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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sizing up the bullpens

A couple of days ago we heard that Brian Cashman had conceded that the Red Sox are a better time right now, but that the Yankees have a better bullpen, a remark that I thought would "send Red Sox beat writers and bloggers everywhere scurrying to analyze and compare both fire crews." Well, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal has offered up his analysis of the 2 bullpens with the help of The Bill James Handbook for the 2011 season, which issued these projections for the top 4 relievers on each team:

Jonathan Papelbon, Boston: 69 IP, 2.61 ERA, 76 K, 20 BB
Daniel Bard, Boston: 76 IP, 2.72 ERA, 90 K, 34 BB.
Bobby Jenks, Boston: 49 IP, 3.12 ERA, 48 K, 17 BB.
Dan Wheeler, Boston: 47 IP, 2.87 ERA, 46 K, 16 BB.

Mariano Rivera, New York: 62 IP, 1.89 ERA, 58 K, 11 BB.
Joba Chamberlain, New York: 76 IP, 3.79 ERA, 81 K, 30 BB.
David Robertson, New York: 68 IP, 3.04 ERA, 89 K, 35 BB.
Rafael Soriano, New York: 62 IP, 2.03 ERA, 68 K, 18 BB.

Before ProJo published this, I had been looking into this comparison and had compiled the 2010 statistics of each of those pitchers:

Click on graphic to make larger

I don't think Daniel Bard will pitch 70+ innings in 2011 as James forecast. With Wheeler and Jenks in front of him, he will have a reduced work load this year. I also think that Tito and Theo will want to keep Bard for many years to come, and the best way to do that is to not overwork him in this early part of his career.

Mo is good, great even, but at some point he will start to decline. Will it be in 2011?

Maybe, maybe I give the Yankees a slight edge, but as Cashman himself pointed out, championships aren't won in the winter.

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