Monday, October 15, 2012

2012 Los Angeles Dodgers Season Review: Bullpen

The Dodgers had a pretty good bullpen this season. Aside from a higher-than-desired walks per nine rate, the group was better than last season.

Dodgers' bullpen by the numbers
30-20 W-L
3.23 ERA
1.26 WHIP
7.2 H/9
0.7 HR/9
4.1 BB/9
8.8 K/9
2.14 K/BB
40 saves

Individual Performers

Ronald Belisario
8-1, 2.54 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 6.0 H/9, 0.4 HR/9, 3.7 BB/9, 8.7 K/9, 3.09 FIP, 1 save
- Belisario, who didn't pitch at all in 2012, started this season by being suspended for 25 games. Obviously, that had no negative impact on his performance as he was the Dodgers' second-most reliable reliever. Despite an ERA half a run higher than his 2009 performance, he actually pitched better in 2012. And to think, I actually questioned the Dodgers giving Belisario another shot.
Grade: A

Randy Choate
0-0, 4.05 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 8.8 H/9, 0.7 HR/9, 6.1 BB/9, 7.4 K/9
- Choate was acquired in the Hanley Ramirez deal and filled a need for the Dodgers. His performance as a Dodger was just "meh." He was the true definition of a LOOGY, as he appeared in 36 games for the Dodgers but threw just 13 1/3 innings. He walked too many hitters (nine, included three intentionally) and gave up too many hits. However, I wouldn't be opposed to the team bringing him back.
Grade: C

Todd Coffey
1-0, 4.66 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 7.9 H/9, 0.5 HR/9, 4.2 BB/9, 8.4 K/9, 3.61 FIP
- Coffey was a late signing and I didn't really understand it at the time. He got off to a rough start, but he really turned it on in June, allowing just two hits and no runs in 8 2/3 innings. In Coffey's first July outing, he gave up two runs in 2/3 of an inning. It would also be his last outing of the season as he would suffer a torn ulnar collateral ligament and need Tommy John surgery.
Grade: C

Scott Elbert
1-1, 2.20 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 7.4 H/9, 0.8 HR/9, 3.6 BB/9, 8.0 K/9, 3.80 FIP
- Elbert was a solid performer out of the Dodgers' bullpen for the second year in a row. He was the only left-hander until the team acquired Choate in July. Elbert's 2.20 ERA was better than 2011 (2.43), but a few of his peripherals weren't as good. His FIP was up more than a point and his K/9 dropped by 1.2. He injured his elbow late in the season and had surgery. Thankfully, it wasn't Tommy John.
Grade: B

Javy Guerra
2-3, 2.60 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 8.8 H/9, 0.2 HR/9, 4.6 BB/9, 7.4 K/9, 3.34 FIP, 8 saves
- Guerra started the season as the team's closer and got off to a quick start. However, he struggled and was ousted from the role. He also spent time on the disabled list this season. Despite all that, he was somewhat effective for the Dodgers this season. His WHIP was 30 points higher than last season due to a higher hits per nine and walks per nine. He'll need to get a handle on that going forward.
Grade: C+

Matt Guerrier
0-2, 3.86 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 5.1 H/9, 1.9 HR/9, 4.5 BB/9, 5.8 K/9, 6.31 FIP
- Guerrier hit the disabled list for the first time in his career in 2012. Fitting, considering the Dodgers foolishly signed him to a 3-year contract prior to the 2011 season. When he did pitch, however, he was relatively ineffective, as he walked seven and gave up three home runs in 14 innings. He's set to make $3.75 million this season, so he isn't going anywhere.
Grade: D+

Kenley Jansen
5-3, 2.35 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 4.6 H/9, 0.8 HR/9, 3.0 BB/9, 13.7 K/9, 2.40 FIP,  25 saves
- Jansen, as he did last season, dominated out of the bullpen. Unfortunately, like last season, missed time with a heart issue. That's pretty much the only blemish on his record. Aside from a late-August blemish against Colorado, Jansen was nails in the second half. Early on, I wondered if Jansen's decreased velocity was something to be concerned about. Judging by the results, I'd say no. But it is interesting to note his velocity was down 1.4 MPH from 2011.
Grade: A

Brandon League
2-1, 2.30 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 5.6 H/9, 0.0 HR/9, 4.6 BB/9, 8.9 K/9, 6 saves
- League was quite valuable for the Dodgers down the stretch, filling in for the injured Jansen as the Dodger closer. The only area where he struggled was the walks. He'll need to bring that down no matter where he ends up. While I wasn't a fan of the trade at the time, I recently penned a post saying the Dodgers should re-sign the hard-throwing righty.
Grade: A-

Josh Lindblom
2-2, 3.02 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 7.9 H/9, 1.7 HR/9, 3.4 BB/9, 8.1 K/9
- Before he was traded to Philadelphia, Lindblom was sharing setup man duties with Belisario. Aside from the inordinate number of home runs allowed, Lindblom pitched well in the role. If there's one position the Dodgers can afford to trade, it's right-handed relievers.
Grade: B-

Shawn Tolleson
3-1, 4.30 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 7.2 H/9, 1.0 HR/9, 4.8 BB/9, 9.3 K/9, 4.08 FIP
- Tolleson made an inauspicious debut, walking the first two batters he would ever face (on 10 pitches). But he still managed to be a serviceable middle reliever for the Dodgers. He was able to strike out more than a batter per inning, but he has to refine his control and command. The Dodgers will need him to take the next step. He profiles as a better reliever than Lindblom, so that shouldn't be too hard for him.
Grade: C+

Jamey Wright
5-3, 3.72 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 9.6 H/9, 0.3 HR/9, 4.0 BB/9, 7.2 K/9, 3.39 FIP
- Wright was a non-roster invitee and, as he had the seven previous seasons, made a big league roster. For who he is and what he brings, he pitched a hell of a lot better than anyone could have expected. Still, he wasn't exactly getting the ball in the ninth inning of a close game. At least he kept the ball in the yard, though. The Dodgers have said they want to bring back their free agent relievers, but I'm hoping that doesn't include Wright.
Grade: C

The rest

Rubby De La Rosa, Grade: INC
John Ely, Grade: INC
Mike MacDougal, Grade: F
Paco Rodriguez, Grade: B+
Josh Wall, Grade: INC

Photo credit: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue

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