Let's Take a Look at the Blue Jays Bullpen

We pretty much know what the plan is for the bullpen, so let's take a look at it. They will be using a 7-man bullpen, at least to start the season season.

Sergio Santos: Our new closer, he saved 30 games for the White Sox last year with a 3.55 ERA. His FIP (2.87) and xFIP (2.69) were better. He struck out 13.07 per 9 innings, I like guys that can miss bats. He walked a few (4.12/9), 5 of those walks were intentional. He did blow 6 saves. Jim Margalus told us that he may have some durability issues, he's been better early in the season than later on in the season. Jim figures Santos needs a bit of management to be at his best, but then, at his best, he's pretty great.

Jason Frasor: We know all about our prodigal son. He's ack in the fold and he'll likely be our main 8th inning guy. Jason can add to his Blue Jay record for appearances. Last year he was having a good season with us, 2.98 ERA when he was traded, but didn't do so well with the Sox, putting up a 5.09 ERA in 20 games with them, but then we know better than to judge a guy on 17.2 innings. Innings do tend to last a little while, with Jason on the mound but he's a good pitcher.

Darren Oliver: He might be token lefty in the pen, depending on whether Luis Perez makes the team. The last 4 seasons he's had ERAs of 2.88, 2.71, 2.48 and 2.29. The next number in that progression might be pretty good. He doesn't have much for a platoon split last year or over his career, his career OPS is .788 against RHB and .772 against LHB. He only walked 1.94/9 last year and only gave up 3 home runs, despite pitching in Arlington. He is 41 but lefties can pitch forever.

Casey Janssen: A long time favorite of mine, I figured he was in line to pitch in higher leverage spots, but with us picking up Santos, Frasor and Oliver, he's moved back some. He had a 2.26 ERA last year. He didn't walk many, just 2.26/9 and he only gave up 2 home runs last year. He pitched more than an inning in several outings last year, and went 3 innings allowing no hits, with 5 strikeouts once.

Jesse Litsch: The team seems determined that Litsch will be a reliever. Maybe they are right, batters hit .204/.272/.408 against him as a reliever and .268/.343/.436 as a starter last year. He can give us a couple of good innings at a time, but he had a large platoon split, with RHB having a good .618 OPS but lefties having a .845 OPS against him last year so it might be a good idea try to have him pitch to right-handers as much as we can.

Carlos Villanueva: He was absolutely amazing as a long man in our pen, holding batters to a .161/.264/.259 line and putting together a 1.60 ERA as a reliever. He wasn't as good as a starter, but filled in there when he was needed. I can't imagine that he will have an ERA under 2 as a reliever again, but I'm happy to have him as the long man in our pen.

The last spot in the pen is a little more wide open. It could be one of a few guys.

Luis Perez: I'm thinking he is the mostly likely choice to be the 7th man in the pen. He could fill the role of LOOGY and/or go a few innings in a mop up role if needed. He wasn't great last year, finishing with a 5.12 ERA in 65 innings, but he did hold lefties to a .260/.322/.375 line. I'd guess that Farrell will want more than one lefty in his pen.

Joel Carreno: Might not make the team out of spring training, but injuries happen, I'm sure he'll get some work with the Jays. Last year he allowed just 11 hits and 4 walks in 15.2 innings while picking up 14 strikeouts. I'd like to think there was a closer's job in his future, but this year he'll just have to do whatever job he is asked to do.

Chad Beck: Seems to be well liked by the organization. Was a September call up. Of course, the story is that Pete Rose told Alex Anthopoulos that Beck was very good. Vegas manager Marty Brown also liked him a lot too. He looks like he'd be a reliever in the majors but the team will, likely, have him starting at Vegas.

There is also the possibility that if either Dustin McGowan or Brett Cecil don't make the starting rotation out of spring training they could be used in the pen. It is also possible that the team might want McGowan to start the season in the pen to manage his innings, I'm pretty sure they won't want him going 180+ innings this year. Or the team might decide that they would be better off using Cecil in the LOOGY role, much as they did with Marc Rzepczynski last year.

It looks to me like a much better pen than we had last year. Of course they would be helped out if the starters could go a little deeper in the games than they did last year. Pitching les would make the pen look better.

I think, the way the pen looks to shake out, that we should have one of the better bullpens in the AL. What do you think?

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