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The pen has been used a lot this year and has a lot of guys in it.  9 at all times it seems.  The 1983 team which many compare this team to (young, on edge of greatness but nightmare pen) had a total of 11 relievers all year.  Times have changed a lot.

The pen is interesting...25 guys used so far.
<5 G: 9 guys - 3 active: Cimber, Stripling, Kay, Barnes (Stripling now in rotation of course)
5-10 G: 7 guys -  1 active: Saucedo
11-22 G: 5 guys - 2 active: ThorntonCastro
23-34 G: 4 guys - 3 active: RomanoMayza, Dolis.

Pretty clear certain guys get more chances. 
High Leverage...
  4 guys with 10+ chances: Romano, Mayza, Dolis, and Chatwood (ugh)
  8 guys with zero chances: Barnes, Kay, Cimber, Stripling plus no longer on roster - Milone, Tice, Roark, Allgeyer

Low Leverage....
  5 guys with 10+ chances: Romano, Mayza, Thornton, plus Chatwood & Payamps (15 chances, the most).
  4 guys with 10+ chances: Romano, Chatwood, Mayza, Dolis (13+ each)
  6 guys with 5-7 chances: Castro, Payamps Borucki, Bergen Phelps, Thornton
  9 guys with 1-3 chances: Saucedo, Barnes, and a lot of 'meh' guys.
  6 guys never given a chance in a game with a lead: Cimber, Kay, Roark, Zeuch, Tice, Stripling.

  Most used: Romano, Dolis, Castro, Mayza in that order. 

  10+ chances: Thornton, Payamps, Mayza.

Runners on...
  Mayza (17 chances), Chatwood (10 chances), Castro (9),  Borucki (8)

>3 outs (ie: like the olden days)
  Thornton (14 times), Payamps (13), Chatwood (he got 3+ out? Yep, 7 times), Castro (5 times)

0 days rest
  Mayza (7), Romano (5), Chatwood (4)

Pitches per game in relief...
  Kay the only one still in the pen with over 30 pitches per game in relief, other actives over 20 are Thornton and Barnes.
  Saucedo is the lowest at 11 pitches per game, Mayza 2nd lowest at 13.

So basically we can see that some guys are used only in certain situations.  Mayza to deal with guys on but only gets a couple of outs then gets to rest until the next day.  The manager likes to learn about a guy before trusting him with a lead (Cimber now for example, but I expect that to change quickly).  Kay is clearly the long man, with Thornton being a long one too (nice L/R combo) with both being low leverage guys.  Payamps was a longish guy but is back to the minors.  

Last 14 days usage...
Mayza: 6 times, 8 to 21 pitches, has had 2 days off so is rested
Romano: 6 times, 2 days off his maximum.  Worried a bit about burnout.
Saucedo: 6 times, 3 days in a row at one point, Montoyo's favorite new toy.
Cimber: 6 times, twice with no rest, 7 to 25 pitches each time.
Barnes: 4 times, just 1 or 2 days between games, so due to pitch tomorrow after 4 days off.
Castro: 3 times, 15 or 16 pitches each time
Dolis: used yesterday.  Ugh. But his first ML game in awhile so I guess rust was to be expected
Kay: might as well be a starter with just 2 games the past 14 days, 5 days off.
Thornton: 2 times, again might as well be a starter.

Looking at that 14 day usage I'd say going to 8 with one of Thornton or Kay sent to AAA to start might be a good idea as do you really need 2 long men when the starting 5 are all going strong?  Mayza/Romano/Saucedo/Cimber are the current trusted core with Barnes and Castro getting lots of chances and Dolis now about to get lots of chances.  Maybe Dolis will get a sore neck too ala Chatwood.

So who does Borucki replace when healthy?  Who gets dumped when a trade happens?  Those are the next questions.  It is up to the main 7 to answer that - if they all pitch well it becomes a tough question, but any who suck will make it easier.  I hope it is a hard choice.  Same with what to do when Chatwood's neck is feeling better (and he has a rehab stint where you see if he can find the strike zone).  I suspect one of the long men, Saucedo, and Castro are the guys on the short list to be sent down.  Whoever is doing the worst goes first.

Current Pen Options Left: 0: Dolis & Barnes, rest have 2 or 3.  One used this year already: Kay, Castro, Thornton - so no hesitation on sending any of those 3 to the minors as the option is already active.  Borucki has an option left, as does Merryweather so both can be demoted once healthy if needed.

