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July 15, 2011; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Sean Marshall (45) delivers a pitch during the ninth inning against the Florida Marlins at Wrigley Field. The Cubs beat the Marlins 2-1. (Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE)

How Re-Vamped is the Reds Bullpen?

While many Reds fans were relishing the addition of Mat Latos to the Reds starting staff, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty sought to upgrade the bullpen as well. In looking over the overall 2011 numbers, the bullpen authored these numbers in comparison to the rest of the National League:

ERA: 3.55 (9th)
Wins: 29 (3rd)
Saves: 39 (15th)
Innings: 499.0 (7th)
WHIP: 1.317 (11th)
Slash Against: .234 (7th)/.322 (11th)/.367 (9th)
Inherited Runners Scored: 29%

These numbers are a little misleading. The Reds ‘pen appears to have not performed well. Sure, Reds fans did receive a scare or two from the ‘pen, but they did perform at a decent level. If you check out John Heitz’s NL Central look at all the bullpens in relation to his QRO/QAR, you will see a far better outlook.

(To review QRO, QAR and all supplemental info, check out this post.)

With the moves Jocketty made, how much will the additions of Sean Marshall and Ryan Madson improve the Reds bullpen? Will these moves aid the Reds in their chances to win the NL Cental and even beyond?

So, let’s look at these moves, shall we?

First, Madson is replacing that of the departed Francisco Cordero. While Madson posted nice numbers for 2011, Cordero arguably posted his best in the four years he was in Cincinnati. If Cordero had a blip (besides that slide prior to the All-Star break), it would be the severe decline in his SO/9 from 10.0 in his first season as a Red (’08) to 5.4 last season.

But how do these two compare in QAR/FAR?

Madson: APP – 62, QRO – 52, FRO – 10, QAR – 84%, FAR – 16%
Cordero: APP – 68, QRO – 53, FRO – 14, QAR – 78%, FAR – 21%

Madson is clearly an upgrade in viewing these numbers.

Now, Marshall. He will be the “replacement” for Aroldis Chapman. Chapman also had good numbers for 2011. Yes, there was the wild factor and the issue revolving around velocity on back-to-back outings, but he was still effective.

But, how do Marshall and Chapman compare?

Marshall: APP – 78, QRO – 59, FRO – 15, QAR – 76%, FAR – 19%
Chapman: APP – 54, QRO – 39, FRO – 11, QAR – 72%, FAR – 20%

Closer than the comps of Madson and Cordero, but again, the “new guy” wins out here.

A review of something here. According to QAR, the Reds (65.4%) were second in the NL Central for last season as Milwaukee was tops (66.6%). The Reds FAR was 29.4%, ranking them third behind the Brewers (27.4%) and the Cubs (27.5%). All other bullpens posted a FAR over 30%.

But let’s think about something here. In essence, the Reds have removed their two best arms in regards to QAR and FAR with Chapman making a transition to that of starter and Cordero leaving via free agency to Toronto. Their “replacements” (Marshall and Madson) performed better in 2011. So, in the grand scheme of things, the Reds have upgraded.

But what of the rest of the ‘pen? I do have a couple of questions.

Will Sam LeCure continue to progress as he did last season? You could see toward the end of the season that Dusty was not afraid to put LeCure in higher leveraged situations.

Will we see the Logan Ondrusek before the disabled list or after his DL stint? Ondrusek was putting together a fine season previous to missing three weeks in August. His overall numbers result in a wash in comparison to 2010 as the ERA was lower (3.68 to 3.23), but the WHIP showed an increase (1.176 to 1.353).

Will Nick Masset be able to perform well in April? The last two seasons have not shown that to not be the case. In 2010, he was 2-1, but an ERA of 11.32 and WHIP of 2.419 is far from desirable. Same for 2011 when Masset was 0-3 posting an ERA of 4.40 and a WHIP of 1.605. For 2010, Masset did put things together after that horrendous start. 2011 did not provide as much relief.

What can we expect from Jose Arredondo? After missing all of 2010 due to Tommy John surgery, Arredondo show glimpses of his days as an Angel. With that full year after the procedure now under his belt, we could see more of a return to those Angels days. We can only hope we don’t see the same results as we did with a certain pitcher now in San Diego. (Yes, I’m afraid to mention his name.)

And then there’s Bill Bray, the lefty specialist…or some think. Sure, he’s good against lefties (.180 BAA), but he wasn’t too bad against righties either (.226). For the first half of 2011, Bray was outstanding. The second half, the ERA doubled and the WHIP did show a slight increase. BAA went from .175 in the first half to .243 in the second half.

With only two pitchers that will be different from that of what mostly consisted the bullpen last season, I can say this area has improved. But re-vamped? No.

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Tags: Aroldis Chapman Baseball Bill Bray Cincinnati Reds Francisco Cordero Jose Arredondo Logan Ondrusek MLB Nick Masset Reds Bullpen Ryan Madson Sam LeCure Sean Marshall

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