpen, perhaps because the Yanks think they can get some production from him. Jonathan Albaladejo has straight dominated AAA, with 45 strikeouts to 12 walks in 34.1 innings. And there’s always Mark Melancon.

Again, these are options for the very back of the bullpen. If the starters continue pitching well, the only bullpen issue the Yankees might face this year is of finding one more high-leverage reliever. Can Joba step up? Will they give Robertson and Marte a longer audition? These, I think, are the pressing questions for the bullpen. Sure, Park, Guadin, and Logan might be frustrating to watch. But in terms of where they ranks on the Yanks’ list of problems, it’s the same as the leverage situation when they enter games: low.

Categories : Death by Bullpen
  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    At the end of the day they should be able to find the right fits in the pen. They have a surplus of capable arms (including the ones struggling now) and will make it work. Certainly no need to panic and trade for a Chad Qualls type.

  • Mike HC

    I agree that there is no need to trade for a reliever, especially not for a Chad Qualls type.

    I really have not seen the bullpen as a big problem. Mo has pitched a measly 24 innings. I’m sure he will be used a bit more if it is tight in the second half of the season. And we also have a whole bunch of arms who have proven to pitch well in stretches in the past. Just gotta hope a couple of them find a rhythm at some point. Which I think they will.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      Gotta pitch in order to find a rhythm. Which is why this post is kind of a tune-up for my upcoming Use Marte campaign.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        /teaser’d

      • Mike HC

        Yea, as I was typing that I was thinking the same thing. Hopefully some of them get to pitch then in some Yankee blowouts, ha.

      • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

        upcoming Use Marte campaign.

        awesome. I am all about marte and have been since day one. I was one of the initial “Damaso Marte is a good pitcher” proponents

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder
          • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

            yup. i been there with you from day one

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              Yes, my friend, you have been there from the beginning.

              Just like you were in the Inaugural RAB Fantasy Football League, where you went down in flames in a humiliating, emasculating defeat in the playoffs. To me, on my blitzkrieg though the league towards the championship, which I hoisted over my head just like ARod hoisted the Commissioner’s Trophy over his head last October, or like Kobe Bryant hoisted the the Larry O’Brien Trophy over his head this June, or like Matt Bush hoisted a freshman over his head in the East County in 2009.

              Except for Matt Bush, we all have something in common: we’re champions.

              [ Fantasy Football Championship Bragging Rights Name Drop #47 of 1000 ]

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    Jonathan Albaladejo has straight dominated AAA, with 45 strikeouts to 12 walks in 34.1 innings.

    And most importantly, he’s done so not simply by beating up on inferior younger players with his age and experience like a typical AAAA guy, but rather by refashioning himself as a power reliever. His stuff is apparently much better this year, and he’s being exceedingly aggressive, wowing the staff down there in the Lackawanna River valley.

    • http://www.twitter.com/stophamm3rtime Dela G

      i’ll believe alby is actually worth something when he can prove it in the big leagues. like melancon, they both seem to shit themselves and walk too many batters when they got on a major league mound in pinstripes

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Maybe the light’s clicked on.

        I’m willing to DFA Chad Gaudin to find out. Aren’t you?

        • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

          I’m willing to DFA Chad Gaudin to find out. Aren’t you?

          I’m not quite there yet. Let it sort itself out with an injury, trade, etc.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Meh, Logan and Gaudin are both eminently disposable to me by now. If we lost one of them looking at Alby or Melancon and one of the latter bombed and we sent them back to Scranton, Logan and Gaudin aren’t doing anything that Royce Ring and Romulo Sanchez/Jason Hirsh/Tim Redding/Dustin Moseley can’t do.

            With Mitre and Ace currently out with injury, I’d like to use some of the revolving door options their absence allows to give some guys some tryouts before either of our more trusted options come back and require a roster spot and innings opportunities.

            (Yes, I just referred to Sergio Mitre as “our more trusted option”. Deal with it.)

            • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

              (Yes, I just referred to Sergio Mitre as “our more trusted option”. Deal with it.)

              ::head explodes::

            • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

              you cant cut gaudin until at least one of aceves/mitre come off the dl

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                Why not? I can cut him for Albaladejo or Noesi, they can both go 3+ innings, and if either of them are pressed into duty as the emergency long man, I can send him back down on the Scranton Shuttle and bring up the other one.

