Ranking the Top 5 Best Bullpens in Major League Baseball
Five Best Bullpens in MLB
It has been an interesting first couple of months of the 2013 Major League Baseball season. This season already has and will continue to be filled with interesting storylines.
We could very well have two of the worst teams in baseball history competing this year in the Houston Astros and Miami Marlins. We have had young phenom arms grace the mound with their presence such as Matt Harvey and Shelby Miller. We have also seen some teams get out to surprisingly hot starts, like the Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates and Colorado Rockies.
We have seen the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox performing very well despite injuries and low expectations with the combination of the rest of the division getting better. We have also seen some big money teams get out to disappointingly slow starts in the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angles and Washington Nationals.
Miguel Cabrera looks like he very well could win another triple crown and Mariano Rivera is still Mariano Rivera. With everything that has gone on in the world of Major League Baseball for the first two months, the trend has been that a successful bullpen will lead to a successful season.
I took the time today to rank the top five bullpens right now in Major League Baseball. It is no surprise that all five are either in first or second in their division and all five have a closer that could be considered All-Star caliber at this point in the season. For the success to continue for these teams, it’s the back end of the bullpen that is going to have to continue to step up all the way through October.
5. New York Yankees
The Yankees have battled a ton of injuries this year to their lineup and the struggles of C.C. Sabathia to stay in second in the AL East thanks in large part to their bullpen. Rivera has come back from a torn ACL to convert 18-of-19 saves. Boone Logan and David Robertson have combined to form a great lefty-righty dual set-up man and as a team they have blown the fewest amount of saves in baseball (3).
4. Atlanta Braves
Although Craig Kimbrel has blown three saves this year, he remains in my opinion the best closer in baseball with a 2.21 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 20.1 innings. Eric O’Flaherty has filled in nicely for Johnny Venters as the situational lefty and five of their seven regular bullpen guys for the Atlanta Braves have an ERA under 2.70.
3. Oakland Athletics
The Oakland Athletics are once again battling for an AL West title thanks to their bullpen. Grant Balfour has been perfect as closer (11-for-11 in saves), Sean Doolittle and Ryan Cook have combined for 16 holds and five guys have an ERA under 2.50. The bullpen has a ridiculous 9-1 record with a 2.80 ERA, both tops in the AL.
2. San Francisco Giants
Where would the San Francisco Giants be without their bullpen this year? With four of their five starters having an ERA over 4.00, the bullpen is the reason they are tied for second in the NL West. They lead all of baseball with a 2.76 bullpen ERA and all seven of their guys who have appeared in at least 14 games have an ERA 3.00 or lower.
1. Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates might have the best closer and the best set up man in the game right now. After trading All-Star Joel Hanrahan to the Red Sox in the offseason, Jason Grilli has stepped up and converted 21-for-21 in saves with a 1.14 ERA. Mark Melancon, who came over in that trade, has 18 holds and a 0.96 ERA. The Pirates are off to a hot start for the third straight season. The bullpen as a whole leads the NL in innings pitched and strikeouts and is tied for first in ERA. To carry all the way through to end a playoff drought, they need this one-two punch to carry the load all year long.