So if anyone is demoted, who do you call up?  Assuming you are trying to cut the pen back - the current bench is Espinal, Davis and whoever isn't catching.  So I'd think Kirk or Tellez are the only real options.  Both good pinch hitters but are limited to DH/CA or DH/1B respectively.  They'd be used to hit for Davis or Espinal if they started a game, but if they started then whoever they filled in for would then be needed to go into the field so not much point in Tellez/Kirk on the bench.  Especially given how poorly Tellez has hit this year (although over 1000 OPS in AAA over 55 PA).  Really, as set right now there isn't much point in going down to an 8 man pen and having a 4th on the bench.  Weird as that may seem.  A 4th bench guy would just be sitting around cheerleading 90% of the time which isn't good for development or having them ready in case of an injury.

My bet is a 9 man pen until a trade happens that involves an everyday player (an outfielder most likely) thus freeing up DH for Kirk or Tellez.  When rosters expand a tiny bit in September (to 28) they might both get called up - 3rd catcher and a DH.  But I really have trouble seeing a significant role for Tellez.
How Is The Pen Used | 10 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
bpoz - Tuesday, July 06 2021 @ 10:29 AM EDT (#401730) #
Pen is horrible due to injuries. Atkins has had to scramble getting arms. Carl Edwards Jr comes to mind. We are just hoping for the pen to do their job.
92-93 - Tuesday, July 06 2021 @ 10:51 AM EDT (#401732) #
Thornton is less of a long guy and more of a multi-inning reliever. A good bullpen needs both. There have been numerous games lately where it would have been best if Montoyo just finished the game with one reliever instead of, say, three, but when you have 9 guys somebody usually needs work. Hopefully the pitching staff can stabilize a bit so guys like Kay and Thornton can be used properly to give nights off to the rest of the bullpen and keep everybody as fresh as possible.
scottt - Tuesday, July 06 2021 @ 11:42 AM EDT (#401738) #
Thornton has not been very good as a multi-inning reliever.
You want to bring in a reliever who throws harder, so that the hitters are behind on the fastball.
A guy with a funky delivery is good. A guy with a bunch of breaking balls and no control is not.
Hitters don't have to sit on any pitches, they can wait until the count is in their favor and swing hard if it's close.
Good relievers focus on fewer pitches and throw harder. They don't walk many.
That's not Thornton at all. I'd much prefer Payamps as a multi-inning guy.

Cimber if fine because he throws strikes and the hitters don't have time to figure out what's coming.
Thornton seems to need a bunch of pitches to figure out what's working for him that day.

They could shuffle some guys back and forth depending on the opponent.
If they don't need 3 lefty, drop Saucedo and bring in Payamps, for example.

You don't want to overuse the top guys or underuse the rest of the pen so they are not sharp when brought in.

Tellez is probably just depth for now.
They could bring him in if an outfielder goes to the DL, for example.
Maybe Smith gets a chance if they need an infielder.

I don't think they trade an outfielder.
They should just outright Davis when Dickerson is ready.

Relievers are cheap. I wouldn't be surprised if Baltimore trades a reliever for just international pool money.
How many buyers will be after relievers? Not the Rays. Probably not Boston (starter or bust for them).
Not the Yankees. Can't really think of another team in the AL who needs relief help and is willing to trade for it.
Not paying much attention to the NL.

Also, they should work on throwing good high fast balls.
Way too many relievers (and starters) who throw their heater too high to get a strike.
It shouldn't be that hard. Aim for the catcher's mask.

John Northey - Tuesday, July 06 2021 @ 12:52 PM EDT (#401741) #
Thornton has had 16 games of over 1 IP, 8 of 2+ innings.  Those 8 cover 17 1/3 IP (never did 3 IP), 16 H 4 R/ER 4 BB 16 K - a 2.08 ERA.   Can't complain too much about that.  I included his 2 starts as both were short (4 1/3 IP, 5 H 2 R/ER 0 BB 2K) and actually hurt his overall figures.
His under 1 over 1 IP games were 8 games, 11 2/3 IP 12 H 6 R/ER 4 BB 16 K 4.63 ERA - acceptable, but not quite as good as his slightly longer games. 
His 1 or fewer innings games were 9 games, 8 IP 9 H 14 R 7 ER 6 BB 8 K for a 7.88 ERA (ugh).  Clearly not a 1 inning guy and often has trouble right away - if he doesn't have it, he really doesn't have it.  Seems his control is the deciding factor.  This includes his horrid start vs Tampa where he didn't allow an earned run but 5 unearned scored thanks to a rare Espinal error shortly followed by a bases loaded walk and a grand slam.  It was also Ross Stripling's coming out party where he did 7 shutout innings of relief and re-earned his rotation slot and has been ace material since (2.35 ERA including that game, 2.77 excluding it, going 5+ innings every time, worst game was allowing 4 runs).