              • Jobu

                Shirley you can’t be serious.

                • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

                  yes im serious, and dont call me shirley

            • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

              plus, i have fought for mitre from the beginning as well. glad to see it paying off.

              ::self pat on the back::

              • http://www.twitter.com/stophamm3rtime Dela G

                i’ve been on the mitre bandwagon since last year. i remember when alex gonzalez told me how stupid i was for believing in mitre

                • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

                  hahaha…yes but have you been on the mitre bangwagon?

                  • http://www.twitter.com/stophamm3rtime Dela G

                    for about a day or two, i was the mitre bandwagon ;)

                    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                      Miracle Max: I’ll call the brute squad!
                      Fezzik: I’m *on* the brute squad!
                      Miracle Max: You *ARE* the brute squad!

        • http://www.twitter.com/stophamm3rtime Dela G

          i wish they would just get rid of logan instead….

        • Jobu

          I am willing to DFA Chad Gaudin without a good plan of action after said DFA . . . basically I am just willing to assume that whatever comes next will be better.

          • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

            or that we wil get him back in 3 months after his next team cuts him…….again

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      You had me until Lackawanna River valley. That just sounds made up. But seriously, I’d like to see Alby get a chance, but I don’t think there needs to be a rush on it. If his stuff has truly gotten better, he could be a big help down the road.

    • Salty Buggah

      Not sure if his stuff has gotten better. He’s always had a mid-90s fastball I believe (at least I think I saw it in April of either 08 or 09) but he had been using a low 90’s 2-seamer. Now he’s apparently using a 4-seamer much more, which has aided the increase in K’s.

      Either way, he seemingly has changed and you can see it in the results.

  • Doug

    Anyone for a return of the just-released Brian Bruney (and no, I’m not serious)

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/

    • Reggie C.

      If he’d take a minor league assignment, yeah, sure. Might have an Albie 2.0 situation. Doubt he’d take it.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    I wonder at what point we dump Boone Logan and give Royce Ring a try. He’s got a 22/9 K/BB in 24 innings down in Scranton, 1.48 ERA/0.986 WHIP. Dunno how his stuff actually looks down there, though.

    Throw some spaghetti against the wall?

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      Throw some spaghetti against the wall?

      Someone probably said that about Boone Logan at some point. I bet 10 years from now Logan will be a very useful reliever, but at this point I don’t think it’s going to happen in 2010.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        He’s got options. Send him down and give him a development plan.

        • Jobu

          Development Plan for Boone Logan

          Suck Less!

          Thanks,

          Cashman

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Maybe he needs hats for bats.

            • Jobu

              He drank Jobu’s rum . . . this is very bad!

              BRING ME A LIVE CHICKEN!

    • Rose

      But who’s name would you rather have?

      “Hey there, this is my good friend – Boone Logan”

      or

      “Yeah, hey…I want to introduce you to a good friend of mine, Royce Ring.”

      Honorable Mentions (but not limited to): Stubby Clapp, Three Finger Brown, Gaylord Perry, Rusty Kuntz, etc.

      • Jobu

        He is the Rolls Royce of lefthanded pitchers

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        If he gets called up, I’d love it for you to change your handle to “Rose Royce Ring”.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9gttQ7QxQs (safe)

        • Rose

          Not bad, Tommie…not bad at all…

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

        Rusty Kuntz should never get an honorable mention. Always the big prize.

        • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

          this is rusty kuntz country

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        Urban Shocker.

      • http://www.soxandpinstripes.net JGS
  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    If the starters continue pitching well, the only bullpen issue the Yankees might face this year is of finding one more high-leverage reliever. Can Joba step up? Will they give Robertson and Marte a longer audition?

    Will Phil Hughes join the bullpen in October?

    (obligatory’d)

    • Jobu

      You cannot give that spot to Hughes, not when there are other young pitchers whose careers can be jeopardized by yo-yoing them from the rotation to the pen. Phil had his turn and refused to be Joba’ed, give some other kids a chance.

      • deuce bag poster

        I think it’s time to move the Brackmonster to the ‘pen.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    Sure, Park, Gaudin, and Logan might be frustrating to watch. But in terms of where they ranks on the Yanks’ list of problems, it’s the same as the leverage situation when they enter games: low.

