Feature
 
 
What's wrong with the bullpen?

Steurer
on 08/20/2004

 

The recent spate of bullpen woes gave me the idea to go ahead and do a little research concerning their post all star break efforts. What I found is, I believe, cause for concern.

Player Pre ASB E.R.A Post ASB E.R.A.
D. Kolb1.623.00
M. Adams1.854.40
L. Vizcaino2.885.54
M. Wise3.705.25
D. Burba3.623.10
J. Bennett4.327.11

Why? Well I think there's a few reasons. Let's look at each guy on an individual basis.

Dan Kolb. He's got a career E.R.A. of 4.22. Could the first half have been merely a "hot streak"? It's probably likely. Yes, he's learned a nice cutter, but it seems the league is catching up to him. He's been around 10 years in pro ball, and before last year, he's never flashed anything that screamed "All-Star". Maybe Dan Kolb is just not as good as the last half of last season and first half of this season made him look.

Luis Vizcaino. A career E.R.A. over 4.50. Is he just regressing to the mean? Probably. It can't be said that he's wearing out, because he pitched more innings each of the last two years than he has this year.

Mike Adams. It would appear that the league is catching on to him. He's still showing a lot of promise, and a 4.40 E.R.A. is not terrible, but he's certainly not pitching to the level we'd have needed him to if Kolb had been dealt in a deadline deal.

Jeff Bennett. Like Adams, I'm sure the league is catching up to the rookie. Again, like Adams and Vizcaino, it doesn't appear to be an issue of wearing down, as he pitched over 120 innings as a starter each of the last 2 seasons.

Matt Wise. Like Vizcaino and Kolb, probably a regression to the mean. He's got a nice changeup, and he certainly appears to have some value, but he's nearly 2 runs worse than he was in the first half.

Burba's the only one pitching *better* than he did in the first half.

What does all this mean? Well, I think maybe our bullpen wasn't as good as we all thought it was at first. I think maybe these guys were pitching over their heads for much of the first half. I think Adams has a ways to go before he pitches well enough to be the closer most folks think he could be.

Lastly, I'm going to add a little opinion. With hindsight being 20-20, I think the organization might regret not dealing Kolb when his value was peaked. With the bullpen stuttering on all fronts, and some of the arms starting to be used a little too often, the release of Matt Kinney may have been ill timed as well.

Now that the numbers have been dissected a little bit, and we struggle to find some consistency in the pen, let's just hope these guys turn it around and show some of what they had in the first half of the season.