Bullpen '21

Lose Remerswaal

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Whitlock has 4 appearances in 21 games, essentially the same number of appearances he'd have as a starter. If that usage keeps up, his workload will be like a starter.

How many innings should he get with this type of workload?
I expect he will end up with 90-100 innings, with pressure situations slowly ramped up. I’d love for 10-15 of those innings to be post September
 

dynomite

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Cubs have DFAed old friend Brandon Workman: https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2021/04/cubs-dfa-brandon-workman.html

Would likely come really cheap, and the staff knows him pretty well.Any interest from folks here?

Workman, 32, signed a one-year, $1MM contract with the Cubs late in the offseason. The contract came with an additional $2MM of available incentives for the former Red Sox closer, but his stint with the Cubs looks to be coming to a close after just eight innings.

Workman was hit hard in that brief time, surrendering six runs on a dozen hits (two homers) and seven walks with 11 strikeouts. It’s the second consecutive rough year for the hard-throwing righty, who was clobbered for a 5.95 ERA in 19 2/3 frames between the Red Sox and Phillies last summer.

...

Workman’s average fastball has dipped by more than a mile per hour since that brilliant 2019 campaign, dropping from 93.1 mph to 91.8 mph. He’s still registered a respectable swinging-strike rate since 2020 (10.7 percent), but Workman has yielded far too much hard contact and seen his already pedestrian walk rate spike to egregious levels in recent years.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Whitlock has 4 appearances in 21 games, essentially the same number of appearances he'd have as a starter. If that usage keeps up, his workload will be like a starter.

How many innings should he get with this type of workload?
ESPN has him projected at 37 games, 81.6 ip. Granted that's not the same question as how many he should get. I'd guess if he stays in relief, he'll be around 50 appearances, 100ish innings.

Have there been any relief pitchers used like starters to pitch 2-3 innings a game at a time? Like 35 games, 0 starts, 110.2 ip?
 

nvalvo

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ESPN has him projected at 37 games, 81.6 ip. Granted that's not the same question as how many he should get. I'd guess if he stays in relief, he'll be around 50 appearances, 100ish innings.

Have there been any relief pitchers used like starters to pitch 2-3 innings a game at a time? Like 35 games, 0 starts, 110.2 ip?
40 years ago, sure.

Just to pick a guy at semi-random, check out Tom Burgmeier's baseball-reference page. 3 career starts, 745 career games. His 1982 season for Boston was basically what you're talking about: 40 G, 102.1 IP, 190 ERA+. I was too young to remember this dude, but I'm sure there are people here who could tell us a lot about him.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Cesar Crespo

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40 years ago, sure.

Just to pick a guy at semi-random, check out Tom Burgmeier's baseball-reference page. 3 career starts, 745 career games. His 1982 season for Boston was basically what you're talking about: 40 G, 102.1 IP, 190 ERA+. I was too young to remember this dude, but I'm sure there are people here who could tell us a lot about him.
I'm too young too. I remember LaRussa doing the 3 ip x 3 pitchers for awhile one season but he didn't stick to it. That was in the early 90's I think.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Looking it up, I guess a lot of teams considered piggyback starting in 2020 and the Rangers considered it this year. Not sure if any went through with it, and 2020 isn't really a sample size.
 

greek_gawd_of_walks

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Well, if Brandon Workman can notch one single win with the Sox in 2021, it would match his total for the Phils in 2020.

Not a bad Worcester flyer. Given the way the back end has looked, leave no stone unturned.
 

dynomite

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After last night’s debacle, soon-to-be-departed Austin Brice now sports an 8.38 ERA (7.14 xFIP) — in 9.2 IP he’s allowed 11 hits, 9 ER, walked 6 and struck out 7. Since he joined the Sox last season, that means he’s thrown 29.1 IP with a 6.75 ERA and a 32/19 K/BB ratio.

The question, I think, is not so much whether but when he will head to Worcester (or another club?), and who should replace him when he does so.