    Just like the ceilings in Dustin Pedroia’s house.

    • Jobu

      This is the tree I live in, and over here you can see the cookies we make.

    • deuce bag poster

      Just like Dustin Pedroia.

  • DSFC

    Park’s been a disappointment overall, but he had pitched very well for several weeks before his last two outings. I’m not ready to write him off just yet.

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK’s Mystique and Aura

    So what you’re saying is nobody has called President Madagascar yet?

  • theyankeewarrior

    Alfredo Aceves + the odd starter out of the playoff rotation + Joba + God Almighty = bullpen completely upgraded and ready to dominate in October.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    Craig Breslow’s about to hit arbitration next year. I wonder what it would take to pry him loose from the Athletics.

    Meh, probably more than we’d want to give up.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      I was thinking about writing about him on FanGraphs today. But it still sounds formulaic. Reliever who formerly struggled has had a hot stretch. But he could be shitty again in a week.

      Story of Jose Veras’s life.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        He’s got a career ERA+ of 154 and a WHIP of barely over a baserunner an inning. His career tripleslash against lefties is .185/.267/.284.

        It’s not just a “hot stretch”, Breslow’s actually a very solid LOOGY prospect.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          A Breslow/Marte lefty tandem would be quite effective as 2/7ths of our bullpen for the next few years.

  • Grandy

    I’d like to see Nova and Sanchez rather than Logan and Gaudin.

    • http://conservationvalue.blogspot.com/ Jon G

      Let’s make it Albaladejo, Melancon and Sanchez instead of Park (this year’s LaTroy Hawkins), Logan and Gaudin.

      Let Nova build up innings as a starter — we may need him at some point, and he’s our best option in AAA right now (though I wish McCalister would pitch at the level he’s hit in A and AA, etc.)

      I’m not convinced Aceves is going to be reliable after his return given the type of back injury he has…

  • baby carlos

    There would be no discussion if the Yankees had Gerrit Cole pitching. Instead, UCLA is benefitting – 13k, 8IP…

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      So a starting pitcher who would likely still be in the minors would allay the Yankee bullpen woes? Got it.

      • baby carlos

        Relax vicious one… it was sarcasm and not meant to be serious.

        • baby carlos

          as in, aside from Mo, the bullpen is a crap shoot. Joba has AJ disease and a bad attitude. Chop pitched well last year so he could get over paid by the Yankees.
          Gaudin, is what he is.
          Logan, for whatever reason, he provides more comfort to Cashman and Girardi than Melancon.
          Marte – he only pitches when there are lefies. Otherwise he is here to serve Mo Green Tea before he pitches.
          Mitre – is here to just eat up innings.
          Robertson was the favorite but Girardi has this ability to be like Mike Shanahan. You get one chance, you fuck up and you are now part of the McCarthy hearings.

          I think that is it for the bull pen.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Joba has… a bad attitude.

            Tired false narratives and media bullshit spin FTL.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      If the Yankees had Gerrit Cole pitching, I’d hope he’d be in Charleston or Tampa STARTING at the moment (maybe Trenton if he was absolutely lights out), building innings and biding his time and far, far away from consideration for the 2010 Yankee bullpen.

      • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

        No, he would totally be in the bullpen.

        Sincerely,
        2010 Mets in Re: Jenrry Mejia

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          It’s the Omar Minaya way.

          See also: Bernazard, Tony

  • bonestock94

    Holy crap, I can’t believe that the best bullpen in the AL gives up 3.88 runs/game. Does that seem insanely high to anyone else!?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Well, that’s normalized over 9 innings per game. Bullpens pitch like a third of that, roughly. So the best pen gives up a little over a run per appearance.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Sorry: “… So the best pen gives up a little over a run per appearance night.”

        Don’t want to use misleading language.

      • bonestock94

        Ah ok, that sounds a lot more like it.

  • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

    No panic for the bullpen

    Ha ha ha Joe we are Yankee fans, we must always panic.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      I keep a cyanide capsule under my tongue at all times.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      The Yankees are losing! The team is run by idiots! Heads will roll!

      • deuce bag poster

        George Steinbrenner’d