Mitchell Boggs and Other Pen Randoms

Mitchell Boggs STL

With his next inning pitched, Boggs will record his 100th MLB inning. That should be an exciting, if ultimately irrelevant round number achievement. Boggs was previously a starter within the Cards’ system, but after 200 innings in Triple-A and a mediocre 1.78 SO/BB ratio, he was placed into the bullpen last season. Boggs made seven appearances, striking out 11 batters in 9 and two-thirds innings while walking eight. In 2010 he’s spent the entire season in the pen, and something expected is happening — well, besides his average fastball velocity increasing; to 95 from 92 MPH – he’s showing better control as a reliever than he did as a starter. He’s only walked three batters in seven innings, and while it’s far too early to say whether that’s going to be his ratio all season, we should expect an improvement on control simply from Boggs becoming a full-time reliever.

Jesse Chavez ATL

Few middle relievers received more attention last winter than Chavez. He began the off-season with the Pirates and was sent packing to the Rays in exchange for Akinori Iwamura. Weeks later, the Rays would turn around and trade him to the Braves for Rafael Soriano. Not too shabby of company for the guy with a career FIP over 4.5. Atlanta has used Chavez in low-leverage spots so far, and he’s responded strikingly well by posting 1.29 FIP in six innings with a 16.3% whiff rate. Obviously that kind of success is highly unlikely to sustain, still though, not a bad way to keep his name in the public consciousness.

The Diamondbacks’ Pen

It’s never a good sign when you have this many relievers with negative WPA this early in the season:

Chad Qualls -1.11
Blaine Boyer -0.74
Juan Gutierrez -0.66
Aaron Heilman -0.47

It might not come as a surprise that the D-Backs’ relief corps has the worst unit ERA and FIP in the league (7.21 and 5.98 respectively). There’s plenty of season left guys, save some of those blown leads for then too.

Carlos Monasterios LAD

Actually, there’s nothing in Monasterios’ performance worth pointing out. He’s just got a great name.

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6 years 2 months ago

Thanks for the mention of Boggs RJ. If you’ve watched him pitch as a starter and a reliever, the difference is just staggering. He’s getting his fastball to 96-97 consistently, his command is better, and he’s even getting more movement on the slurve. I really think he will have a very nice line in the pen this year.

Also, the Cardinals singled handedly fucked up Qualls’ WPA last night.

6 years 2 months ago

Strikingly well, haha.

Mat Gonzales
Mat Gonzales
6 years 2 months ago


Dann M.
6 years 2 months ago

Gosh, if only my precious North Siders had picked up a veteran righty this offseason, they wouldn’t have to worry about the negative WPA’s of Jeff Samardzija (-0.32 in 3.1 IP), Jeff Gray (-0.16 in 4 IP), Esmailin Caridad (-0.89 in 2.2 IP), and John Grabow (-0.69 in 6 IP). Sean Marshall (-0.22 in 9.1 IP) and James Russell (-0.20 in 5 IP) are also negative, apparently, despite pitching quite well excepting a couple hiccups. Alone on the positive side are Carlos Marmol (0.34 in 7.2 IP) and Justin Berg (0.16 in 6 IP).

Now, I’ve watched or listened to every game this year. I’ve seen Marshall, Russell and Berg. I’ve seen enough to know that Marshall is a perfectly good secondary setup man (against the lefty portion of a lineup or in the 7th inning). Russell, outside of the mistake to Pagan on Monday, has earned his keep: he’s a born LOOGY and made Prince Fielder look downright foolish twice in the MIL@CHC series, plus getting Edmonds looking. Berg, on the other hand, has struck out ZERO of 25 batters faced and allowed yet another run tonight in a pressure situation.

Barely relevant sample size, I know. But two of the three halfway-decent relievers on the Cubs staff are getting hosed by the computer right now.

The Cubs’ starting pitching has prevented the terrible J’s (minus James Russell) from picking up too many innings so far. And Zambrano will now take on the role of Lou’s blankie, a part last played by Carlos Marmol in 2008. Lou hates pitchers and doesn’t want to think about them. Marshall, Russell, Zambrano, and Marmol will be the only 4 who even need to dress if the Cubs have a lead after 6.

Relief pitchers, with the exception of a very, very select few, suck and are unreliable from year. The clamor in Chicago for Veteran Arm in April is foolish. Wait until at least mid-May and see who actually is pitching well This Year, and this year alone. It’d be silly to cross their fingers on a middling guy who had a good ’09. You never know and there are too many unpredictable “unknown unknowns” to hazard a guess without some fresh scouting reports once the season has settled in.