Is Workman ready? I imagine the Sox wanted to give him at least a few appearances in Worcester to try to make some adjustments, but Brice might be forcing their hand. Thoughts?
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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After last night’s debacle, soon-to-be-departed Austin Brice now sports an 8.38 ERA (7.14 xFIP) — in 9.2 IP he’s allowed 11 hits, 9 ER, walked 6 and struck out 7. Since he joined the Sox last season, that means he’s thrown 29.1 IP with a 6.75 ERA and a 32/19 K/BB ratio.

The question, I think, is not so much whether but when he will head to Worcester (or another club?), and who should replace him when he does so.

Is Workman ready? I imagine the Sox wanted to give him at least a few appearances in Worcester to try to make some adjustments, but Brice might be forcing their hand. Thoughts?
If Brice goes soon, I think his replacement will be a position player. They're carrying 14 pitchers and not getting enough work for all of them. I don't know how many more times they have to resort to playing Vazquez somewhere other than behind the plate before they make that move, but it should be zero.
 

azsoxpatsfan

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If Brice goes soon, I think his replacement will be a position player. They're carrying 14 pitchers and not getting enough work for all of them. I don't know how many more times they have to resort to playing Vazquez somewhere other than behind the plate before they make that move, but it should be zero.
Brice is also barely better at pitching than the average position player (I was actually kind of surprised that Brice has a lower era than position players combined do) so you really lose nothing by replacing him with another position player
 

dynomite

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If Brice goes soon, I think his replacement will be a position player. They're carrying 14 pitchers and not getting enough work for all of them. I don't know how many more times they have to resort to playing Vazquez somewhere other than behind the plate before they make that move, but it should be zero.
It’s a fair point. The relative disappearance of Phillips Valdez has been odd — feels like he could take Brice’s innings and do more with them easily.

If that’s the plan, I’d much rather have Danny Santana on the roster than Brice (although, to be fair, I’d rather have a sack of baseballs or a potted plant on the bench instead of Brice). As recently as 2019 he played multiple games at literally every position in the IF & OF, so he seems like an ideal late innings/bench option especially while Kiké recovers (and we need to call him up from Worcester or lose him within days I believe).
 
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chrisfont9

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Well, if Brandon Workman can notch one single win with the Sox in 2021, it would match his total for the Phils in 2020.

Not a bad Worcester flyer. Given the way the back end has looked, leave no stone unturned.
OK then! I mean, the guy had a pretty consistent track record until he left in 2020, so either 2020 happened or leaving did. It doesn't seem like much of a stretch at all that he would get himself back to a serviceable level.
 

OurF'ingCity

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OK then! I mean, the guy had a pretty consistent track record until he left in 2020, so either 2020 happened or leaving did. It doesn't seem like much of a stretch at all that he would get himself back to a serviceable level.
Particularly given that we don't need him to be 2018-19 Workman, we just need him to be "better than Austin Brice." Which he may very well be already.

But, yeah, I don't think they need 14 pitchers on the roster and I also am befuddled by the lack of work for Valdez - I don't think he's particularly good or anything but he seems clearly better than Brice.
 

chawson

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But, yeah, I don't think they need 14 pitchers on the roster and I also am befuddled by the lack of work for Valdez - I don't think he's particularly good or anything but he seems clearly better than Brice.
Valdez is hardly overpowering but “particularly good” is almost exactly how I’d describe him so far.

40942
 

azsoxpatsfan

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Valdez is hardly overpowering but “particularly good” is almost exactly how I’d describe him so far.

View attachment 40942
This is an awesome graph, Valdez has definitely impressed and I’m also confused as to the sparse usage. Off-topic, but I’ve always wondered what the point of “max exit velo” is, especially for hitters. Every major leaguer has the ability to hit a ball really hard, so I’ve never understood how it can possibly be predictive of anything, and it doesn’t seem to show anything other than one random event
 

grimshaw

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Agree. He is also going nowhere other than AAA if they DFA him, given how good pitching currently is across the majors.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Brandon Workman just worked the 8th inning for Worcester in their televised home opener. Walk, strikeout, E9, RBI single, walk, strikeout, F7. 27 pitches, 1 run allowed. Guess that qualifies as a hold (WooSox led 6-4 when he entered).

Kinda shaky.
 

