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The Phillies and Blue Jays played to a 9-9 tie yesterday, and will spend the remainder of the pre-season working on extra point conversions. But, the real news was the final roster changes, the subject of much discussion here at the Box.

The last remaining decisions concerned the makeup of the bullpen. Curiously enough, Jay bullpen usage and effectiveness is going to be looked at more closely in the Box this year. My focus will be on bullpen usage through my biweekly Game Reports, and Thomas Ayers will be taking a closer look at the effectiveness of the bullpen once the season gets underway.

I will be doing Game Reports every other Friday this year. My plan is to use this as an opportunity to gather information about bullpen usage in a 7 man pen, both objective and subjective. Each Game Report will include a summary of the use of each member of the pen over the previous 2 weeks in a chart.

I will record for each game, the inning that the pitcher entered the game, the number of batters faced, and the opposition's Gross Production Average or GPA (1.8 X OBP + slugging percentage divided by 4). For those of you who are not familiar with GPA, it is a simple measure of offence, and the scale is similar to that for batting average: less than .200 is very poor,.200-.240 is below average;.240-.280 is average; .280-.320 is good; above .320 is excellent. Obviously, for pitchers, you want to see lower numbers.

The chart for the next Game Report will look like this before the season:

April 4-April 14

(entrance inning/batters faced/opp. GPA)

date Batista  Speier   Frasor   League   Schoen   Chulk    Walker
Ap 4

Ap 5

Ap 6

Ap 7

Ap 8

Ap 9

Ap 10

Ap 11

Ap 12

Ap 13

Ap 14

Let's suppose the relief pattern for the Tampa series April 4-6 goes like this. In the first game, Halladay goes 6 innings (shutout, of course). Frasor mows them down in order in the 7th. Speier gives up a single and nothing more in the 8th. Batista gives up a solo homer and nothing more in the ninth. On April 5, Towers starts and leaves with one out in the sixth. Brandon League finishes the sixth and throws the seventh, walking two while allowing no hits. Schoeneweis faces the first 2 batters of the eighth and retires them, and Speier faces and retires the last batter of the eighth. The Jays blow the game open in the ninth, and Chulk comes on and gives up a walk, and two doubles in the bottom half. On April 6, Chacin starts and is pulled with 2 outs in the 5th. Pete Walker pitches the remainder of the game, giving up 5 hits, including a homer, and 2 walks, and gets the win!

At the end of the 3 game series, our chart will look like this:

April 4-April 14

(entrance inning/batters faced/opp. GPA)

date Batista  Speier   Frasor   League   Schoen   Chulk    Walker
Ap 4 9.0/4/   8.0/4/   7.0/3/  
     .362     .175     .000
Ap 5          8.2/1/            6.1/7/    8.0/2/   9.0/6/
              .000              .129      .000     .425
Ap 6                                                        5.2/20/
Ap 7

Ap 8

Ap 9

Ap 10

Ap 11

Ap 12

Ap 13

Ap 14

We will ignore intentional walks in the GPA calculation.

That will cover the objective measures. For the subjective, I NEED YOU. Yes, you. I will set up with each Game Report a new thread for comments about bullpen usage and performance. I do not watch or even listen to every game (SHAME!), and there is much that doesn't show up in a boxscore or game log:

-did a reliever warm up on several days without coming into a game, or in several innings before coming in?

-what platoon advantages were gained or lost, bearing in mind who was left on the opponent's bench when a particular change was made

-how the reliever looked on the mound, and

-anything else that captures your fancy. The first thread will be up on Monday afternoon for your posting pleasure.

Of course, it won't all be hard slogging in my Game Reports. We'll have a few comments about defence, and an update on the Gleeman/Green bet.

Links of the Day:

Youthful Jays article by Shi Davidi

Jay preview from Syracuse with an interesting Sawkiw tidbit

TBG's Christopher James gives his take on the Jay outfield

Play ball.

The Bullpen Project | 16 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Grand Funk RR - Friday, April 01 2005 @ 09:41 AM EST (#108519) #
Being that it's April Fool's Day, here's a link to a great story, a follow-up to the infamous Sidd Finch fiasco...
Dr. Zarco - Friday, April 01 2005 @ 01:03 PM EST (#108560) #
Dan Shulman and Buck Martinez are back together, as they're doing the Yanks/Tigers game on ESPN today. Good to see.
Dr. Zarco - Friday, April 01 2005 @ 01:21 PM EST (#108570) #
On the Yanks/Tigers broadcast, Dan and Buck are talking about Pudge with regards to the steroids thing--and Pudge currently weighs 185! Wow...
kpataky - Friday, April 01 2005 @ 01:46 PM EST (#108578) #
I saw Pudge crush a Clemens fastball out for HR a week ago in ST. The ball left the park faster than any I can remember. 185 lbs or not, the man still has got it.
Craig B - Friday, April 01 2005 @ 02:19 PM EST (#108582) #
Even at 185, Pudge is still a fairly big guy since he only stands 5-7. I think he's listed at 5-8 or 5-9. When he weighed 200, he was a fireplug.

