Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Organizational Analysis: Bullpen

First off, Royals Corner continues to provide great free info about the Royals, including an interview with Billy Butler. If you haven't visited Royals Corner yet, I'd highly recommend it. Also, the Royals have just signed Hernandez and Affeldt to one-year deals worth around $1 million apiece, avoiding arbitration. Now, on to the Royals' bullpen.

The Royals' bullpen is one of the strengths of the organization. The Royals have one of the best power bullpens in baseball, with 4 or 5 relievers who can throw in the 94-99 mph range. In addition to a strong core of power arms, the Royals have a pretty good middle relief staff as well. The farm system doesn't have many reliever candidates at the moment, but the Royals should survive without that for now.

Middle Relievers:

Mike Wood and Elmer Dessens will share middle relief duties for the next two years. Wood's sinker does a good job of getting groundouts and he was an average pitcher for the Royals last year. Nothing wrong with that. Dessens throws a sinker as well and should be an average pitcher as well. Joe Mays might also end up in the bullpen if he doesn't get the No. 5 spot in the rotation.

Future middle relievers: Jimmy Gobble, Brian Bass, Kyle Snyder

Setup men:

Burgos and Sisco are going to be the Royals' primary setup men. Burgos has a great fastball that can reach 99 mph as well as a very good splitter when he has command of it. Both Burgos and Sisco struck out over 1 batter per inning last year. Burgos will compete with Sisco for the closer's job in the future. Until then, the Royals will have a very talented group of setup men.

The other one or two spots in the bullpen are questionmarks at the moment, largely dependent on who gets the No. 5 spot in the rotation. Jeremy Affeldt, Denny Bautista, and Leo Nunez will contend for the extra spots. All three are very talented pitchers with 96+ mph fastballs and quality secondary pitches. Talent-wise, the Royals' bullpen is about as good as it gets. Translating that talent into consistent, quality relief will be the number one priority in 2006.

Closer:

MacDougal ended the closer controversy last season, saving 21 games in 25 opportunities. MacDougal was pretty consistent last year and he had pretty good command (24 BBs in 70 1/3 innings). Consistency and command, I never thought I'd associate those with MacDougal. 2006 will tell us whether or not we can count on MacDougal as the team's closer for the near future.

Overall, the bullpen looks pretty good. The Royals' trio of late-inning guys performed very well last year and hopefully their success will continue. The Royals added a solid middle reliever (Dessens) and picked up a pretty good one off waivers (Peralta).

1. Current Relievers' Performance: B+ (consistency was a problem last year)
2. Current Relievers' Potential: A
3. Current Reliever Prospects' Depth/Potential: C (good depth at the major league level helps ease concern here)

3 Comments:

At 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Both Burgos and Sisco struck out over 1 batter per inning last year. Burgos will compete with Sisco for the closer's job in the future."

That says a lot. Hopefully, they -- and others -- can improve that number even more. If that improves, I think we've got a Flash Gordon/Mariano Rivera situation in the making. Except the Yankees never had two Gordons.


--Garth, powderbluepinetar.com

 
At 4:30 PM, Blogger COroyal said...

OU, I agree that Royals Corner has some good stuff. But, for what it's worth, the content provided by you & DL is equally good. Royals Authority is a gold mine as well. It's beyond my mental capacity as to why you don't get 10 comments a post as well.

 
At 6:56 PM, Blogger SoonerRoyal said...

Appreciate the kind words. We'll continue to provide comprehensive Royals' coverage and hopefully have more positive developments to discuss this year.

 

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