BornToRun

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Brandon Workman just worked the 8th inning for Worcester in their televised home opener. Walk, strikeout, E9, RBI single, walk, strikeout, F7. 27 pitches, 1 run allowed. Guess that qualifies as a hold (WooSox led 6-4 when he entered).

Kinda shaky.
Dude never had good command. Even at his best.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Even with the eventual return of Sale (likely being in the bullpen for the season and hopefully the playoffs) I think it's looking pretty clear that they need to add someone there that can at least be projected to be better than the staff outside of Barnes. I have no idea where that'd be coming from or what the price would be but I suspect Duran will be at the top of any trade discussion to add that type of relief arm. I'd be inclined to do it (at this point... or if we're looking at the same situation in mid July)
 

Cesar Crespo

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Even with the eventual return of Sale (likely being in the bullpen for the season and hopefully the playoffs) I think it's looking pretty clear that they need to add someone there that can at least be projected to be better than the staff outside of Barnes. I have no idea where that'd be coming from or what the price would be but I suspect Duran will be at the top of any trade discussion to add that type of relief arm. I'd be inclined to do it (at this point... or if we're looking at the same situation in mid July)
As the season progresses, one of the current bullpen arms could turn into that guy. Hirokazu has some interesting numbers (26.0% swinging strike %, league average 19.0%, 18.8% strike looking %, league average 26.4%) and there are other guys in the pen with interesting profiles.

I'm not a huge fan of Duran but I'd rather not move a potential starting OF for a bullpen arm.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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As the season progresses, one of the current bullpen arms could turn into that guy. Hirokazu has some interesting numbers (26.0% swinging strike %, league average 19.0%, 18.8% strike looking %, league average 26.4%) and there are other guys in the pen with interesting profiles.

I'm not a huge fan of Duran but I'd rather not move a potential starting OF for a bullpen arm.
Definitely would be preferable....
I'm of the opinion that Duran is little more than expected trade bait and there's been a lot of fluffing going on to make him look a little more desirable (I'd think other GM's would see through this stuff... but then there was the Workman/Hembree deal last year so....?).
I also wouldn't want Duran for just a "bullpen arm"... but if it's clearly someone as dominant as Eric Gagne was in '07 before he headed to the Sox... then I'm all in!
 

Cesar Crespo

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Definitely would be preferable....
I'm of the opinion that Duran is little more than expected trade bait and there's been a lot of fluffing going on to make him look a little more desirable (I'd think other GM's would see through this stuff... but then there was the Workman/Hembree deal last year so....?).
I also wouldn't want Duran for just a "bullpen arm"... but if it's clearly someone as dominant as Eric Gagne was in '07 before he headed to the Sox... then I'm all in!
If it was someone that dominant and the Sox still had a year or two of control beyond this year, maybe.

Like I said, I'm not high on Duran but if he can hit 15-20 HRs a year, he's a fringe all star. I'm just not convinced he ever will. Going into the year, he had 8 HRs in 880 PA. He has 3 in 31 so far and all the talk about him last year was the improved power. I definitely wouldn't be inclined to trade him in May though. Everything else about his game is up to par.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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If it was someone that dominant and the Sox still had a year or two of control beyond this year, maybe.

Like I said, I'm not high on Duran but if he can hit 15-20 HRs a year, he's a fringe all star. I'm just not convinced he ever will. Going into the year, he had 8 HRs in 880 PA. He has 3 in 31 so far and all the talk about him last year was the improved power. I definitely wouldn't be inclined to trade him in May though. Everything else about his game is up to par.
Yes... would agree on the additional seasons of control. Obviously the Gagne reference was a reminder of how awful those "dominant" relievers can suddenly turn into a turd. IIRC, the warning signs were all there on Gagne (actually I think Eric Van was vehemently against the trade?) so hopefully all those little peripherals would get noticed and not ignored
 

Cesar Crespo

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Yes... would agree on the additional seasons of control. Obviously the Gagne reference was a reminder of how awful those "dominant" relievers can suddenly turn into a turd. IIRC, the warning signs were all there on Gagne (actually I think Eric Van was vehemently against the trade?) so hopefully all those little peripherals would get noticed and not ignored
There were tons of warning signs but the Sox also didn't trade anyone away the caliber of Duran. I don't think any were in the Sox top 10 prospects at the time.

