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Thread: Top 10 bullpens in MLB history

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    Member Captain Hook's Avatar
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    Top 10 bullpens in MLB history

    Buster Olney just posted what he thinks are the top 10 bullpens in MLB history. Olney has the 1990 Reds coming in at number two on the list with the 2012 Reds just missing the top 10. The article is for insiders only but I'll list his top 10 and let RZ weigh in.

    1. 1998 Yankees

    2. 1990 Reds

    3. 2003 Astros

    4. 2003 Dodgers

    5. 1990 Athletics

    6. 1972 Athletics

    7. 2002 Angels

    8. 2010 Giants

    9. 2012 Rays

    10. 2002 Braves

    Here's the link for those with access.
    http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/blog/...lb-history-mlb
    Last edited by Captain Hook; 01-21-2013 at 09:23 PM.

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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Top 10 bullpens in MLB history

    I'd take the '75 Reds over the nasty boys. Eastwick, McEnaney, Carroll and Borbon was a deeper unit and all provided over 90 innings with ERAs below 3.00. People forget that Charlton spent half the season in the rotation. After that, the pen wasn't nearly so deep and they didn't give as many dominant innings that the '75 team did.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

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    Re: Top 10 bullpens in MLB history

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    I'd take the '75 Reds over the nasty boys. Eastwick, McEnaney, Carroll and Borbon was a deeper unit and all provided over 90 innings with ERAs below 3.00. People forget that Charlton spent half the season in the rotation. After that, the pen wasn't nearly so deep and they didn't give as many dominant innings that the '75 team did.
    I disagree.

    Those guys were all 'good', but none of them were 'great' despite their shiny ERAs (which can be misleading for relievers). Borbon in particular was rather 'meh'. He was the Logan Ondrusek of the Big Red Machine. Sure, his ERA looked nice, but as a fan you never felt confident when he entered the game.

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    Re: Top 10 bullpens in MLB history

    I remember attending a Reds-Astros game in Cincinnati in 2003 and watching the parade of Lidge, Dotel, and Wagner pitch the 7th-8th-9th and thinking it was the most dominant pitching I had ever seen in my young baseball fanhood. It made quite the impact on me.

    FanGraphs had a good article about Brad Lidge's 2004 season last week...
    "On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

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    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Top 10 bullpens in MLB history

    I would add the 81' yankees to the list. Rich Gossage and Ron Davis had quite the year.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Top 10 bullpens in MLB history

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve4192 View Post
    I disagree.

    Those guys were all 'good', but none of them were 'great' despite their shiny ERAs (which can be misleading for relievers). Borbon in particular was rather 'meh'. He was the Logan Ondrusek of the Big Red Machine. Sure, his ERA looked nice, but as a fan you never felt confident when he entered the game.
    I was confident with any of those guys. The '90 team was a 2 man show for half the season.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Top 10 bullpens in MLB history

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    I was confident with any of those guys. The '90 team was a 2 man show for half the season.
    No love for Scott Scudder? The Scud Missile? Really?
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    Re: Top 10 bullpens in MLB history

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    I was confident with any of those guys. The '90 team was a 2 man show for half the season.
    I was the opposite.

    As a kid growing up watching the Big Red Machine, I always cringed when Borbon came into a close game. Pedro gave up 10.4 H/9 and only delivered 2.1 K/9. He was constantly pitching himself into trouble. He had a real knack for getting out of that trouble, but it was nerve wracking watching him try and protect a lead.

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    Re: Top 10 bullpens in MLB history

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    I'd take the '75 Reds over the nasty boys. Eastwick, McEnaney, Carroll and Borbon was a deeper unit and all provided over 90 innings with ERAs below 3.00. People forget that Charlton spent half the season in the rotation. After that, the pen wasn't nearly so deep and they didn't give as many dominant innings that the '75 team did.
    I agree the BRM pen was underrated, but the game was so different back then it's hard to compare the two pens. Sparky was one of the first managers to rely heavily on his pen, with multiple relievers in specific roles. Still the roles were not as nearly as defined as they are now, and more relievers were needed to finish games. The difference in quality between the end of the game relievers and middle relievers wasn't that great for any team. Very few teams has a single dominant closer back then.

    By 1990, you had a closer and a set up guy who got nearly all the key outs late in the game. Middle relievers were mostly used in mop up situations, so they didn't have to be as dominant. Most teams by then would only have one dominant reliever, so the Reds having three (four if you count the underrated Tim Layana) was a rarity, and a seperated their pen from everyone else's in the league.
    "Man, the pitch looks fast, even in slow motion." Thom Brennaman on Chapman's fastball.

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    Re: Top 10 bullpens in MLB history

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve4192 View Post
    I was the opposite.

    As a kid growing up watching the Big Red Machine, I always cringed when Borbon came into a close game. Pedro gave up 10.4 H/9 and only delivered 2.1 K/9. He was constantly pitching himself into trouble. He had a real knack for getting out of that trouble, but it was nerve wracking watching him try and protect a lead.
    Borbon's biggest contribution was 6 consecutive seasons of 120+ innings, all in relief, and with an ERA below 3.35. That's 750 innings over six seasons. How many starters have done that over the last decade, let alone a reliever?
    "Man, the pitch looks fast, even in slow motion." Thom Brennaman on Chapman's fastball.

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    Re: Top 10 bullpens in MLB history

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool View Post
    No love for Scott Scudder? The Scud Missile? Really?
    And don't forget about Tim "wow, a rule 5 draft pick who kept his job all year" Layana.

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    Re: Top 10 bullpens in MLB history

    Quote Originally Posted by 757690 View Post
    Borbon's biggest contribution was 6 consecutive seasons of 120+ innings, all in relief, and with an ERA below 3.35. That's 750 innings over six seasons. How many starters have done that over the last decade, let alone a reliever?
    Bronson Arroyo... 1,247.2 IP over last 6 seasons.
    Small market fan... always hoping, but never expecting.

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    Re: Top 10 bullpens in MLB history

    Quote Originally Posted by 757690 View Post
    Borbon's biggest contribution was 6 consecutive seasons of 120+ innings, all in relief, and with an ERA below 3.35. That's 750 innings over six seasons. How many starters have done that over the last decade, let alone a reliever?
    Right.

    Borbon was an 'innings eater', not a guy who was considered dominant. Every team in baseball had a guy like him. He was a character and a fan favorite, but he wasn't anything special.

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    OlafTheBlack Dan's Avatar
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    Re: Top 10 bullpens in MLB history

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve4192 View Post
    Right.

    Borbon was an 'innings eater', not a guy who was considered dominant. Every team in baseball had a guy like him. He was a character and a fan favorite, but he wasn't anything special.
    Borbon was Sam Lecure
    Sabermetrics is this: A batter's goal is to extend the inning. Extend enough innings and you're going to score runs. Extend more innings than your opponent and you're going to score more runs than him.

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    Matt's Dad RANDY IN INDY's Avatar
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    Re: Top 10 bullpens in MLB history

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve4192 View Post
    Right.

    Borbon was an 'innings eater', not a guy who was considered dominant. Every team in baseball had a guy like him. He was a character and a fan favorite, but he wasn't anything special.
    I'd say all those innings with that ERA made him pretty special.
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