Armed and Dangerous?

Mike Timlin will begin the season on the disabled list. This seems to solve the Sox’ 12th-man question (though the much larger closer question remains unsolved). There are now 13 probable candidates for inclusion in the Sox’ 12-man Opening Day pitching staff:

  • Curt Schilling
  • Josh Beckett
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka
  • Jonathan Papelbon
  • Tim Wakefield
  • Joel Piniero
  • Hideki Okajima
  • Brendan Donnelly
  • J.C. Romero
  • Julian Tavarez
  • Manny Delcarmen
  • Kyle Snyder
  • Devern Hansack

The bottom three are on the bubble, and until Timlin’s exclusion, the choice seemed pretty tough — Snyder cannot be sent down without clearing waivers (unlikely), while Delcarmen seems to be ready for Major League action. As mentioned, a trip to AAA would be a pretty significant setback. Now, both can be included and Hansack, who was called up from AA last year to pitch his five-inning, season-ending no-hitter, can begin the year in Pawtucket.

Snyder, despite giving up a run today, has been fantastic this spring. For whatever the stats are worth, he’s walked four and struck out 10 in just more than nine innings. He’s struck out more batters per nine than every other Sox pitcher except Jonathan Papelbon. As a former starter who can ramp up his velocity (and posted a 1.69 ERA last year on his first time through an opponent’s lineup, better than Joel Zumaya, Akinori Otsuka or J.J. Putz, to name some electric/coveted releivers) and appears to have good control of four pitches, Snyder could be the closer the Sox are looking for. I think he can be — and should be — the answer to both of the Sox’ bullpen questions.

14 comments… add one
  • i’ve been waiting for someone to post something about snyder’s performance the first time through a lineup (being too lazy to look it up myself, of course). by some quirk of fate i saw him pitch three times last year, and he was so frequently not just good, but dominant; up until the point where the wheels came off (often through just plain bad luck) that i wondered the same thing. although i think he’d be best used in starting-a-clean-inning situations. he absolutely inspires more confidence than any of the other options, as far as i’m concerned.

    rcolonna (sf) March 21, 2007, 7:51 pm
  • I still like Pineiro more as the closer right now, but Snyder does strike me as a good “clean inning” kind of guy.
    That is, as long as he doesn’t show the same HR rate as he’s had in previous years.
    I think a bullpen of Okajima-Romero-Donnelly-Snyder-Delcarmen-Pineiro could actually be more than serviceable.

    Steve March 21, 2007, 8:17 pm
  • again, bullpens are volatile beasts, pretty unpredictable. A couple of these guys have had decent success in the past, although three of them seemed to have turned a corner in the wrong direction. A couple we don’t know about at all, excet to say that Snyder has not had much success at the major league level and Manny is unproven, and Okajima was good as a LOOGY in Japan. My guess is that this is a below average bullpen; that it will be a surprise (although not a shock) if its decent.

    Nick-YF March 21, 2007, 8:38 pm
  • Ok let me say this first, I don’t think this will be that much of an issue for the Sox, their offense and SP is just too good to have the pen make a difference. They have some SP’s that can really eat innings and if need be, like I have said before they can move Paps back to the pen once the playoffs role around. That said this is a borderline below average/awful bullpen.
    Joel Piniero = If he can only pitch against the Yankees and Indians this guy could be the next Rivera.
    Hideki Okajima = Unknown. Gives up a lot of walks and HR’s and that was against Japenese hitters. Not a great sign.
    Brendan Donnelly = Easily the best skill set of them all.
    J.C. Romero = Control is awful and really only gets out lefties.
    Julian Tavarez = Struggles against RH and really only succeeded due to his strand rate.
    Manny Delcarmen = Real good skill set.
    Kyle Snyder = His hit and HR/9 rates are really bad. Decent skill set, could be ok.
    Devern Hansack = There’s a reason he was let go by the Astros. No plus pitches, average speed. His saving grace is his ability to throw strikes.
    The good news is once Timlin is healthy and Hansen develops, that should be a shot in the arm for them.

    Triskaidekaphobia March 21, 2007, 9:11 pm
  • Trisk, come to think of it. The Sox bullpen looks pretty awful when you put it like that.

    Nick-YF March 21, 2007, 9:15 pm
  • How about this we will give you Chris Britton, Brian Bruney, Jeff Karstens, Sean Henn and J.B. Cox for Daisuke? Instant Bullpen, future closer all problems solved. Get Theo on the horn!

    Triskaidekaphobia March 21, 2007, 9:21 pm
  • I think Okajima does well at least for the upcoming season because it will take hitters time to get used to him. Whether he can sustain any sort of success in MLB is a big question mark, but I think he’ll have a good 2007.
    Donnelly is a good pickup, although his stats have been steadily declining.
    Romero had an awful year last year, but even then he killed lefties. The Sox worked on his mechanics, and the result has been excellent so far (spring disclaimer). I’d put his chances at better than half that he has a good season.
    I really just have no faith in Piniero. He and Snyder both bring similar things to the table, but Snyder is younger and has proven he can dominate one time through the order. His stats through the first three or so innings are quite good.
    Delcarmen should be decent.
    Tavarez I don’t really trust either.
    Timlin when healthy remains one of the most consistent relievers in the game, so I agree that his return should boost the pen, and a mid- or late-season addition of a smarter Hansen could indeed give the pen the boost it needs.
    This is definitely a below-average bullpen. But like Trisk said, the Sox don’t need much more to be an elite team. As long as someone settles down to league average in the closer’s role, this club can win more than 95 games. I think Snyder can do that, and has a better chance to do so than anyone else.

