If you watched any of the postseason this past year, you might have come away thinking that a bullpen revolution was on our hands. The way Terry Francona, and to a lesser degree Joe Maddon, utilized their bullpens throughout the playoffs was certainly unconventional. By bringing in his best reliever as early as the fifth inning, was Francona ushering in a new era for the bullpen or was it an artifact of the postseason?
Before diving too deeply into the bullpen and the Mariners specifically, I want to get your opinions. Below is a survey that will ask a few questions about how you think bullpens should be utilized in the modern era. Are the traditional bullpen roles we become accustomed to over the past couple of decades the best way to employ a team’s relievers? Do you think that Francona was onto something with his unconventional use of Andrew Miller? I’ll collect the data for an article later this week.
A few things before you get to the survey:
- I’ve identified five traditional bullpen roles: closer, setup man, middle reliever, left-handed or right-handed specialist (i.e. LOOGY), and long reliever or swing man. For the most part, modern relievers can be matched to one of these five broad categories.
- For the Mariners specifically, I’ve listed out all the relievers listed on the official depth chart. I’m going to ask you to pretend you’re Scott Servais and tell me what you think each pitcher’s ideal role would be. Does it fit into the traditional roles listed above or should it be a more unconventional role that’s hasn’t been defined yet?
- If you think a pitcher should be utilized in an unconventional role, tell me what you think it should be. Do you want to use game leverage to inform your bullpen choices? Are you going to focus on the specific skills of each pitcher? Maybe you want to create an alphabetical rotation of pitchers in the bullpen? This is your chance to be creative and imaginative.
Here’s a direct link to the survey.