David Murphy, Kason Gabbard and Engel Beltre. 2 Fringe prospects and a lottery ticket.
 

TapeAndPosts

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There were tons of warning signs but the Sox also didn't trade anyone away the caliber of Duran. I don't think any were in the Sox top 10 prospects at the time.

David Murphy, Kason Gabbard and Engel Beltre. 2 Fringe prospects and a lottery ticket.
David Murphy was probably only a 11-20 Sox prospect at the time of the trade, but he did end up giving the Rangers a little over 10 WAR in 6 1/2 years. Not sure what odds I'd put on getting that from Duran but I'd be pretty happy to get it.
 

Cesar Crespo

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David Murphy was probably only a 11-20 Sox prospect at the time of the trade, but he did end up giving the Rangers a little over 10 WAR in 6 1/2 years. Not sure what odds I'd put on getting that from Duran but I'd be pretty happy to get it.
It largely depends on what position Duran sticks at. Murphy played mostly LF and had an 11.0 oWAR and -5.1 dWAR.

Duran should have pretty big advantages in baserunning and possibly fielding but he could also end up in LF.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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It largely depends on what position Duran sticks at. Murphy played mostly LF and had an 11.0 oWAR and -5.1 dWAR.

Duran should have pretty big advantages in baserunning and possibly fielding but he could also end up in LF.
Agree. This would be a fun poll question to look back on. Will Duran accumulate more or less than 10 WAR in his career?

If he were even a year younger, I’d optimistically bet the over. But I share the concern that he might never figure out CF, and that his power might dissipate at the MLB level. A highpoint of a one or two, 2-3 WAR seasons, and ending up with a few .5 WAR years as a #4 OF is a pretty likely career arc, imo.
 

shaggydog2000

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Agree. This would be a fun poll question to look back on. Will Duran accumulate more or less than 10 WAR in his career?

If he were even a year younger, I’d optimistically bet the over. But I share the concern that he might never figure out CF, and that his power might dissipate at the MLB level. A highpoint of a one or two, 2-3 WAR seasons, and ending up with a few .5 WAR years as a #4 OF is a pretty likely career arc, imo.
I think the chances of any player who isn't a consensus top 100 prospect being worth 10 WAR over his career has got to be pretty low. Even him playing a full season in the MLB has got to be low.
 

chawson

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I’ve thought for the past year that Duran’s the second coming of Jordan Schafer, but after his obvious swing changes and dimmer national scouting I can’t tell anymore how much hype is helium.

Bloom can spin good relievers out of straw though. I hope anyone Duran’s moved for is a long-term piece.
 

Cesar Crespo

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So what's the deal with Bazardo? He looks like he has good stuff. His minor league numbers have been very good. So why hasn't he been touted as a bigger prospect? I think he's intriguing as hell.
Because he's a minor league MR. These guys are almost never prospects by default.

edit: He was one of my follows in 2019 though. Pretty lights out and as you said, great track record. He could be legit he was just never going to be on any prospect lists.
 

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Because he's a minor league MR. These guys are almost never prospects by default.

edit: He was one of my follows in 2019 though. Pretty lights out and as you said, great track record. He could be legit he was just never going to be on any prospect lists.
That makes sense. Thanks.
I remain intrigued.
 

nvalvo

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So what's the deal with Bazardo? He looks like he has good stuff. His minor league numbers have been very good. So why hasn't he been touted as a bigger prospect? I think he's intriguing as hell.
Bazardo was left unprotected and unclaimed after 2019, and then didn't pitch in 2020. But he showed up to the 2020 fall instructs with considerably more velocity than he had previously shown, and then was placed on the 40-man. See here.

I think when he was throwing 92, no one really believed that he'd be able to get MLB hitters out, even if he was pretty good in A ball. Once he's throwing 97 though...
 

Cesar Crespo

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Bazardo was left unprotected and unclaimed after 2019, and then didn't pitch in 2020. But he showed up to the 2020 fall instructs with considerably more velocity than he had previously shown, and then was placed on the 40-man. See here.

I think when he was throwing 92, no one really believed that he'd be able to get MLB hitters out, even if he was pretty good in A ball. Once he's throwing 97 though...
No one pitched in 2020.

