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View Full Version : The Value of a Relief Pitcher



vince wilfort
06-29-2008, 01:48 PM
The way people view relief pitchers has changed over the years. A long time ago, relievers used to just be former starters who were washed up. Now you see prospects who may have potential to be good starters being brought up through the farm by a team who hopes they will become dominant relievers.

Some teams value these players more than others. The Astros recently gave up a lot to acquire Jose Valverde while the A's are trying to deal Huston Street. Some say the statistic of saves is overrated while others say there's a psychological edge needed to be a closer.

So I ask, what is the value of a relief pitcher? Should a dominant closer have more value than an equally dominant set-up man? Is a first round pick worth using on a relief pitcher in this day and age?

koldjerky
06-29-2008, 02:01 PM
As a fan of the Phillies, I say the value is pretty high. Too many consecutive years have the Phillies been at the bottom with a horrible Pen. However, in the same breath a pen can go from very good to very poor in less than a season. Some teams can keep a solid pen for a few years but individually it's rare to see a reliever stay as dominant as he was the prior season.

Relievers seem to be the most inconsistent ballplayers in the game, year in and year out.

YankeeFan28
06-29-2008, 02:14 PM
The reliever position is one of the most overrated aspect in the game. Especially the closer. There are so many times the game is usually decided in the 6-8 innings where your best bullpen arm didn't even get a chance to be a deciding factor. Yes, there are times when you need a closer in the 9th, but does that out weigh what happens over the course of the season between the 6th and 8th inning?

Relievers blossom and fizzle out in one season. It's tough to find a reliever who can do his job throughout his career at a high level.

A bullpen is very important now a days, but bullpen roles are very overrated.

GHGHCP
06-29-2008, 02:31 PM
The way people view relief pitchers has changed over the years. A long time ago, relievers used to just be former starters who were washed up. Now you see prospects who may have potential to be good starters being brought up through the farm by a team who hopes they will become dominant relievers.

Some teams value these players more than others. The Astros recently gave up a lot to acquire Jose Valverde while the A's are trying to deal Huston Street. Some say the statistic of saves is overrated while others say there's a psychological edge needed to be a closer.

So I ask, what is the value of a relief pitcher? Should a dominant closer have more value than an equally dominant set-up man? Is a first round pick worth using on a relief pitcher in this day and age?

The value is high and finding good consistent ones is always a plus. I wouldn't use a first round pick for a relief pitcher as those should be for starters and position players. Its a mixed bag building your pen, Dodgers for example have one of the best in the league, some of them were drafted as relief pitchers and others starters converted into dominate RPs.

Ragun
06-29-2008, 03:08 PM
pretty valuable especially when ur winning.

LetsGoA's
06-29-2008, 08:15 PM
our team would not even still be in the fight in the al west if it was not for our relievers.

Jilly Bohnson
06-29-2008, 10:59 PM
I actually think relievers have gone through Derek Jeter syndrome. They were so overrated for so long and then everyone got it in they're heads that they're overrated, that then people started underrating them. A high-leverage shutdown reliever can be more valuable than most starters. Closer's aren't that important IMO, because usually they just start an inning fresh and often just have to not be terrible to get the save. But guys like Carlos Marmol and Jonathan Broxton and Hideki Okajima, those guys who come in to situations like the 7th with guys on 2nd and 3rd with none out and get out of the jam, are extremely valuable.

Cub_StuckinSTL
06-30-2008, 11:41 AM
I'm with Jilly. A set up man that can come in and dominate with inherited runners is a lot more important than a closer

Swish-Cab-Ob
06-30-2008, 12:17 PM
Very important, look the White Sox have one of the best bullpens in the league this year. Last year they had one of the worst, and look at the difference...Now thats not the only reason, but it certainaly helps.

ccugrad1
06-30-2008, 12:29 PM
All you need to do is look at how starting pitching has changed to show the value of a reliever. If a starter goes 6 innings now days, that is fantastic. You need a solid bullpen pretty much for innings 6-9.

quade36
07-01-2008, 08:41 AM
You can look at the White Sox bullpen as the number 1 reason why they have turned around this season as well as won in 2005. Last year their bullpen was awfull. This year Nick Massett has the highest ERA of their 6 members up in the bigs at 3.31.

Linebrink 1.36
Jenks 1.95
Logan 2.22
Thornton 2.27
Dotel 3.11
and then Masset

In today's game hitters are just too good to not get to a pitcher after seeing them more then a few times. Thats why the bullpen role has become extremely important.

The A Team
07-01-2008, 03:27 PM
Teams often will convert guys they drafted as SPs when it becomes apparent that they will probably never develop a 3rd good pitch. This is because most starting pitchers that feature only 2 plus pitches don't have the ability to last more than one trip around the league. A couple counter examples that come to mind are Tim Wakefield and Cole Hamels (and even Hamels is developing a solid major league curveball).

The value of a good pen cannot be understated, however, it is usually not worthwhile to pay out the *** to have one. As has been mentioned, relievers often suddenly become bad or on the other hand turn in amazing years seemingly independent of their actual talent. It's really a bit of a crap shoot. JC Romero came out of nowhere for the Phillies after several seasons of middling for the Twins and then getting cut by the Red Sox and could just as easily return to nowhere in the coming years.

I am a believer in both schools of thought when it comes to closers. I believe that there is a 'closer' mentality that the guys you bring in the 8th and 9th innings have to possess to have consistent success. At the same time, I think the vast majority of pitchers who make it to the major league level have this mentality, so you can basically fit anyone to the role as the A's have done under Beane. I've always preferred the 2 pitch fireballers like Billy Wagner or Brad Lidge, but that's just preference. Ultimately, it just comes down to individual talent in most cases.

v3n0m
07-01-2008, 04:47 PM
Well, let's take Hideki Okajima, who was escential for the Red Sox last season, now he has faded into dark... and the Sox are struggling to keep their title for one more year, but I seeing it difficult that it will occur...