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Articles Tagged Jim Johnson 

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May 15, 2014 6:00 am

Closer to Me: Week Seven

14

Mauricio Rubio

Surveying the ninth-inning situations around the league to help you find saves.

Ascent

Toronto Blue Jays:
Casey Janssen was activated from the disabled list on May 11, which will help stabilize a Jays bullpen that has been little more than a rotation of names trying to close out games and failing all the same. Santos provided the ultimate case study in how sustainable a horrendous BB% can be if you supplement it with a tremendous strikeout rate (the answer, not very). Aaron Loup tried his hand at closing and was spotty and unspectacular. Bret Cecil earned three saves but his walk rate was only slightly better than Santos’. Essentially, the Blue Jays bullpen was proficient at doling out The Three True Outcomes between Santos (8.3 BB/9 and a 2.3 HR/9), Loup (4.9 BB/9) and Cecil (6.6 BB/9). Janssen will provide consistency and control to a unit that desperately needs it. He’s a must-own at this point and will get the saves in Toronto.


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May 6, 2014 6:00 am

Closer to Me: Week Six

5

Mauricio Rubio

Updates on the ninth-inning situations around the league.

White Sox
Nate Jones is going to miss a chunk of time to recover from back surgery. By this point, you know the story with Jones; he was tabbed to assume closing duties for the White Sox but after a fuzzy spring Matt Lindstrom was named the closer on Opening Day and Jones never quite got on track. He has yet to record an out this season and has already allowed four earned runs. In his stead, Lindstrom has performed the closing duties fairly well, as he’s riding a streak of 11 innings over which he’s only given up two earned runs (all in one appearance, April 25 against the Rays), and he’s picked up three saves along the way.

The White Sox bullpen was a mess last time we discussed it. It’s done better of late as Ronald Belisario has righted the ship since the bullpen wide implosion on April 17 against the Red Sox. Zach Putnam has been a revelation of sorts since he was brought up from Charlotte on April 17, and we’ve already touched on the resurgence that Lindstrom has experienced of late.


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April 29, 2014 6:00 am

Closer to Me: Week Five

5

Mauricio Rubio

Catching you up on all of the ninth-inning developments around the league.

Compared to the earlier weeks, this one was kind of boring in reliever-land. Let’s check in on what’s gone down.

A Tale Of Two Cities

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April 8, 2014 6:00 am

Closer to Me: Attrition

13

Mauricio Rubio

We're just one week into the season, and a host of teams already have ninth-inning concerns.

Reliever volatility is not a new concept. We’re all used to the closer carousel that sustains itself on poor performance and injury as it turns throughout the season. What happened this week, however, bordered on a league-wide implosion of closers. Let’s take a look at who is left standing after the week that was.

INJURIES

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June 6, 2013 5:00 am

Bullpen Report: A Test of Wil'

4

Mike Gianella

Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen is among the numerous ninth-inning men who moved down a tier in this week's update.

Welcome to another installment of The Bullpen Report. As a reminder, closers are rated in five tiers from best to worst. The tiers are a combination of my opinion of a pitcher’s ability, the likelihood that he will pick up saves, and his security in the job. For example, A pitcher in the third tier might have better skills than a pitcher in the second tier, but if the third tier pitcher is new to the job or has blown a couple of saves in the last week this factors into the ranking as well.

Since the big news right now is Biogenesis, it’s worth noting that there are no active major-league relievers listed in the reports released so far. This isn’t a definitive or final iteration of the list by any means: There are other names in the documents that haven’t been released or that are listed under code names, according to the sources in the story as reported by ESPN. However, in terms of known risk, there isn’t anything to see here.

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The Orioles are confounding for projection season.

Adam Jones doesn’t like predictions. And really, if you were coming off a playoff berth, you wouldn’t like being told by someone that you’d finish last, either.

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August 27, 2012 5:00 am

Pebble Hunting: The Most Fleeting Way to Win

6

Sam Miller

The Orioles are surprise contenders behind an excellent bullpen. Or, more accurately, behind a bullpen that has pitched excellently.

Pedro Strop was a utility infielder who spent three years in short-season ball and never slugged as high as .350 before the Rockies decided, in 2006, to try his live arm on the mound. In his first try as a pitcher, he struck out 22, and walked just two, in 13 innings. But the Rockies released him two years later, and the Rangers picked him up, waited him out, and eventually promoted him to the big leagues. He had an ERA over 7, with 22 walks in 27 big-league innings, when they traded him to Baltimore as the non-famous half of an August waiver-period trade for Mike Gonzalez.

That was a year ago this week, and Strop has been far more significant in this year’s pennant race than Gonzalez ever was with Texas. He has the second-best ERA in the American League (minimum 30 innings), and among relievers, his win probability added is sixth, ahead of all but four closers. He has the fifth-best groundball rate in the majors, a fastball that averages 97 mph, and no platoon split worth worrying about. The Orioles entered play Sunday tied for a Wild Card spot, though their playoff odds were just 13.4 percent. It’s probably no exaggeration to say that, without Strop's work this year, those odds would be close to zero.

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This month in completely predictable and completely unpredictable award winners.

The three most recent press releases to appear at MLB.com:

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March 2, 2012 6:00 am

Heartburn Hardball: Starting Over

6

Jonathan Bernhardt

Returns to the rotation for Neftali Feliz, Daniel Bard, and Chris Sale this spring might signal a renewed appreciation for the significance of the starting pitcher.

It’s that time of year again: spring, the season of growth and change when life returns to the world, in baseball as in nature. For baseball fans and writers alike, it is a season dominated by prospects blooming into Opening Day starters, free agent closers descending on the bullpen like choking ivy, and Rich Harden blossoming onto the Disabled List (poor Rich has been done for the season since early February after aggravating the same shoulder capsule for the fifth straight year).

It is also the time of year when that young reliever with filthy stuff your team brought up for late-inning leverage gets his annual look as a starter. Sticking a young starter from the minors into the major-league pen for half a year to get him some seasoning and then plugging him into the rotation the next spring is a time-honored tradition; the Baltimore Orioles under Earl Weaver and company used this process to develop most of the guys who would start for them during that team’s heyday in the late Sixties and Seventies, including Hall of Famer Jim Palmer, who remains a vocal advocate of the process to this day, but they were hardly alone in doing so. However, since Dennis Eckersley’s fateful union with manager Tony La Russa in Oakland in 1988, the pendulum swing towards the closer over the past two decades and change led to some of those promising young minor-league starters never leaving the bullpen, lingering there to give their skippers late-inning certainty while collecting the big paychecks that come with that peace of mind.

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Welcome all to the results of the Baseball Prospectus Mid-Season Awards. The points system is 10-7-5-3-1 for the MVP and Cy Young Awards, and 5-3-1 for the Rookie Awards. BP authors' picks, with all-too-clever comments, are included here, below the awards standings. Hitters: Ballots, Points (1st Place Votes), (Avg/OBP/SLG/RARP/VORP) Pitchers: Ballots, Points (1st Place Votes), (ERA, IP, SNWAR or ARP, VORP)

Welcome all to the results of the Baseball Prospectus Mid-Season Awards.

The points system is 10-7-5-3-1 for the MVP and Cy Young Awards, and 5-3-1 for the Rookie Awards. BP authors' picks, with all-too-clever comments, are included here, below the awards standings.

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November 7, 2001 12:00 am

Staff Ballots

0

Baseball Prospectus

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