39.10 Checking the Locks: Bullpen

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39.10 Checking the Locks: Bullpen

Post by crobillard » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:26 pm

This is a series where I will evaluate the options in each position leading into Spring Training. This is the ninth of eleven parts. I will be taking a look into the bullpen in this post.

Sure fire locks: Arturo Lopez, Carlos Rosa, Jose Torres, Jorge Huerta, Jose Luna
Near locks: Vincente Ventura, Ignacio Castaneda, Wen Huang
Trying to get in the door: Don Hinxman, Jesus Torres, Claudio Escobedo

Quite a bit of turnover in the bullpen this season required me to bring in some new arms so I can throw them at the wall and see what sticks. Not literally. Yikes. The core of Huerta, Lopez and Torres is back. I'm excited to get a full season out of Torres. With Brooklyn last season, he had an ERA of 5.61 in 33.2 innings. After the trade to Edmonton he had an ERA of 2.81 in 64 innings, so he was very good for us. Lopez was up and down much of the season, but ended the year with a 3.75 ERA in 74.1 innings so he was really solid. Huerta was our best bullpen arm by far last season and we tried to put him out on the mound as much as possible. He's not Grady, but he had a 13-10 record with 33 saves, a 3.16 ERA and 115 Ks in 105.1 innings. We're looking forward to seeing Luna pair together with him. The acquisition from Nashville had a 4.06 ERA in 57.2 innings last season, but we're expecting bigger things from the hard throwing 24 year old.

With a potentially less effective rotation this season, we are moving towards using our bullpen more than we have in the past, so we'll need more arms. Ventura, Casteneda and Huang are more than likely here to fill out the remaining spots in the bullpen. Hinxman, Jesus and Escobedo will challenge them, but there's certainly some parity in talent among these groups. Escobedo had a shot at the tail end of last season to showcase some lefty specialist chops, but in extremely limited work in Edmonton he was terrible. I think he's worth another shot though, so he will need to prove it. Ventura is the other lefty specialist option, while Hinxman could threaten to own a lefty specialist spot, but he's probably not ready. Jesus is a fine option out of AAA, but I can't see him going far. If he fills out his curveball a bit more, he could get could get called up to face some major league hitting. I wouldn't rule a lefty pitcher out since we're starving so badly for them, but I'm not excited about him.

Huang and Castaneda should make the roster. Castaneda was acquired at the start of the offseason to bring in some new bullpen arms. I love the sidearm arm slot and his 11 fastball at 99-101 velocity. The 27 year old Huang has been up and down on the roster, but the he's been really solid for Edmonton the past four seasons. He deserves to get a full season to showcase a complete body of work, but after a few lumps he may not be the pitcher that he was.
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Re: 39.9 Checking the Locks: Bullpen

Post by jleddy » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:51 pm

Ventura sure has looked good during his career (save for 2037)...I wonder if he can go a full season in the BBA or if limiting him to a LOOGY role is what keeps his big league numbers respectful despite his ratings.
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Re: 39.9 Checking the Locks: Bullpen

Post by crobillard » Thu Jun 27, 2019 5:01 am

jleddy wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:51 pm
Ventura sure has looked good during his career (save for 2037)...I wonder if he can go a full season in the BBA or if limiting him to a LOOGY role is what keeps his big league numbers respectful despite his ratings.
Yeah, he’s an interesting pitcher. I’m not quite sure where he’ll land. I think holding him under 50 innings is in my best interest, but he’s posting and ERA under 3 or 4 I’ll make damn sure to take advantage of that. If he does poorly though, putting him in a loogy role should help.
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Re: 39.10 Checking the Locks: Bullpen

Post by RonCo » Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:47 pm

Ventura can (obviously) get RHB out, but I generally had a solid enough pen that I kept him focused as a specialist to optimize. Once he starts getting pricey, though, that's a little less palatable.
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Re: 39.10 Checking the Locks: Bullpen

Post by crobillard » Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:03 pm

RonCo wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:47 pm
Ventura can (obviously) get RHB out, but I generally had a solid enough pen that I kept him focused as a specialist to optimize. Once he starts getting pricey, though, that's a little less palatable.
Lol yeah. I started him out as a specialist and strung out so many good innings for me at this point that I am putting him out more and more. My bullpen is so trash and I feel like it got better than last year. I mean Luna alone should have brought an upgrade. I dunno, OOTP has been weird to my team this season. I'm hoping we'll turn it around though.
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