Thornton does seem very limited - if his control is on he can give you 1-2 innings but if it is off the game can shift to blowout fast.  I'd probably put him as #1 on 'to be sent down' to work on control in the rotation to build up his innings.
James W - Tuesday, July 06 2021 @ 01:26 PM EDT (#401743) #
His 1 or fewer innings games were 9 games, 8 IP 9 H 14 R 7 ER 6 BB 8 K for a 7.88 ERA (ugh). Clearly not a 1 inning guy

Are the numbers bad because he's "not a 1 inning guy" or are his short outing stats poor because ineffectiveness means he doesn't record 3 outs?
GabrielSyme - Tuesday, July 06 2021 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#401748) #
The bullpen seems to be coming back into shape - Cimber makes a big difference. Even if we assume we never see Merryweather again this season, it doesn't look that bad on paper going forward:

Romano - Closer
Borucki - Setup
Cimber - Setup
Mayza - Lefty specialist
Kay - Long

That's five guys towards the back of the pen who I think are pretty respectable in those roles. Obviously if Merryweather ever stays healthy, he makes a sixth, and makes the bullpen much deeper. Castro and Saucedo have performed well, but need to establish themselves over a longer period. If Merryweather doesn't return, we could definitely use another RH setup-type guy.

Dolis and Chatwood are broken. Dolis had a shiny ERA last year, but his estimators were merely good, and he's done nothing this year to earn a continued spot on the roster. At this point, I have to assume Chatwood's early dominance was a result of sticky stuff, and until he proves otherwise, he's a reclamation project. Barnes and Payamps haven't done enough to be anything other than injury depth. I'm wary of looking at Thornton's splits to say he's good as a long-man - you're selecting for his good outings where he gets into a second inning to a certain extent. He might be useful to a team that needs starting depth - on this team, I think he's been decisively surpassed by Kay as a long man, and I'd move him to AAA to see if he can improve with more regular work.
scottt - Tuesday, July 06 2021 @ 02:15 PM EDT (#401750) #
Payamp is a young guy on his last option with good fastballs (2-seamer and 4-seamer), a decent slider and a change.
Historically, his problem was control, but it's been pretty good with the Jays.
Barnes is a veteran who has been borderline replacement level. He's been fiddling with his stuff to keep his career alive.
He throws mostly a fastball and a cutter. First year he threw the fastball more and was mixing a slider. Next 3 years he dropped the slider and mixed the fastball and cutter evenly. Last 2 years, he's added a splitter and throws it around 5% of the time. He's pitched mostly in the NL, so he gets the benefits of hitters not being familiar with his stuff.

John Northey - Tuesday, July 06 2021 @ 03:50 PM EDT (#401761) #
Generally the pen is taking a decent form but boy would it be nice to add another piece. Richard Rodriguez from the Pirates has to be #1 on the list. He is reported as available, that team is dead last and going nowhere. 11-2 in save opportunities, 0.8 BB/9 vs 7.5 K/9 so not a shiny strikeout guy, but doesn't walk people which would be heavenly to see. What is funny is before 2021 he was a K guy with 10.3 K/9 but he appears to have adjusted this year. Not a free agent anytime soon (after 2023) so he'd be a longer term piece. Hasn't been a closer before (just 5 saves before 2021) so he'd probably not fight a move to setup/closer mix with Romero. Could be a Ward/Henke type combo at the end - oh that was so nice back in the early 90's.

Texas has Ian Kennedy who is only signed for 2021 so probably cheaper to acquire. 14-1 in saves-bsv, 2.2 BB/9 vs 9.8 K/9, saved 30 2 years ago so has a track record (was a starter before that). He'd be nice.

Miami has Yimi Garcia who is a free agent after this year too. 13-3 in saves/bsv, 3.1 BB/9 vs 9.3 K/9 so solid but not a 'wow'. A guy who depends on price. I wouldn't give up too much but Miami may not be looking for a lot either.

KC has some guys but they are still in their cheap years and far from free agency so I don't see anything coming there. Baltimore just sucks.

That is a quick check of the bottom feeders, but others might be willing to do trades too. July will be interesting from that perspective. I expect at least one more guy added to the pen, but who will it be and what will the cost be?
Barry Bonnell - Tuesday, July 06 2021 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#401762) #
Rowdy traded to the Brewers for RHP Trevor Richards and RHP Bowden Francis.
Kasi - Tuesday, July 06 2021 @ 04:57 PM EDT (#401777) #
So I went and looked at Baseball Savant again today. This in regards to following up on Chatwood being someone who clearly lost sticky stuff and dropped 3-4 hundred rpm on spin rate. I looked at both Dolis and Romano. Dolis surprisingly hasn't shown signs of spin rate drop. (although its somewhat inconclusive since he just has been injured lately) Romano actually shows similar to Chatwood with a 3 hundred or so drop on most pitches. It seems like he's managed to work his way through it though.
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