    Paul SF March 21, 2007, 9:42 pm
  • Bradford on Closing:
    Oh, and just in case you were wondering, even though pitchers like Snyder and Romero have pitched extremely well this spring, the closer competition hasn’t opened its doors to any newcomers.
    He says past injuries to Snyder’s arm are keeping the Sox at bay when it comes to putting him in as closer.

    Paul SF March 21, 2007, 11:09 pm
  • I’m 99% sure that Snyder is older than Pineiro.
    I think some people are underestimating what this bullpen is capable of. It’s not going to be a dominant unit, but it can definitely be capable. When you break down the negative side of every single guy, you can make anything look shitty:
    Farnsworth: Can’t throw anything but his fastball well. Consistency and walk issues.
    Vizcaino: NL to AL switch. High ERA for a reliever.
    Myers: Iffy control. No velocity. Can’t get a righty out to save his life.
    Proctor: Will his arm finally fall off?
    Villone: Lacks real stuff, and couldn’t get my grandmother out late last year.
    Bullpens are a volatile beast. Outside of elite guys like Mo, Nathan, and K-Rod (even then you never know, hello Lidge,) year-by-year performances are impossible to predict. As it stands, Boston’s got two capable setup guys in Donnelly and Timlin, a great LOOGY in Romero (dude destroyed lefties even in his off year,) a versatile lefty in Okajima that batters don’t know, strong young arms in Delcarmen and Hansen (not forgetting Cox,) and a couple wild cards with high ceilings who’ve looked pretty good so far in Snyder and Pineiro.
    If Snyder and Pineiro tank, along with Donnelly regressing, Timlin being hurt all year, Okajima getting destroyed, and MDC/Hansen making no progress, then yes, this will be a pathetic bullpen. That’s what most Yankee fans are assuming right now, but the chances of every single thing going wrong are pretty low, especially if you consider how well most of these guys are doing right now.
    I’d take Boston’s bullpen questions over NY’s rotation questions any day of the week.

    Steve March 22, 2007, 7:30 am
  • Great argument Steve! While I used facts, you used your opinions, super!
    “Farnsworth: Can’t throw anything but his fastball well. Consistency and walk issues.”
    FYI he is throwing his splitter again, so your wrong right off the bat. Secondly he is a RELIEF pitcher, they don’t throw 7 pitches like Daisuke. A good fastball and an offspeed pitch of some sort is all you need.
    “Vizcaino: NL to AL switch. High ERA for a reliever.”
    While that may be true for starters, it’s not true for situational relievers. Let’s not bring up the fact that he’s brutal against lefties and that he is the epitome of a workhorse.
    “Myers: Iffy control. No velocity. Can’t get a righty out to save his life.”
    Dude, do you watch the Yankees? Myers only pitches to righties if the Yankees are getting blasted and Joe needs innings. No velocity? His only job is to get out lefties and at that angle you don’t need velocity.
    “Proctor: Will his arm finally fall off?”
    Not even touching that one, it’s just nonsense like most of your argument.
    “Villone: Lacks real stuff, and couldn’t get my grandmother out late last year.”
    First off Villone is hardly a lock to make the bullpen, it’s more on the doubtful side now. Because of Vizcaino’s ability to get out lefties they may just let him go. Which is fine because he is not under a major league contract.
    “I’d take Boston’s bullpen questions over NY’s rotation questions any day of the week.”
    There’s a shocker. Something tells me you would drink the kool aid regardless of the issue. Next time you want to try and discount an argument I present, try using some facts.

    Triskaidekaphobia March 22, 2007, 8:52 am
  • Oh what the FUCK ever. Facts? Give me a break.
    Fine. I’ll drink the Yankee homeraide and go along with what you want us all to say:
    Boston’s pitching staff blows because they MIGHT have questionable late relief and there’s obviously no chance that any of their options will be good, while the quality and depth of the starting staff means absolutely nothing.
    The Yankees pitching staff is fine because they could have a solid bullpen even though the starting rotation has an insane amount of questions and is currently banking on 30 starts from a guy named Pavano. These questions are irrelvant because obviously nothing will go wrong.
    Yeah, I’m the ignorant homer. Just because I’m not quite willing to say “our bullpen blows” TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE SEASON STARTS. Right. Are you willing to say that your rotation sucks? No? Then don’t expect me to think the same about my team’s bullpen.

    Steve March 22, 2007, 9:08 am
  • Gabbard is prone to allowing too many walks, but I like what he’s done this Spring and hope he gets the opportunity to help the team in the regular season.

    airk March 22, 2007, 9:09 am
  • I am not sure if our bullpen blows, but it is certainly whistling right now.
    Color me nervous.

    SF March 22, 2007, 9:17 am
  • Extremmmmmme…reminds me of Harold and Kumar, LOL. Go back and read my first post, is that a post of a homer?
    I said “I don’t think this will be that much of an issue for the Sox, their offense and SP is just too good to have the pen make a difference. They have some SP’s that can really eat innings and if need be, like I have said before they can move Paps back to the pen once the playoffs role around.”
    Then a HUGE SOX fan (Paul SF) said “This is definitely a below-average bullpen. But like Trisk said, the Sox don’t need much more to be an elite team. As long as someone settles down to league average in the closer’s role, this club can win more than 95 games.”
    “Oh what the F*CK ever. Facts? Give me a break.”
    Yeah you are right who has time for facts when you are presenting an argument. Silly me, what was I thinking.
    “Are you willing to say that your rotation sucks?”
    I can’t believe I am arguing this point, but here it goes. Anyone who knows anything about baseball and not just there home team knows that the Yankees rotation is NOT elite, but it also does not “suck” as you put it. Maybe you were confusing the Yankees with the other NY team, sometimes it’s hard to think when your all full of rage.

    Triskaidekaphobia March 22, 2007, 9:20 am

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