Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Farrell's Favorite Toys
I (awesomely) had this post marinating for the better part of a week. The Jays bullpen went through an incredible stretch before Jon Rauch gave up two squarely hit baseballs. Balls hit about as squarely as one could ever ask, really.
It is difficult to separte the quality of the bullpen's performance from the wise hand of John Farrell as he smartly deploys them in depending on the situation. Some might counter that allowing Octavio Dotel to pitch against a lefty in anything close to a leveraged situation is a mistake. Impossible to argue as that may be, I think he's doing a good job so far.
Below is a graph of the main Jays bullpen arms - graphing their shutdowns against their meltdowns with the average leverage upon entering the game represented by the size of the bubble. It is a similar study to one I undertook for Getting Blanked but all Blue Jayed up.
Hmm. Call me crazy but it looks like, outside his Capital C closer, manager John Farrel uses his best two performing relievers in the highest leveraged spots to great success. RZep has just one meltdown on the season (That Game) and pitches in some of the toughest hitters.
Odd that Dotel and Frasor have nearly identical numbers. Frasor saw a massive dip in game leverage when he entered blowouts against the Red Sox and Yankees. Dotel has been good when properly deployed HINT HINT.
Another way I want to look at this is including average batters faced. More windows into the mind of a madman!
I used xFIP- because it seemed like the weirdest thing I could possibly do. I actually used it because it helped spread the bubbles out in a way that pleased my eye. The bubble size still indicates average game leverage (when the pitcher gets the call.)
I think this does a solid job of laying out which guy has which role. Breaking it down by batters' faced shows us that Villanueva is clearly the long(ish) man and RZep is closest thing to a LOOGY. Casey Janssen does an admirable job in his low leverage chances.
Jon Rauch, prepare to have you leverage dialed down a touch. Probably very soon.
In the end, the bullpen's been great and Farrell runs them out there in an orderly fashion. Something to certainly keep an eye on as he continues to "learn on the job."
Reuters image courtesy of Daylife, all stats from Fangraphs.