FanPost

Bullpen roles

It is now an article of the faith in MLB that all bullpens must have -- as much as is possible -- set and clear roles for all of the relievers in their bullpens.  While I don't necessarily agree with this, it is about as changeable as the DH.  It is a reality we have to deal with.  If I were running a bulllpen, I'd handle it radically different from any current manager, but that's just not realistic.  So let's deal with the real world of a MLB bullpen.  This is how I think Trey Hillman sees the relievers roles:

Current Bullpen

Soria - Closer

Ramirez - RH setup man (7th/8th inning)

Mahay - LH setup man (7th/8th inning)

Yabuta - Middle reliever and next RH option behind Ramirez (6th/7th inning)

Gobble - Middle reliever and next LH option behind Mahay (6th/7th inning)

Fulchino - Mop up

Rosa - Intern

The first three speak for themselves: traditional closer and setup men.  Yabuta and Gobble fill more flexible roles, typically bridging the gap between the starting pitcher and the setup men, facing as many righty and lefty batters as they need to.  Fulchino works almost exclusively in a mop up role, eating a meaningless inning or two here or there.  Rosa's role is the hardest to define because at this point, they are just bringing him along slowly so as to not expose him to too much too soon.  These are the roles these pitchers are in when everyone is rested and available.  If someone is gassed or otherwise unavailable, some pitchers have to move up the ladder into another role.

One question I have about the current bullpen is, who is the long reliever?  If Bannister gets pulled in the 3rd inning tonight, who comes in to chew up 3 innings?  Rosa could do it, but would they allow him to go more than once through a lineup at this point?  Fulchino could do it, but, of course, he sucks.  The others are pretty much limited to two innings.

The Bullpen I'd Like to See Immediately

 

Soria - Closer

Ramirez - RH setup man (7th/8th inning)

Mahay - LH setup man (7th/8th inning)

Yabuta - Middle reliever (6th/7th inning)

Gobble - LOOGY (6th/7th/8th inning)

Musser - Middle reliever (6th/7th inning)

Rosa - Middle-to-long reliever

I'd keep the top three as is.  I'd send Fulchino back down to Omaha and recall Musser.  If we're in a pre-setup man situation, I'd use Yabuta, Musser, Gobble and Rosa in the best matchups to get us through to the 7th or 8th inning.  I'd use Gobble as a strict LOOGY, allowing him to face righty batters only when necessary.  I wouldn't hesitate to have Gobble, Yabuta and Musser face three consecutive batters.  Rosa would be the default long reliever, but as soon as he got to the second time through the lineup, I'd have him on a short leash.


The Ideal Bullpen for July and Beyond

Soria - Closer

Ramirez - RH setup man (7th/8th inning)

Mahay - LH setup man (7th/8th inning)

Nunez - Middle reliever (6th/7th inning)

Gobble - LOOGY (6th/7th/8th inning)

Yabuta - Middle reliever (5th/6th/7th inning)

Musser - Middle reliever (5th/6th/7th inning)

 

When Nunez comes off the DL, I'd keep the top three in their spots.  Ramirez has been better than Nunez and the second best reliever on the team.  Nunez, Gobble, Yabuta and Musser would handle the pre-setup innings.  There is no long reliever, per se, but with a seven man bullpen, I don't know that you really need one.  Everyone in that pen can handle two innings except for Gobble, and many could handle a third inning if need be.

I think the above bullpen gives the Royals the best chance to stay close, hold leads and win games.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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