Saturday, February 18, 2012

2012 Bill James Projections - Red Sox Bullpen

Pitchers and catchers report tomorrow, so I figured I'd better wrap up this segment - with a few disclaimers: despite the fact that we now know Daniel Bard is preparing to be a starter, he will be listed here, as James projected his numbers as a reliever; this is also true of Alfredo Aceves, who has expressed interest in starting again but might be more valuable in the bullpen.

RHP Alfredo Aceves:
2011: 10-2, 114 IP, 42 BB, 80 SO, 2.61 ERA, 2 saves
2012 projection: 8-5, 118 IP, 43 BB, 85 SO, 3.43 ERA, 0 saves
Aceves had some success last season as a starter, but when he was plugged into the bullpen he couldn't get back out.  He has made it clear that he prefers starting, and with the glaring holes in the rotation, he just might get his chance - it looks like James projected him as more of a starter, anyway.

RHP Matt Albers:
2011 projection: 3-5, 73 IP, 34 BB, 51 SO, 4.68 ERA, 0 saves
2011: 4-4, 64.2 IP, 31 BB, 68 SO, 4.73 ERA, 0 saves
2012 projection: 3-4, 65 IP, 30 BB, 49 SO, 4.57 ERA, 0 saves
Albers was an acceptable middle reliever for the Sox last season, and it looks like we can expect a comparable performance this season. It's not a fantastic line, but there's a reason that middle relievers aren't closers or starters.

RHP Andrew Bailey:
2011 projection: 4-2, 58 IP, 21 BB, 56 SO, 2.64 ERA, 30 saves
2011: 0-4, 41.2 IP, 12 BB, 41 SO, 3.24 ERA, 24 saves
2012 projection: 4-2, 50 IP, 14 BB, 48 SO, 2.34 ERA, 26 saves
Bailey slightly underperformed last season with the A's, but James is predicting a rebound in 2012.  A word of caution: James' numbers are calculated for Oakland, where Bailey pitched in the AL West... it's possible we see a backslide.  We knew we were saying goodbye to near-certainty in the ninth when Paps shipped off to Philly, but hopefully Bailey can live up to his reputation.

RHP Daniel Bard:
2011 projection: 6-3, 76 IP, 34 BB, 90 SO, 2.72 ERA, 0 saves
2011: 2-9, 73 IP, 24 BB, 74 SO, 3.33 ERA, 1 save
2012 projection: 6-2, 70 IP, 25 BB, 79 SO, 2.31 ERA, 2 saves
We know Bard is coming into camp to be stretched out as a starter, and if he can be half as effective in the rotation as he's been in the eighth inning, that will be one less thing to worry about there - but who will fill the eighth?

RHP Michael Bowden: 
2011: 0-0, 20 IP, 11 BB, 17 SO, 4.05 ERA, 0 saves
2012 projection: 2-2, 30 IP, 12 BB, 24 SO, 4.20 ERA, 0 saves
Bowden is a mystery here. The reason he hasn't been shipped off in a trade is because no other teams know enough about him to risk giving up something of value.  This line suggests a middling performance out of the pen, and if he can eat up some innings, that would be helpful.

RHP Bobby Jenks:
2011 projection: 3-2, 49 IP, 17 BB, 48 SO, 3.12 ERA, 32 saves
2011: 2-2, 15.2 IP, 13 BB, 17 SO, 6.32 ERA, 0 saves
[No 2012 projection]
I'm not sure why there are no numbers for Jenks in 2012 - James does projections for players who have said they're retiring (hello, JD Drew) and those who have been injured far longer than Jenks (like Daisuke Matsuzaka).  In any case, Jenks has already arrived in camp, looking much fitter than last year, so perhaps we'll see him slide into that eighth inning vacancy if he gets his pitching act together.

RHP Mark Melancon:
2011 projection: 2-2, 37 IP, 16 BB, 36 SO, 3.89 ERA, 0 saves
2011: 8-4, 74.1 IP, 26 BB, 66 SO, 2.78 ERA, 20 saves
2012 projection: 3-5, 75 IP, 31 BB, 71 SO, 3.84 ERA, 13 saves
These numbers are projections for Houston, so it stands to reason they might not be as impressive in Boston.  I don't know much about Melancon, so I'm excited to see his performance in Spring Training.

LHP Andrew Miller:
2011 projection: 3-5, 65 IP, 43 BB, 54 SO, 5.68 ERA, 0 saves
2011: 6-3, 65 IP, 41 BB, 50 SO, 5.54 ERA, 0 saves
2012 projection: 3-5, 70 IP, 47 BB, 58 SO, 5.40 ERA, 0 saves
 Miller was right on his projected numbers last season, so it stands to reason that could happen again. It's not an impressive line, but every bullpen needs a mop-up guy, right?

LHP Franklin Morales:
[No 2011 projection]
2011: 1-2, 46.1 IP, 19 BB, 42 SO, 3.69 ERA, 0 saves
2012 projection: 3-3, 51 IP, 26 BB, 42 SO, 4.41 ERA, 0 saves
Morales has a good BB/SO ratio, and acceptable innings and ERA - he's another one to watch in the next few weeks.

Other options for the pen who don't have numbers in James' Handbook include LHP Felix Doubront, RHP Clayton Mortenson, RHP Stolmy Pimentel, and RHP Junichi Tazawa.  Doubront is intriguing since there aren't too many lefties on the above list - but he came to camp last year out of shape.  Tazawa could be a starter or come out of the pen - or not make the team at all. He's finally coming back from Tommy John surgery, so it will be interesting to see how he performs.  The bullpen is in a state of transition from end to end: for the first time in years we don't have a set closer or eighth inning an or long reliever or anything else. A challenge for Manager Bobby Valentine, and we'll get to see this started tomorrow!

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