This past off-season, Andrew Friedman’s biggest task was to rebuild the American League’s best bullpen from scratch. And while we knew this would be cheaper than re-signing the old guys, nobody in their wildest dreams thought this year’s group would be just as good as the 2010 group.

Well, turns out they aren’t as good. So far in 2011, the Rays bullpen has outperformed the old guys with their new teams.

Here is a look at how well each group has pitched this year, and how much they are getting paid to do so…

For those not familiar, think of Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) as a better indicator than ERA of how well a pitcher has pitched by only looking at results that he is directly responsible for. In other words, it doesn’t matter how good or poor a pitcher’s defense is playing. And Wins Above Replacement (WAR) is a measure of a player’s overall value to his team.

At worst, you can argue that the Rays new bullpen has been just as good as the old group. And if we looks at FIP and WAR, they have been a tad better.

And all this production is costing the Rays $20 million less.

World B. Friedman does a lot of things very well. But if there is one thing where he excels beyond all others, it is his ability to build a bullpen.




  1. zenny says:

    Good stuff. I'd be interested to see the same breakdown, only comparing last year's bullpen stats to this years at the same point in the season.

  2. Phil says:

    Good point Zenny!

  3. Phil says:

    Hey Cork - Any update On McGee's progress at triple AAA .....think he is a key to the second half of the season along with JP .....

  4. Sledge says:

    Thanks, Cork. Now we now the bullpen will be horrendous in tonight's game. What happened to using reverse psychology?

  5. dustin says:

    This article - - is kind of interesting and apropos. Read alongside this post, (at least) two questions occur to me.

    First, I'm not sure this is a proper use of the data. After all, though things like K:BB, HR:FB, and BABIP tend to regress to the mean over time, that tends to happen over the course of timespans that are longer than a single season, particularly for relief pitchers (and, I suppose, pinch-hitters or anybody else who see fewer innings-per-game than regular players). So, while these numbers might make us worry, they don't guarantee a decline in bullpen performance over the course of this season.

    Second, even if the Rays' bullpen regresses some over the course of the season, they'd have to do so semi-disastrously to end up twenty million dollars worse than they'd be if they'd kept the 2010 'pen intact.


Leave a Comment