No place to go but up in 2013 for the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers

English: Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin

Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last season the Milwaukee Brewers’ bullpen won 28 games and saved 44. The 28 wins ranked fourth in the National League; the 44 saves ranked sixth. That was the good news.

The Brewers’ bullpen in 2012 had a Major League worst ERA of 4.66. They blew 29 save opportunities, tied for most in the majors, and the bullpen pitchers suffered the loss in 33 games, most in the majors. That was the bad news.

General Manager Doug Melvin has taken steps to upgrade the bullpen by adding three pitchers: Burke Badenhop, Tom Gorzelanny and Michael Gonzalez. This comes on the heels of four pitchers from last year’s bullpen no longer on the Brewers’ roster: Francisco Rodriguez, Jose Veras, Kameron Loe and Manny Parra. With pitchers and catchers now in Arizona (and Florida) as spring training gets underway, it should be a very interesting spring as Melvin and manager Ron Roenicke look to tighten up the back half of the pitching staff.

Let’s go back to some of the numbers I mentioned above. If we add the losses by Brewers relief pitchers (33) and the blown saves (29), we get a bullpen minus total of 62 (bullpen losses + blown saves). That 62 topped the majors last season.

Here’s a look at how each of the 30 MLB teams’ bullpens performed based on bullpen losses and blown saves last season.

Team, bullpen losses + blown saves, total
Milwaukee: 33+29   62

Colorado: 30+29   59
Houston: 31+20   51

St. Louis: 27+22   49
New York Mets: 29+19   48
Chicago Cubs: 25+21   46
Chicago White Sox: 25+21   46
Philadelphia: 27+19   46
Seattle: 25+19   44
Boston: 21+22   43
Los Angeles Angels: 20+22   42
Miami: 20+22   42
Kansas City: 21+20   41
Arizona: 20+20   40
Cincinnati: 22+18   40
Detroit: 23+17   40

Los Angeles Dodgers: 20+19   39
San Diego: 21+17   38
Washington: 19+17   36
Minnesota: 21+14   35
Toronto: 20+15   35
Pittsburgh: 19+14   33
San Francisco: 19+14   33
Cleveland: 18+13   31
New York Yankees: 17+14   31
Oakland: 14+17   31

Baltimore:11+18   29
Tampa Bay: 21+8   29
Atlanta: 14+13   27
Texas: 14+9   23

Note: Of the nine teams that had a minus bullpen number of under 35, six of them (San Francisco, N.Y. Yankees, Oakland, Baltimore, Atlanta and Texas) made the playoffs last season. The ten playoff teams from 2012 averaged 33.9 in the bullpen minus number; the 20 teams that did not make the playoffs averaged 42.5.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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