They've had quite a few players add 4-5 mph to their velocity the last few years though. Most of them were 18-20 when they did so.
 

billy ashley

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there was some surprise that he wasn't protected or claimed in 19. He has been posting elite spin rates for some time. I think the bump in velocity means he may be a 6th/7th inning guy. But there was reason to think he could be a 11th or 12th pitcher on a staff before the velocity bump.
 

Cesar Crespo

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What do people think of Sawamura to date? The fly ball numbers are scary but there's not much of a sample size to work with either. He's striking out 30.1% of the batters he faces and only walking 8.4%.

Another curious thing about him
19.4% looking strike %. 26.7% swinging strike %
The league average is
26.4% looking strike %, 19.8% swinging strike %.

He's like the inverse of the average pitcher.
 

Hairps

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It looks like the Sox have really tinkered with Valdez's pitch mix:

2019 (w/ TEX) -> 2020 (w/ Sox) -> 2021 (w/ Sox)

Sinker: 57.7% -> 45.2% -> 27.8%
Changeup: 36.2% -> 48.9% -> 64.5%
Slider: 5.5% -> 5.9% -> 7.7%

Whatever the reason, something is working as Valdez is second in all of MLB in weak contact %. His weak contact % has jumped from 0% to 5.7% to 16.3% from 2019 to this season.
 

effectivelywild

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It looks like the Sox have really tinkered with Valdez's pitch mix:

2019 (w/ TEX) -> 2020 (w/ Sox) -> 2021 (w/ Sox)

Sinker: 57.7% -> 45.2% -> 27.8%
Changeup: 36.2% -> 48.9% -> 64.5%
Slider: 5.5% -> 5.9% -> 7.7%

Whatever the reason, something is working as Valdez is second in all of MLB in weak contact %. His weak contact % has jumped from 0% to 5.7% to 16.3% from 2019 to this season.
What's especially weird is that it has been, and continues to be, his least effective pitch by RV/100. On the other hand, his other two pitches have plummeted in quality. RV/100 for the last 3 years:
Sinker: 2--> 2--> -0.6
Slider: 0.8--> 0.9--> -3.7
Changeup: -3.7 --> -2 --> -0.7

My guess is they're just having him throw more of the pitch that has actually improved versus the two that have fell off a cliff. Even if the pitch itself isn't very good.

However, some of his advanced metrics suggest it IS his best pitch based on xWBA and xSLG. One thing he has been doing differently this year is throwing it in the zone more often, rather than trying to throw it just off the plate. His sinker location has risen with the Sox too, which probably isn't a good thing since it now goes middle-middle pretty often. His slider has basically turned into a show-me pitch.
 

greek_gawd_of_walks

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Sawamura was incredible last night. The real save came in the eighth. Second inning of duty with statnton, judge, urshela and torres up. Apart from the walkof Stanton, he was perfect.

If he turns out to be Tazawa 2.0 (12-14), we'd all be ecstatic, especially with how well Tazawa handled MFY. The repertoires are similar too. Sensational stuff. Sawamura being a reliable hi-lev performer goes a long way in the bullpen stabilizing.
 

cantor44

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I'm still wrapping my head around the fact that the bullpen is actually ... well ... really good. Bloom's best work perhaps. Wonder if anyone understands, meanwhile, why Whitlock hasn't pitched much lately ....
 

Cesar Crespo

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I'm still wrapping my head around the fact that the bullpen is actually ... well ... really good. Bloom's best work perhaps. Wonder if anyone understands, meanwhile, why Whitlock hasn't pitched much lately ....
He pitched on the 1st and they've been using him the same way all season. Maybe they are stretching him out to be a starter, but the rotation seems pretty good atm too outside of EdRod.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.fcgi?id=whitlga01&t=p&year=2021

The only real hole on the team atm is 1b.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Ottavino last 9: 7.1 ip, 0r. 5bb/11k.
Taylor's last 14: 9.1 ip, 0r. 3bb/9k
Darwinzon's last 6: 5.1 ip, 0r, 5bb/9k.
Whitlocks last 3: 5.1 ip, 0r, 4bb/6k


Good times.