Ranking the Top 5 Worst Bullpens in MLB
Ranking the Top 5 Worst Bullpens in MLB
Having a good bullpen can make or break a team in the long MLB season. A bullpen's production can often be unpredictable, having good games and terrible games for inexplicable reasons. Many teams will start off bad and pick up middle and long relievers from their farm systems and shuffle through players throughout the year. Most of the time, having a good bullpen translates into having a good team. Having reliable closers and relievers is essential to preserving leads and can really add up in the win/loss column at the end of the year.
As we near the all-star break, there are five teams that stick out that needs serious help in their bullpens. Whether it's re-positioning, moving players up from the minor leagues or needing to make a trade, these teams are in desperate need of a change within their bullpens. With all of these ball clubs having a 4.00-plus ERA, it's easy to see that there's a reason why they are struggling in the win/loss column.
Four of the five teams on this list have sub-.500 records and many of the losses from these clubs are due to the bullpen blowing leads and giving up way too many runs. Only one of these five teams has a legitimate shot at making the playoffs at the rate that they’re playing up to this point of the season. The following slides are my list of the five worst MLB bullpens up to this point of the season.
No. 5 Los Angeles Angels
Team ERA: 4.19
Kevin Jepsen has posted a 6.75 ERA in just 5.1 innings pitched in 2013. The team's ERA may be a bit skewed due to David Carpenter having pitched just 0.1 innings while allowing two hits and four runs for a 108.0 ERA. Ryan Brasier has a 9.0 ERA in two innings pitched, but hasn't seen any action since May 5. Despite some of the younger, inexperienced pitchers having a rough time, the Angels have been trending upward recently. Mike Adams has posted a 3.24 ERA in 16.2 innings pitched and Ernesto Frieri has put in good work with a 3.42 ERA in 23.2 innings with 12 saves.
The Angels have won 10 of their last 12 games and are one of the hottest teams in MLB right now. If they can keep up the win streak and keep improving their pitching, they could make a run in the AL West.
No. 4 Philadelphia Phillies
Team ERA: 4.50
The Philadelphia Phillies have a very mixed bag in their bullpen. Raul Valdes has posted a 7.65 ERA in 20 innings pitched. Chad Durbin has really struggled with a 9.0 ERA in just 16 innings pitched. On the other hand, Jonathan Papelbon has pitched very well, posting a 1.31 ERA and 11 saves. Michael Stutes has also impressed with a 1.69 era but has only pitched 5.1 innings. The Phillies could still make a strong run behind Papelbon and Stutes and are only two games behind .500, but many of the other relievers will need to improve in order for them to have any kind of shot at the postseason.
No. 3 New York Mets
Team ERA: 4.61
Closer Frank Francisco has been on the DL for the 2013 season, and the New York Mets have not missed him this year thanks to the success of his replacement. Josh Edgin has been disappointing so far with a 9.64 ERA in just 9.1 innings pitched. Aaron Laffey hasn't helped either, posting a 7.11 ERA in 12.2 innings. One bright spot is Bobby Parnell, who has a 1.85 ERA in 24.1 innings pitched and has posted a 4-1 W/L record.
Unfortunately for the Mets, they would need multiple relievers to up their game immediately as they are already seven games below .500.
No. 2 Tampa Bay Rays
Team ERA: 4.60
Coming in as the second-worst MLB bullpen for the 2013 season are the Tampa Bay Rays. Kyle Farnsworth has really struggled this season, posting a 7.71 ERA in just 11.2 innings pitched. Cesar Ramos has a bit more respectable 5.12 ERA in 19.1 innings pitched, but still seems to struggle to produce outs when he's needed. Tampa Bay is a team that could use a stronger bullpen to help keep them above .500 and stay in the playoff discussion as we near the All-Star break.
No. 1 Houston Astros
Team ERA: 4.80
Closer Jose Veras has struggled with a 4.70 ERA and is really the Astros' only experienced pitcher in the bullpen. Wesley Wright boasts a respectable 3.8 ERA but is 0-1 on the season. Xavier Cedeno has an 11.37 ERA this season.
It's safe to say that the Astros' bullpen needs some readjustment. It's young and is a work in progress, but it's unlikely to improve much for the rest of this year.