Monday, May 28, 2012

Rebuilding For Success: Benchwarmer Baseball Week 3 & 4

The tough run continued for the Savin Hill Sox in week 3 as they dropped five out of the six games played that week. Starting pitching continued to be an issue, but the offense wasn’t lighting it up either. Having a great bullpen doesn’t do you any good if you can’t get a lead to turn over to them.

Lineup: Murphy 3B – Reimold OF – Iannetta C – Votto 1B – Markakis OF – Kipnis 2B – Aybar SS – Crisp OF – Carroll DH
Bench: Lowrie – Venable – Morel – Revere – Nunez

Jason Kipnis had a huge week at the plate (.417 – 1 3B – 1 HR – 6 RBI – 1 SB) and was joined by Coco Crisp (.308 – 2 SB in 4 games) and Joey Votto (.286 – 1 HR – 6 RBI – 4 R – 1 SB). Other than that, there wasn’t much as far as offensive highlights go and the team only batted .219 for the week.

Rotation: Lester – Dickey – McCarthy – Norris – Karstens
Spot: Paulino – Parker

R.A. Dickey turned in the only strong outing and got the only win of the week (7 IP – 1 ER – 3 H – 7 K – 1 BB). Brandon McCarthy had one quality start, but just barely (6 IP – 2 ER) and picked up two losses for the week. The team’s ERA for the week was 5.03.

Bullpen: Papelbon – Myers – Adams – Bryan Shaw – Robbie Ross

Jonathan Papelbon had a Benchwarmer week for the ages. Now is probably a good time to mention that the bullpen stats given here, unlike the batting and starting stats, aren’t the actual stats put up by these relief pitchers. Here’s the description from the Benchwarmer website:

Bullpen statistics are derived averages, since 11 major league games are used for a 6-game BWB week. Per-game and per-inning averages are multiplied by the number of times his slot was needed in BWB games. The numbers themselves may appear unrealistic, but they attempt to more accurately measure how the pitcher is affecting your outcome.

For the week, Papelbon had stats of 6 IP – 6 Sv – 0 ER – 0 H – 7 K – 1 BB. That was good enough to earn him the Reliever of the Week award. Mike Adams contributed 3 scoreless innings with 3 Ks and Robbie Ross added an inning and two third of scoreless relief. The bullpen ERA for 17.3 innings of work was a tiny 1.04.

Week 1: 3-3
Week 2: 2-4
Week 3: 1-5
Season: 6-12

Week 3 brought on more roster tinkering. I released Kevin Gregg whose ERA at the time was almost 8. I also released Greg Dobbs who was the unfortunate victim of the Jose Reyes signing by the Marlins. Hanley Ramirez moved over the third base and Dobbs lost his starting job. I released Ben Revere when he was struggling and had been sent down to the minors. He’s now back up again and batting .291, but hasn’t done much else so he’s probably not worth a second look. My final release for the week was Brent Morel. Morel was batting under .200 and on the DL so he definitely wasn’t worth a roster spot.

To replace those players, I signed Alex Liddi who was red hot at the time, but has now cooled off a little (.250 – 3 HR – 9 RBI). I also picked up Baltimore starter Jason Hammel who was 3-0 with a sub 2 ERA at the time. He’s now 6-1 with a 2.78 ERA and 1.13 WHIP with 53 K and 17 BB in 55 IP. Hammel is a big reason why the Orioles have spent the majority of the season in first place. Another pickup, since I really needed a backup catcher, was Nick Hundley (.173 – 3 HR – 16 RBI). The final new addition to the team was Gerardo Parra who is a bit of a speed demon for the Diamondbacks (.267 – 2 HR – 14 RBI – 24 R – 10 SB).

One thing that I’ve been more conscientious of this season is the value that I’m getting for the salary paid. If I’m paying a high salary for a guy to hit .250, I can probably drop him to pick up a guy doing the same for the league minimum. From the start of the season, I’ve gone from 27 players with a salary over $250,000 to just 25. I’ve also reduced some salaries that have remained over that $250,000 threshold. It’s important to have that cash on hand to sign free agents and extend the contracts of rookies and players having career years.

Week 4 was the exact opposite of the previous week for the Sox. They started the week with a 5 game winning streak before losing the final game 4-2.

Lineup: Kipnis 2B – Parra OF – Reimold OF – Votto 1B – Liddi DH – Murphy 3B – Markakis OF – Lowrie SS – Iannetta C
Bench: Nunez – Bryce Harper – Venable – Carroll – Hundley

This week marked the much hyped call-up of phenom Bryce Harper. I decided to play it safe and just give him a bench spot for this week. Hopefully he’ll have played his way into the starting lineup by the end of the season.

The offense turned things around this week with a team average of .270. Due to the Reimold injury, Harper ended up playing in all 6 games batting .333 with 5 doubles and a steal of home. Jed Lowrie led the way offensively though. He batted .400 with an .800 slugging percentage. (2 HR – 5 RBI – 6 R) Dan Murphy batted .381 for the week and Votto hit .350 with 4 doubles and 6 walks.

Rotation: Lester – Dickey – McCarthy – Hammel Parker
Spot: Paulino – Norris

Some new blood in the rotation seems to have turned things around. The starting staff turned in six quality starts and got 5 wins with a bullpen loss in Hammel’s second start. The team’s starting ERA was 2.31 with 35 K in 39 IP. Lester led the way with 7 innings of shutout ball and 7 Ks, but Jarrod Parker was right behind him with six and a third and only one run allowed.

Bullpen: Papelbon – Myers – Adams – Shaw – Ross

It’s another solid week for the bullpen who only needed to pitch 14.1 innings in 6 games. Papelbon and Myers were bother credit with 6 saves for the week and neither one gave up a run. Myers gave up two hits and Pap gave up two walks  The bullpen’s ERA for the week was 1.28.

Week 1: 3-3
Week 2: 2-4
Week 3: 1-5
Week 4: 5-1
Season: 11-13

Week 4’s releases included: Erick Aybar (.215), Coco Crisp (.165 and trip to DL), Karstens (0-1 4.50 DL) and Venable (.250 average at the time, upgraded to Cody Ross)

Week 4 signings: Tony Campana (.299 – 13 SB), Joe Saunders (3-3 3.79 ERA – 1.30 WHIP), and Cody Ross (.271 – 8 HR – 28 RBI – 24 R and currently on the DL). More salary reduction and more upgrading. Campana was a huge signing and Ross was red hot right before he broke his foot.

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