Breaking Down the A’s New Bullpen
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
The new bullpen for the Oakland A’s is a killer one, probably the best in the Major Leagues. If last year’s was great, then this one is even better. Billy Beane is putting a lot of money into this deep bullpen. Let’s take a look at what makes this bullpen so lethal by breaking it down by each pitcher.
When Chavez was brought back up from the minors, he proved himself to people that he belongs in the big leagues. One of his best performances came in extra innings against the Yankees where he pitched multiple innings keeping the Yankees lineup under control. He is a great innings eater to have in the bullpen. If a starter is struggling early on or you need a new starter for the day because one of them isn’t feeling good, you can have confidence in putting in Jesse Chavez for the day. You can count on him to give you multiple innings before handing it over to the rest of the bullpen. Chavez still has room to get even better, making him a great solid piece in this bullben.
Gregerson is doubted by some to do well. A’s fans haven’t really seen much of him due to the fact that he was in the national league with the Padres and they don’t play the A’s often. We have yet to see what he can do in Oakland, but you can expect him to be even better coming to the spacious O.co Coliseum. His numbers from the last season will improve dramatically due to the fact that he is now pitching in one of the most pitcher friendly parks in all of baseball. Also he will be working behind a tremendous coaching staff that will bring out the best in him. In his new home, he will be an even better pitcher.
For what we will see from Dan Otero in 2014, read this. Otero is an outstanding pitcher who might see himself promoted to the role of set up man. He had the lowest ERA last season out of all the bullpen pitchers on the A’s. He also allowed no homeruns. Otero is the most under-rated player on the roster. Otero will get promoted as soon as one of the other pitchers in a higher role falters. The link above describes Otero so I don’t need to go into too much detail, but Otero is arguably the most lethal pitcher in this Oakland bullpen.
Ryan Cook had his struggles in 2013, but eventually found his old self. Cook has proved himself a reliable pitcher in his past two seasons with Oakland. He even made the all star squad in 2012. He had the second lowest ERA in 2013 (Okajima did but only played 4 innings, so we won’t count him). Cook is a proven set up man that deserved his all-star game trip in 2012 and is part of what makes the Oakland A’s who they are. Cook was part of an outstanding 2013 bullpen that was the backbone of the team. Cook could potentially become a closer in Oakland, so to have him as a setup man now even though he has closer pitching quality makes them only even more of a threat than he already is.
Doolittle was another great piece of Oakland’s 2013 bullpen. He is very similar to Ryan Cook, both are set up men that can become closers for Oakland and have quality pitches that back up their roles. Doolittle is good at shutting teams out and setting the pace for the closer to come in. Cook and Doolittle are often grouped together because they are similar, and I will do the same. Doolittle is in the same position as Cook, a set up man that can one day become a closer and has the talent to back that statement up.
He won’t be part of the bullpen until about June or July due to his Tommy John surgery. He is doing well in his recovery process, and as soon as he is good to go he will give the A’s a boost mid-season to put them ahead in what will be a very tightly contested AL West. O’Flaherty will be essentially replacing Jerry Blevins, and I believe that he will come in and have a career year, even if it is just half a season. Like Gregerson, He will be coming in to a new ballpark that is very pitcher friendly and will have improved stats this upcoming season.
What better way to close out an article than with the closer? Johnson is a very good closer, he led the major leagues the past two seasons with over 100 saves, but also had 9 blown saves last season. I don’t think that that will be an issue for Johnson because like all newcomer pitchers to Oakland, They are pitching in one of the biggest ballparks in the majors. He was with the Orioles who play in a more hitter friendly park, therefore more blown saves. Coming to Oakland he will not have as many blown saves as he did in 2013. This team will be riding on two years momentum, and if they keep it going Johnson might just even break Balfour’s record.