One thing I noticed looking at the broadcast, now that you mentioned it, is that his ass and thighs, which used to be huge (not Vladimir Guerrero huge, but normal huge) aren't so big. I bet he lost 70% or more of that weight off his lower body, which will surely help his quickness behind the plate.
Gardiner West - Friday, April 01 2005 @ 02:42 PM EST (#108585) #
Dan & Buck calling a baseball game in my living room. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

Listen to the commentary and listen to the descriptions. Pure gold and Canadian trained.
Nolan - Friday, April 01 2005 @ 04:54 PM EST (#108612) #
So the Devil Rays signed Carl Crawford to a 6 year/$31 million contract.

Nolan - Friday, April 01 2005 @ 04:56 PM EST (#108613) #
That above tidbit was from is a little more specific in relaying the terms of the contract:

"Tampa Bay All-Star outfielder Carl Crawford agreed Friday to a $15.25 million, four-year contract that could be worth up to $32.5 million over six seasons."
Mike Green - Friday, April 01 2005 @ 05:02 PM EST (#108615) #

Very interesting. Here are Crawford's BR comps at age 22. It's a pretty amazing list, but frankly it says more about the comparison process than Crawford. Claudell Washington is a pretty good comp, but none of the others really are.

I like the deal from Tampa's perspective. Crawford is a fine player, and he's likely to be better through the end of the deal when he will only be 29.

Pepper Moffatt - Friday, April 01 2005 @ 05:39 PM EST (#108623) #
PECOTA Top 5 for Crawford

1. Johhny Damon (1997)
2. Joe Orsulak (1986)
3. Curtis Goodwin (1996)
4. Willie Davis (1964)
5. Terry Puhl (1980)

Other notables: Erstad (6th), Molitor (8th), Beltran (9th), Ryne Sandberg?!?! (13th)
Chuck - Friday, April 01 2005 @ 07:06 PM EST (#108641) #
Ryne Sandberg?!?! (13th)

Sandberg makes sense in that he also started young, didn't hit for power, didn't walk much and stole some bases. Eventually he hit for power, of course, and the shape of his offense changed.

The folks at BTF are bullish on the signing. He is very young and does play good defense, but I'm nervous about a player who has so much of his SLG tied up in triples.

Nolan - Friday, April 01 2005 @ 07:53 PM EST (#108652) #

I doubt anyone remembers, but not too long ago I linked to this website that had two of three Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball Experts say that thye'd like to see Toronto either relocated or contracted.

Well, here is the response to that column. There was a considerable amount of backlash from Jays fans and even a BattersBox plug. Check it out.

Rich - Friday, April 01 2005 @ 08:44 PM EST (#108665) #
Thanks for that Nolan; what a tool that Brandon clown is. His response to the Jays fans was even weaker than his original argument. Here is the letter I sent him: Brandon, your second "explanation" of why the Jays should be a contraction candidate is incredibly weak. Comparing baseball in Toronto, which has a history dating back to Babe Ruth's first professional home run at 20,000 seat Maple Leaf stadium to hockey in Nashville is pure ignorance.

Your "ingrained feel" that baseball doesn't belong in Canada is based on virtually nothing of any consequence. The Jays have been in the playoffs 5 times in their 28-year history and have had years where they AVERAGED a sell-out crowd in a 50,000 seat stadium. The city can and will support a winning team.

If it's all about the park for you, well, the turf has been replaced with a more grass-like surface, and both the weather and the cost of the current stadium will forever prohibit an outdoor grass ballpark. The Dome is not delightful with the roof closed, but it's fine when it's open and is undergoing a big face-lift right now. Your argument boils down to "the stadium's not great and the city's in Canada". The corrollary of this would be if your nutty leader invaded and annexed us and then built an outdoor baseball park for the Jays they'd be fine in your view. I can't see how being in Canada or not having a new mallpark trumps a solid baseball history, large market, and well-financed stable local ownership in any reasoned analysis.

VBF - Friday, April 01 2005 @ 09:06 PM EST (#108669) #
Very nicely said.

And if you all must know, it was I who included the Batter's Box plug because when people tell me baseball will never last in Canada, one quick visit of this site can change their mind.

However, only I could be dumb enough to screw up the spelling. D'oh.
brent - Saturday, April 02 2005 @ 01:18 AM EST (#108684) #
Why would some say that this is the make or break season for J.P.? He has a legitimate plan, and he needs time to make the system work. Please be patient. He knows that improving the team anywhere (taking Chulk over Lightenberg) could translate into a few more wins. Do you want to finish 79-83 or 83-79? It is a marathon and all of those small bounces make a difference. You lose and win 50 games in spite of yourself. It is the rest that determine the rest of the season. Improving the defense can help with this, too. It is the same with the amount of rally killing strikeouts that have plagued the Jays.
R Billie - Saturday, April 02 2005 @ 03:24 PM EST (#108727) #
Doubleplays kill rallies as much as strikeouts. I fear the Jays might be near the top of the list in GIDP this year. Combine that with below average power and average onbase and it's not looking good for the offence.
The Bullpen Project | 16 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.