Blog Entry

Top five bullpens in baseball

Posted on: January 14, 2011 4:25 pm

With the signing of Rafael Soriano, the Yankees are poised to have one of the best bullpens in the game.

But who is No. 1? And for that matter, who are the top five bullpens in the game?

Glad you asked.

Bell1. SAN DIEGO Padres
Closer: Heath Bell
Setup: Luke Gregerson, Mike Adams
Others: Joe Thatcher (L), Dustin Moseley, Ernesto Frieri, Chad Qualls

Why: The Padres dumped Adam Russell, Edward Mujica and Ryan Webb but still have the best bullpen in the business. Heath Bell is one of the best closers in the game while Gregerson and Adams would close for many clubs. Thatcher may not total many innings (35 in 65 games) but it's hard to find a better situational reliever.

Closer: Mariano Rivera
Setup: Rafael Soriano
Others: Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, Pedro Feliciano (L), Damaso Marte (L)

Why: Soriano and Rivera will form one of the best one-two punches to close out a game (although every other team on this list can make a similar claim), but the real strength comes in depth. Chamberlain isn't the same pitcher he once was, but still has talent while Robertson could one day close. Feliciano isn't a top-end left-hander, but is a durable workhorse that should rack up plenty of appearances.

Feliz3. TEXAS Rangers

Closer: Neftali Feliz
Setup: Alexi Ogando, Frank Francisco
Others: Darren Oliver (L), Arthur Rhodes (L), Mark Lowe

Why: It's easy to overlook this bullpen because it's full of aging left-handers (two of them!) and players that have toiled in relative obscurity, but Feliz led all closers in saves as a rookie, Ogando threw up a 1.30 ERA and Francisco is a former closer -- who could close for many clubs.

Bailey4. OAKLAND Athletics
Closer: Andrew Bailey
Setup: Grant Balfour, Brad Ziegler
Others: Joey Devine, Michael Wuertz, Craig Breslow (L)

Why: A late-season injury kept Bailey under 50 innings pitched, but not before the reigning Rookie of the Year winner announced his arrival among the elite of closers. Grant Balfour vaults the A's onto the top five list and will pair with the submariner Ziegler. They lack a top left-handed option, but the returning Devine (Tommy John surgery) and slider specialist in Wuertz will give batters fits.

Kimbrel5. ATLANTA Braves

Closer: Craig Kimbrel (pictured) or Johnny Venters (L)
Setup: Venters/Kimbrel
Others: Scott Linebrink, Peter Moylan, Scott Proctor, George Sherrill (L)

Why: Kimbrel and Venters are simply very filthy pitchers. Kimbrel, in 20 2/3 innings, struck out a staggering 40 batters (although that came with 16 walks) and is the favorite to close. He'll be rivaled by Venters, who hurled 83 innings in his rookie year, punching out 93. It's not every day a club has two relievers capable of punching out over 10 batters per nine. The middle relief corps is fairly weak, but Linebrink should eat innings and and Moylan is a quality arm.

You may notice that the Red Sox were left off the list -- if this was a top six list (hint: it's not), Boston would have ranked sixth. Jonathan Papelbon will be set up by the dangerous Daniel Bard, and the additions of Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler should deepen the club. However, Papelbon's volatility and lack of a top-end left-handed reliever hurt. You could make a case that the Braves belong sixth given the lack of experience in the closer and setup roles. Boston does beat Atlanta in middle relief, but a closer and setup men is more important to your bullpen.

-- Evan Brunell

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Since: Sep 28, 2007
Posted on: January 18, 2011 9:13 pm

Top five bullpens in baseball

I noticed you didn't put Howards .300 plus avg in those stats.  The reason he had no Rbi's was he was either leading off or hitting with nobody on base most of the time.  Then twice the third base coach held men at 3b with less than 2 outs. The % baseball play but not good for Howards stat line.  He had a miserable playoff with the k's but he did hit. 

Those avg's only make my argument that the Giants outpitched everyone to win the title.  The fact that they were able to keep throwing lefties out there against the Phil's heavily left leaning lineup was a huge key.  As for why did the Phillies get Cliff Lee the real answer is because they could and because he wanted to be here.  Two great reasons.  Were they supposed to refuse his willingness to accept less money and less years to be in Philly because the Rangers and Yankees wanted to pay him more and needed him more.  Are you really serious.  Now if all are healthy you won't get Joe Blanton except out of the pen in game 4, but more likely Hamels or Oswalt.  And the G-men will likely not even make the playoffs.  The gods will not smile as kind this year.  You better hope your fat 3b discovers Subway or Slim fast and that your ownership lets your stud 1b come up from the minors early instead of late.  Because your team in the field was a catch lightning in a bottle bunch.  All I have to say is Cody F-in Ross you have to be joking.  Now I know how Boston feels about Bucky Dent.  Gimme a break.

Since: Jan 29, 2007
Posted on: January 17, 2011 7:09 pm

Top five bullpens in baseball

Well spoken-  So many typos from a Detroit Public School dropout-  You have done the system proud.  Guess what - I do not live in the dirty mitten or NYC.  One question-  what exactly is - ojut,  immigreant -  new kind of ebonics?  I will go on record to say the whole world makes fun of Detroit,  everyone,  I bet you are savings your unemployment checks for a downpayment on the new KWAME PROJECTS-  I heard they are breaking ground on Belle Isle.

Since: Oct 24, 2009
Posted on: January 17, 2011 6:38 pm

Top five bullpens in baseball

That last comment was for  Atlantabravesgg  but I am sure he was atleast smart enough to figured that out!!

