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Ranking the 2019 Arizona Diamondbacks bullpen

162 rankings later, here’s what we find.

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

On Monday, we asked you to rank the potential members of the D-backs bullpen this year, covering both the relievers on the 40-man roster, and the non-roster invitees. 162 of you took up your mice and accepted the challenge, so here are the results. I’ve divided the list below into three blocks. The first are the top seven in the rankings, whom we have decided are the “best” relievers we have. The next half-dozen represent those who will most likely be called upon as coverage for injury, fatigue or ineffectiveness. Finally, are those who are seen as long-shots: however, it is worth remembering that Arizona used eighteen “proper” relievers last year (excluding emergency use of starters and position players).

Each player is preceded by their average ranking in the poll, e.g. Archie Bradley was generally slightly above the #2 spot.

The bullpen

  • 1.9: Archie Bradley
  • 2.4: Yoshihisa Hirano
  • 3.8: Greg Holland
  • 5.0: Andrew Chafin
  • 5.8: T.J. McFarland
  • 7.6: Yoan Lopez
  • 7.9: Jimmie Sherfy

The instructions for the poll were not to consider the option situation in considering your rankings. This should be a pure qualitative assessment. But the top five basically turned out more or less as you’d expect. You might argue with the rankings - I’d put the guy with the 2.44 ERA last year, ahead of the one with the 3.64 ERA -but it does seem that Bradley, Hirano, Holland, Chafin and McFarland are all locks for the Opening Day bullpen, health permitting. According to Roster Resource, Archie and Andrew each have one option left; Hirano has three. However, it’s hard to envisage any of them being sent to the minors unless things go very wrong.

It’s the last two spots which are most interesting, in terms of debate. Our voters went for Lopez and Sherfy, apparently showing a preference for flame-throwing right-handers! However, in terms of track record, they have both shown impressive stuff. Over his first 26 regular season games, Sherfy has an ERA of 1.00, while Lopez had a K:BB ratio of 11:1 over his nine innings of work. They have three and one option seasons left respectively, so both could be moved up and down to the minors without issue. However, those options may mean they potentially lose out in the final reckoning, to those without them?

The taxi squad

  • 8.5: Silvino Bracho
  • 9.3: Matt Andriese
  • 9.5: Matt Koch
  • 11.5: Rubby De La Rosa
  • 13.0: Braden Shipley
  • 13.9: Kevin Ginkel

Bus-pass Bracho would be one such pitcher, though the team certainly got its use out of his option year in 2018. It would be no surprise if the team swapped either Sherfy or Lopez out of the list above, in order to retain Bracho’s services this season. Koch is in the same boat, also being out of options, though his career 5.50 fielding-independent ERA (compared to a 4.04 actual ERA) does suggest he has perhaps been skating by on smoke and mirrors so far. Andriese and Shipley each have one option left, and can probably get their suitcases packed.

De La Rosa is also out of options, but isn’t on the 40-man roster at this point, and presumably would not be until added. Quite impressed to see Ginkel make it (albeit just) into this middle group, considering he hasn’t appeared above Double-A. But he looked impressive in the Arizona Fall League, with a K:BB of 17:2 in just 10.2 innings. Obviously, options are not a problem there, but he appears one to watch, perhaps in the second half of the season.

The fringes

  • 14.1: Stefan Crichton
  • 14.2: Nick Green
  • 14.3: Joey Krehbiel
  • 14.8: Robby Scott
  • 15.9: Bo Takahashi
  • 16.4: Emilio Vargas

Finally, we have those who are seen as long shots for the Opening Day roster. All would present no roster construction problems, with the exception of Green. He was a Rule 5 pick last year, which means we have to keep him on the 25-man roster all season, or offer him back to the club from which he came. Based on these results, D-backs fans do not hold out much hope of that happening. Most of the rest are prospects, with the exception of Robby Scott, whose ranking here seems shockingly low, for a left-hander who has three seasons of MLB experience and a 3.91 career ERA. Those tend not to grow on trees, and I think even if he doesn’t make the roster, he’ll be considerably higher up the waiting list than shown here.

The ACTUAL Opening Day roster

We now move into the second phase of this exercise, where you need to read the minds of Mike Hazen and Torey Lovullo. For you have to choose those whom you think actually will make the Opening Day roster. That takes into account not only pitching quality, but also the option situation, as outlined above. Below, is a form listing all 19 names (in random order), but with a simple yes/no question: Will they make the Opening Day roster? Polls will be open for the next two days, and we’ll review the results on Friday.

Link to form for mobile users.