View Full Version : Claussen Better Suited for the Pen?

Bobcat J
05-31-2006, 11:50 AM
During Brandon Claussen's recent outings Marty and Steve have both mentinoned Claussen's effectiveness the first time through a line-up and his propensity to fall apart the second time around. This would suggest that Claussen is well-suited for the bullpen, a suggestion that I have seen tossed out on the board over the last couple of days.

All of this got me thinking about Claussen's stats in innings 1-3 v. 4-6 and whther or not they would back an argument that he is best suited for the pen. Since looking at only this year would be such a small sample, I looked at every start Claussen has ever made. Here's what I found.

1-3 Inn 157.33 67 105 56 143 3.83 6.01 1.875 1.26
4-6 Inn 132.33 72 68 44 156 4.90 4.62 1.55 1.51

This seems to suggest that he would be good in the pen. His numbers early in the game are better than his numbers as he gets going. Claussen has a lower ERA, higher K/9, higher K:BB, and lower WHIP in innings 1-3 than innings 4-6.

But, with a little more digging, I found that these numbers might be deceptive. I decided to look at Claussen's numbers inning by inning.

1st Inn 53 34 32 21 59 5.77 5.43 1.52 1.51
2nd Inn 52.1 17 34 20 46 2.92 5.85 1.7 1.26
3rd Inn 52 16 39 15 38 2.77 6.75 2.6 1.02
4th Inn 48 44 24 26 84 8.25 4.5 0.92 2.29
5th Inn 45 17 25 9 32 3.4 5 2.78 0.91
6th Inn 39.1 11 19 9 40 2.52 4.35 2.11 1.25

Claussen's 1st inning numbers are bad, but he does settle down. The 4th inning is absolutely awful for Claussen. Maybe, using him in long releif, where his 1st inning troubles can be balanced out by second and third innings, but not letting him get to the point where he gets completely rocked would be good.

But, I still wouldn't move him to the pen. We don't really have anyone to replace him in the rotation.

05-31-2006, 01:38 PM
he'd prolly be good on a one inning bases maybe 2 based on his numbers throught the order one time after that it gets dramatically worse

05-31-2006, 01:45 PM
With his inconsistent command of his off speed stuff I would say no. A guy like Germano with a plus curve of which he has good command profiles better to relief than a guy like Claussen who can't consistently command his stuff.

05-31-2006, 02:08 PM
An option when he gets healthy could be to move Belisle into the rotation and put Claussen in long/middle relief. I'd give Claussen until Belisle is healthy to figure it out and if he's still struggling to get past the 4th inning I'd like to see a switch.

05-31-2006, 02:30 PM
If I were the manager, I wouldn't even consider moving Claussen to the bullpen.

Traditionally, Claussen often has a bad first or second inning, and then settles down quite nicely. Nine times out of ten, that's ok for a starter as long as he doesn't give up so many runs early on that he puts the team out of it from the get-go... but it's certainly not a trait that will EVER be effective from someone coming out of the bullpen. It would/could potentially be suicide to the team.

05-31-2006, 02:58 PM
I think that he could be valuable in spot relief work against left hand hitters. Look at his numbers vs. lefties:
BA. .146, HR 1 (11 vs right handers), BB 1 (19 vs RH).
Now it is a smaller sample size than right hand hitters, but those are pretty good numbers. So if there were a few lefties in a row or if we needed a big out vs a left hander he could help us, but who knows if he would be happy in that role. But it's not like he hasn't had his chance.

05-31-2006, 04:58 PM
Without a really solid look at the numbers, my gut reaction would be no. He struggles too much with his command. Chances are good that even in middle relefie he's going to come into most pitching situations with runners already on base. If he's not "on" that night, it could be a disaster. There will be smaller margins for error in thoese situations.

It's not good for a starter to struggle with command, but at least every outing & inning starts with no one on base and you have a little more room to work with.

Anyway, just my gut responce.

05-31-2006, 05:15 PM
If he goes to the bullpen we may have to watch the 2006 Joe Mays Home Run Hitting Tour sponsored by Jim Bowden's All-Mighty Scouting Team. Not a pretty site. Could our AAA staff be any worse? It has to be one of the worst staffs in the history of the minor leagues.

I think Claussen may be a reliever later in his career ala Kent Mercker and Chris Hammond, but until he reaches his mid-thirties I see him staying a starter.

Caveat Emperor
05-31-2006, 05:17 PM
A relief pitcher's most important work comes with his first 15 pitches. He lives or dies on the ability to make outs quickly, retire the leadoff man, and not allow runs to cross the plate early in his outing.

On pitches 1-15, here are Brandon Claussen's numbers:

Claussen 11 9.2 8 9 9 0 1 6 5.59 0.93 8.38

8 Hits, 1 BB -- 9 ER. That's actually pretty staggering, IMO.

05-31-2006, 05:57 PM
Claussen just needs to find some semblence of control. He looked good last night until the rain delay hit and after that he was all over the place. He has been up and down most of his career as we all know and had a pretty decent second half for us last year. Which brings me to my point that Ruhle not being here might be affecting Claussen more than the rest of our pitching staff. I don't think moving him to the bullpen will do anything but kill this kids confidence.