Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bullpen Power Rankings

The bullpen is awful. Awful. Awful. 5.31 ERA/1.56 WHIP awful - and that includes Bedard's, Clemens', and Keuchel's solid multi-inning relief outings. in 50.2IP, they've collectively allowed 59H/31ER, 23K:20BB, 2 HBP, 6 HR. So let's break down the Bullpen Power Rankings, shall we?

1. Dallas Keuchel

If either Keuchel or Clemens, next on the list, were given opportunities to start, I'd be totally fine with it. But Keuchel leads us off, because in his three appearances in relief, he's thrown 3IP twice and 2IP once, maintaining a 1.13 ERA, and allowed eight baserunners total in his 8IP. Yes, he allowed one of Peacock's runners to score, but that's because it was a liner to right and Peacock is a ninnymuggins for that guy getting to third in the first place. 69 of his 104 pitches have been thrown for strikes, and he's generated two GIDPs.

2. Paul Clemens

If I factored likeability into the Power Rankings, Clemens would have jumped Keuchel (and I really like Keuchel). I'm willing to write off his 4IP, 6H/5ER, 0K:1BB, 3HR performance on April 9 (the 16-9 win over Seattle) because it was his Major-League debut. His performance two nights ago, in which he threw 5.1IP, 1H/0ER, 3K:2BB is enough for me, because Bedard nutted his start so badly and Clemens shut it down. The Astros only scored one run in those 5.1IP, but that's not what we're talking about right now. Basically, he's the last guy on this list in whom I'm actually okay with coming into the game. 

3. Wesley Wright

Wesley Wright, the elder statesman on the club, has been okay in his seven appearances - bookended by rough outings. On April 2 (the Yu Darvish game), he allowed a hit, a walk, and both ended up scoring. Then he put together five outings that were fair: 3.2IP, 2H/0ER, 1K:0BB. Problem is, those two hits came against Oakland in G5 when he inherited two runners that both scored, and put the Astros from a tie situation to a Down 2 situation. In G13, at Oakland, the Astros were down seven runs, but he still allowed three baserunners and threw 12 of his 23 pitches for strikes. Two of those runners scored.

4. Hector Ambriz

In his season opener, Ambriz came into the game with the Astros down one run to the Rangers in G3. By the time he left, the Astros were down four runs. In his next outing, nobody scored, but he gave up three hits. Then a clean outing, and another 3H/4R (1ER) performance. In his last three appearances, though (3IP), he's allowed 4H/0ER and 28 of his 39 pitches have been for strikes. 

5. Jose Veras

Veras, the $1.85m man, has appeared in five games and the Astros have been worse off when he left in three of them. Every other outing he gets tagged up - 2ER in G2, 3H/1ER in G6, and then he blew the save against the Angels on Saturday night that would have won the road series by allowing 2H/2ER, 1K:1BB. It was a high-leverage situation, but one more out and the Astros be 4-4 on the road trip, instead of 3-5. 

6. Rhiner Cruz

Ugh. Rhiner Cruz. Throws it hard, but has no idea where it's headed. In his last three outings, the Astros have been worse off when he left than when he came in. In fact, in his last three outings (2.2IP), he has allowed 5H/4ER, 1K:2BB and 29 of his 52 pitches have been for strikes. In those three games, his ERA has gone from 1.50 to 5.19. Whenever Cruz comes in the game, that's when I take the dog out for a walk.

7. Xavier Cedeno

Cedeno, easily the 3rd-best lefty in the bullpen (out of three) has a 17.18 ERA and has allowed 14 baserunners on the way to getting eleven outs (1K:5BB). And while his ERA is inflated, FanGraphs puts his FIP at 7.72 with a 9.23 xFIP. So it's not as though he's suffering from terrible defense. He did throw 2.2IP in G6 when the Astros were already down eight runs to the A's, and allowed 1H/0ER, 1K:1BB, but he has allowed earned runs in three of his four appearances.