An Encouraging Early Sign: Ned Yost is Using the Right Relievers

I'm going to write this post now, while it is still possible to do so...

For now, the Royal bullpen looks not only good, but also well-managed. As James Burke once said of Europe under Charlemagne, things have taken a dramatic turn towards the so-so.  In general, the best pitchers are pitching more than the bad ones and they are pitching well. Particularly stunning has been the early performances of Aaron Crow and Tim Collins. Manager Ned Yost has used the two rookies aggressively and they have delivered. There were high hopes for Collins, but Crow's performance has certainly not been expected.

Here's a breakdown of the bullpen thus far:

IP Ks BBs
Collins 4 6 1
Crow 3 5 1
Soria 3 0 1
O`Sullivan 2 1 0
Tejeda 2 1 1
Adcock 1 0 0
Jeffress 1 1 0
Texeira 1 0 1

 

That's not a bad deployment, even without accounting for leverage. Ideally, you'd want Soria a little nearer the top, along with Jeffress and Tejeda clear of non-impact pitchers like Adcock and Texiera. Hopefully, over time, that will happen. For now, Yost is slowly earning some trust from me that it might.

One of the main reasons I was against the decision to send Crow to the bullpen was the fact that "long relievers" simply don't exist anymore. Well, perhaps the Royals are bringing it back. Tim Collins threw three innings today, a truly rare animal in today's game. Now, today was a unique situation, to be sure: an extra innings game with a day off waiting.

Not that Sunday's game was perfect. It took forever to get to Soria, although that might be because Yost was trying to avoid using him at all. Moreover, you can argue that Collins shouldn't be throwing three innings yet. To get to the bottom of that, we'd have to look closely at the state of his arm and his usage over the Spring. Collins threw 41 pitches Sunday, which isn't absurd but also isn't insignificant.

Finally however, I come here to praise rather than criticize. We're used to maddening bullpen usage around here, rather than interesting and possibly good decisions.

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