Friday, May 27, 2011

Blue Jays go with Bullpen by Committee

- looses hold in first outing - Jays lose as defensive implosion at third and first base in the ninth muddies waters

The Jays collapse in the ninth inning - again.

Image of Box Score from the Blogger Baseball Scorecard - Chicago White Sox at Toronto Blues Jays - Thursday May 26th

Two days after I criticized the way John Farrell is managing the Blue Jays bullpen in my 1/3 the way through the season Over-view, and two days after a monsterous melt down against New York --- word from Jerry Howarth on the radio broadcast during the game Thursday that Manager John Farreell called a bullpen pitchers meeting before the game where he announced that he has designated 3 pitchers as closers and 3 as set-up pitchers - what order they were in with-in the group was up to them to prove.

Why he felt he had to identify six of eight of his relief pitchers as closer and set-up material - and the other two... losers? ... I can only guess. Perhaps he felt the bullpen team needed structure - from which pitchers could find their identity with-in the relief team - and a peer group perhaps with-in which they could compete towards greater greatness.

Which ever way one wishes to say it, the Blue Jays have a Bullpen by Committee.

In the past when a manager goes to Bullpen by Committee the only reason is because the bullpen isn't working. But I wonder why all the special attention on the bullpen, when it's several injuries to the starting staff - and the fact that none of them seem to be able to go deep into games on a consistent basis - that is at the root of the wear and tear on the relief staff --- and the reason the batting order is sputtering, putting too much pressure on themselves (leaving out the fact that Adam Lind - with his god-like batting in May - is out indefinitely - and that Jose Bautista is in a slump right now and no-ones giving him any pitches to hit anymore, now that, 1/3 of the way into this season he's proven he's the same batting champion as last year).

Tonight Farrell used Jason Frasor, Marc Rzepczynski, then Jon Rauch in the 8th and 9th in a tie game - so that's the 'Closer' Committee (at home, he was playing to win with last at bats - trying also to right the ship after a numbing dismissal by the Yankees that capped a turn around from a winning team - May 22, 8-2 in their last 10 - tied for 2nd place - to a last place team in the AL East - losers of 6 of 10).

So knowing who's on the Closer Committee, I broke out the 5 starters from the roster, then extracted the Closer Committee, and that left me to guess the Set-up Committee, which was easy if you score the games - they are the three guys left out of five that Farrell uses in close games.

Below is the result.

John Farrell's Bullpen Meritocracy
(all pitchers listed in alphabetical order with-in their respective Committee)


(not the subject of this article)

Kyle Drabek
Brandon Morrow
Jo-Jo Reyes
Ricky Romero
Carlos Villanueva

Relief Staff

Set-up Committee
Dotel       15  0 1 1  1  1  12.1  11  8  3 11 17  12.41 1.78  5.84
Francisco   15  0 1 2  5  0  13.0  12  9  4  8 15  10.38 1.54  6.23
Janssen     20  0 1 0  0  4  20.1  15  4  0  5 15   6.64 0.98  1.77

Closer Committee
Frasor      21  0 1 1  0  4  19.2  14  4  2  7 20  9.15  1.07  1.83
Rauch       20  0 2 2  5  1  19.1  15  9  3  7 12  5.59  1.14  4.19
Rzepczynski 23  0 2 0  0  7  21.0  16  7  1  5 18  7.71  1.00  3.00

Mop-up Crew
Camp        21  0 0 1  0  3  23.2  22  5  1  5 12  4.56  1.14  1.90
Perez        5  0 0 0  0  0   7.2   9  5  2  3  6  7.04  1.57  5.87

(above stats from ESPN --- on May 26, 2011 - 11:30 PM)

So one could view the order of this list as the way John Farrell judges the quality of the pitchers on his roster.

The starters are starters, they are starters because they pitch great and can go long - everyone else is a major league pitcher who, in the eyes of the organization, for one reason or another, are better short.

So the Closer Committee, the Set-up Committee and the Mop-up Committee are the order of quality from best to less best in the eyes of the Manager.

I don't know if this way of breaking the Relief Staff into catagories is helpful to the team or not - I guess it all depends whether or not these guys believe they are a team.

To me, from way out here in Leslieville, it seems like classifying everyone so much like this could lead to resentment of one group of another. Wouldn't it be better to leave the door wide open to any pitcher on the staff to achieve these roles? Wouldn't that be a better way light a fire? Or was that the point?

Perhaps the point is, 'thank you guys I really appreciate all the innings you've put in - Oh, and by the way, this is the order in which you suck.' The more I think about it, that's what it seems to say to me - even though it is doubtful that was the managers intent.

And while I'm at it, what's going on with "The Mop-up Man" as I've begun to call Shawn Camp (because Farrell's using him only in low leverage situations). Last year he mowed down every batter he faced with that wicked slider - pitching one inning only - and only in 'high leverage' situations. And this year he's that same pitcher, only he's never used in high leverage situations. What am I missing? He got the 3rd best ERA on the relief staff! He and they are a full 2 runs per nine innings better than the next best echelon.

But Shawn Camp's a veteran, and a pro; he'll keep doing what he's doing --- knowing that a Major League Baseball team is a meritocracy, a professional organization - the cream will rise. A 1.90 ERA over 23.2 innings should have him in one of those 'committees' soon.


1 comment:

  1. Nice work man. Real in-depth analysis. Really impressive. Keep it up. I will be checking back for sure!