Marshall, Broxton, and Chapman vs. The Nasty Boys


It started as soon as the deal was announced. When Jonathan Broxton became a Red, everyone was already comparing the new three-armed monster at the back of the bullpen to the Nasty Boys of 1990 that helped lead Cincinnati to a World Series championship.

Almost everyone, anyway. Here’s what Trevor Hoffman told Hal McCoy:

"“Nothing is going to compare to Norm (Charlton), Randy (Myers), and Rob (Dibble), but those are three really good arms in the back of the bullpen.”"

Yes, they are. But surely Hoffman is right. Sean Marshall, Broxton, and Aroldis Chapman are very good, but they probably don’t compare to the Nasty Boys.

Ah, what the heck. Let’s look at the numbers anyway and see how they stack up.

First of all, I’m only looking at averages through Wednesday night’s game. Obviously the totals for the 1990 squad will be higher since there are still 58 games to play for the 2012 group. I’m also ignoring the rest of their careers, and only comparing 1990 to 2012. You also have to take into consideration that Broxton pitched in another league for the first four months of the season.

There are quite a few similarities between the two trios. Both consisted of two lefties and a righty. The average age of both is right around 27 years old. When you look at ERA and K/9, you find that Charlton and Broxton match up fairly well, as do Myers and Marshall and Dibble and Chapman.

Charlton 2.74, Broxton 2.21
Myers 2.08, Marshall 2.41
Dibble 1.74, Chapman 1.39

Charlton 6.8, Broxton 6.4
Myers 10.2, Marshall 10.5
Dibble 12.5, Chapman 16.8

Well OK, Chapman’s K/9 is out of this world. But the numbers aren’t too far off. Now let’s look at the Nasty Boys as a whole vs. this year‘s version. For the sake of argument, I’m taking out intentional walks from the BB/9 and WHIP, since 1990 had 15 intentional walks compared to 1 for 2012, and intentional walks are typically up to the manager.

1990: 2.28
2012: 1.99

Batting Average Against
1990: .208
2012: .213

1990: 1.12
2012: 1.06

1990: 9.32
2012: 11.83

1990: 3.37
2012: 2.56

1990: 0.50
2012: 0.49

So there you have it. Marshall, Broxton and Chapman have a lower ERA, lower WHIP, higher strike out rate, lower walk rate, and lower home run rate than the Nasty Boys. They win every category but opponent batting average, and that probably is mostly due to Marshall’s abnormally high BABIP, which, at .351, is 50 points above his career average.

Also, when you include the rest of the guys and look at the two bullpens as a whole, 2012 has the edge again. Reds relievers in 2012 are outperforming their 1990 counterparts in nearly every category.

No disrespect to Mr. Hoffman or the original Nasty Boys, but these guys may be nastier. They already have the numbers, now all they need is a nickname. What do you think?

One final interesting note. Some of you may remember that Charlton started the season in the bullpen, but was converted to a starter in the second half. How about that…