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The Diamondbacks Bullpen Lately......

Has made us want to hide our heads

Colorado Rockies v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Up until the not too recent past, the Arizona Diamondbacks Bullpen has been a core strength of the team. While the offense has had it’s much lamented ups and downs, and the rotation has had more than it’s share of inconsistent performances, with a few exceptions the bullpen has been the rock of this team.

Here is the month to month breakout :

Dbacks Bullpen by Month

Month IP ERA FIP xFIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 GB% HR/FB BABIP fWAR
Month IP ERA FIP xFIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 GB% HR/FB BABIP fWAR
Apr 98 1.92 3.06 3.65 8.51 2.84 0.55 52.9% 7.2% .243 1.6
May 87 3.09 4.19 4.27 7.32 3.09 1.03 46.2% 11.9% .249 0.2
Jun 94 2.59 3.90 3.91 7.85 3.45 0.86 56.2% 12.5% .282 0.4
July 61 5.11 5.52 4.85 7.30 4.09 1.75 44.4% 17.1% .266 -0.5
TTL 341 2.98 4.03 4.10 7.80 3.30 0.98 50.4% 12.0% .260 1.5

As can be readily seen, even though the sub 2 ERA salad days of April were long in the rear view mirror, the May and June ERA/Run prevention was still very good. However there were plenty of warning signs in the peripherals that it might not be sustainable. The FIP and xFIP numbers were well over a run higher than the ERA in June and July. The K rates dropped, the HR/FB jumped, and overall things were on more shaky ground.

Still, through July 9th the D Backs had the lowest bullpen ERA in MLB:

DBacks bullpen Pre and Post July 9th

Month IP ERA FIP xFIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 GB% HR/FB BABIP
Month IP ERA FIP xFIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 GB% HR/FB BABIP
Thru July 9 317 2.50 3.74 3.93 7.90 3.10 0.80 51.5% 10.8% .257
7/10-7/20 24 9.25 7.72 6.20 7.00 5.50 3.00 39.3% 19.5% .289

Since July 10th the bullpen has allowed 25 runs in 24 innings to get that 9.25 ERA. The Rotation has allowed 19 runs in 35.2 innings, for a 4.79 ERA. Obviously thats not great either, but not nearly as bad as the bullpen.

It’s just a 7 game stretch we are talking about here, which includes the 19 run game on July 11. So it might just be a blip, a quick slump. I would be more inclined to shrug it off as that had the peripherals and underlying numbers not been so much worse than the ERA prior to this stretch. It should be noted that the BABIP during this stretch, while a little higher, is still just .289, so it’s not like they have been unlucky. They are walking guys left and right and giving up home runs and big hits.

Below table is a quick snapshot of the last 7 days and where most of the bullpen runs allowed have come from.

Relievers since July 10

Name IP H ER HR BB SO WHIP ERA
Name IP H ER HR BB SO WHIP ERA
Jorge De La Rosa 3.0 5 7 2 4 5 3.00 21.00
Archie Bradley 2.2 7 7 2 3 4 3.75 23.62
Yoshihisa Hirano 1.1 4 4 0 1 1 3.75 27.00
Randall Delgado 4.2 4 3 2 3 1 1.50 5.79
Daniel Descalso 2.2 4 3 2 1 1 1.88 10.12
Silvino Bracho 1.1 1 1 0 0 1 0.75 6.75
T.J. McFarland 0.1 1 0 0 0 0 3.00 0.00
Alex Avila 2.0 1 0 0 0 0 0.50 0.00
Brad Boxberger 3.0 1 0 0 1 6 0.67 0.00
Andrew Chafin 2.1 2 0 0 2 0 1.71 0.00
Matt Koch 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00

Many of us believe that it’s highly likely that Mike Hazen will try to bring in a reliever before the deadline. No time like the present to pull that trigger. I don’t think it’s reactionary to say so. This isn’t just about Archie Bradley’s meltdown last night. He actually had an excellent 4 week run prior to last night. This bullpen needs shoring up. We have discussed replacing Jorge De La Rosa, but it’s not totally clear the team actually sees that as a need. Randall Delgado’s stuff does not look like it used to. His slider velocity is off 5 MPH , and his FB appears a little slower and straighter than last year. We haven’t seen Yoshi Hirano pitch post break yet, but prior to the break he was running on fumes, and leaving pitches up quite a bit.

So now is the time to make that move. It’s later than you think.