Since: Oct 24, 2009
Posted on: January 17, 2011 6:37 pm

Top five bullpens in baseball

I see you want to live in the past.  The Braves and Phillies have won almost the identical amount of titles since 1969.  So your point about owning us is as stupid and ignorant as the points source.  You want to talk about choking.  Your teams ONLY success came when they won 11 straight division titles.  After the WS win in 1995, choked 10 straight years, including only 1 out 10 times even getting back to the World Series.  That my dumb friend, is CHOKING!!  Your team was so pathetic over that span, you didn't even make it to a game 7, showing just how uncompetitive of an opponent you where.  Looking in the future, you will be watching us repeat as NL East Champs.  I haven't read anything from you that disputes that, so I guess you have excepted reality.  We will own you and that's a fact little guy...

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: January 17, 2011 5:37 pm

Top five bullpens in baseball

After all that babbling, you got it right at the end.  The Giants staff won the World Series for them.  But as far as the Phillies rotation, if they were that good, why go get Cliff Lee? Probably so you hope you don't have to use that bullpen; I get it.  Talk all you want about the Giants lineup but at least my most fearsome hitter in my lineup, Ryan Howard, didn't do the following:  Tie a record for most strikeouts (12) in a NL Championship Series.  Or have 30 strikeouts in his last 56 postseason at-bats. And he ended the 2010 postseason with the same number of RBIs with which he started it: zero.

It's one thing to get you to the dance, but once you get there, you have to perform as well.  The Giants, regardless of the lineup, the journeymen, the band of mutts or whatever you want to call it, performed on camera when they needed to, hit the ball in the clutch and their hits meant more.  And while we're talking about unclutch - Utley .182, Victorino .208, Ibanez .211, Werth .222 even with 2 HRs.  That's a lot of money to be spent on not getting the job in the playoffs.   Sounds pretty weak to me.

Since: Sep 28, 2007
Posted on: January 17, 2011 3:47 pm

Top five bullpens in baseball

The Phillies rotation has not been the problem, my man get a clue.  They were 1-2 with your Giants in IP, ERA, CG and K's.  The Phillies problem has been the 'Pen.  The pen cost them game 6 where the Giants pen kept the game from getting away.  The Phillies lost that series because of the bullpen, and because they were outmanaged.  But you really have your head in the sand if you are going to say the Giants were'nt being smiled on by the Gods.  Cody Ross journeyman 4th OF, Pat Burrell DH, Juan Uribe utility guy, Renteria over the hill SS, Huff journeyman 1B, who are your other OF's beside Rowand who didn't even play.  For that lineup to win a World series and you to have the balls to talk about them like they are the 27 Yankees, You need to get off  those fine Northern California 'shrooms.  You guys have a great staff both starters and pen but your lineup other than Posey was the weakest in the playoffs.  Congrats on your pitching because they won you the title not the other band of mutts that play the field.

Since: Dec 19, 2007
Posted on: January 17, 2011 2:56 pm

Top five bullpens in baseball

yah the giants only have...a former batting champion...a two time cy young award winner and three year strikeout leader a rookie of the year..the best rotation in baseball (proven...its funny phillys rotation has been nothing but a FAILURE yet you continue to jock them)...the closer of the year...manager of the year...arguably the top prospect in baseball in brandon belt...we are on the way up and we are going to be relevant for a while...and we did this all while spending far less money then your pathetic underachieving over paid phillies...kiss it ya loser see you in the NLCS!

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: January 17, 2011 2:28 pm

Top five bullpens in baseball

the hit man, check the salaries both teams are at.  I don't care about what hte Red Sox spent this year versus the Yankees.  I'm sorry they got beat out on every potential signing they wanted.  Had they gone after Lee and got him, the contract he would have received would have dwarfed any contract for the Sox.  Furthermore, the YANKEES have had to pay almost a quarter billion dollars in luxury tax, while the Sox have only had to drop 11 mil.  Do the math buddy, and refrain from profanities on an otherwise clean message board with your statistically skewed comments.  I congratulate you for realizing the Sox spent more money in this offseason, but the bottom line is, even with that money....we still have a lower payroll.  There may be some ignorant Red Sox fans that point the finger at Yankee fans as the problem with the finances of baseball, but it takes someone ignorant like yourself to blow a post totally out of proportion only because you don't understand the intention of the message being sent.  Assuming you live in NYC, go crawl back into that shoebox of a apartment you overpay for so you can live in a city that smells. 


Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: January 17, 2011 2:25 pm

Top five bullpens in baseball

I cant get over how much the Red Sox and Yankee fans are stuck on themselves. What team has won the AL East 2 of the last 3 years with the small payroll? The pitching will be even better this season.

Hows the lineup???  Better too? LOL...

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: January 17, 2011 2:22 pm

Top five bullpens in baseball

Evan Brunell, you most certainly are either a Yankees lover, or you just have zero clue about baseball. You don't mention the team that just won the World Series? The team with one of the most dominant closers over the last three seasons? The Giants are clearly a top 5 bullpen, possibly the best. The Padres, Braves, A's, are certainly worthy as well. But to mention the Yankees, and the Rangers in this group of a sure sign that you shouldn't be writing any more blogs. Please, remove your keyboard... or stick to facebook posts. You're an idiot.

Well lets see...they have the best closer in baseball and the best setup man in baseball. That MUST at least make them worthy of being mentioned?

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