With only 23 days until pitchers and catchers report to Salt River Fields for spring training, its time to project and predict what the 2015 Diamondbacks will look and perform like after a busy off-season. We have already examined ZIPS projections for the Dbacks starting rotation, and lineup, which you can view by clicking on the links.
Now we will take a look at the Diamondbacks bullpen. Its a group that is projected to have a lot of young and promising depth, and is expected to do better than last year especially in the 9th inning if the Dbacks want to win in 2015.
Without further ado lets take a look at Dan Symbowski’s projections for Diamondbacks relievers.
If Addison Reed wants to be a closer, and stay in the 9th inning role for 2015, he is going to have be a lot better than he was in 2014. He did convert 32 of 38 save opportunities for an 84.2 save percentage, which ranked in the middle of the pack, and you could argue that because the Dbacks starting rotation was one of the worst in the N.L., he got fewer opportunities. However, a 4.25 era and a 4.03 FIP is unacceptable for a closer.
When Reed was traded to the Diamondbacks to stabilize the closers role, I didn’t really like the move, because Reed’s high FB% historically wouldn’t translate to Chase Field very well, and he had his worst season of his career last year.
Here is the good news: he is expected to be better this season. Reed who is going into his age 26 season is projected by ZIPS to allow just 7 HR’s in 63.7 IP for a 0.99 HR/9 rate, both lower this season.
He is projected for a 3.53 era, and a 3.31 FIP both lower than last year with 9.61 K/9 rate, and a 2.40 BB/9 rate, with a ERA+ of 110. With these numbers he can probably save a few more games, and if he does that the Snakes bullpen will be in good shape.
David Hernandez was out all of last season after undergoing Tommy John Surgery, so I am really interested to see what Hernandez can do this season. ZIPS in terms of run prevention is expected to be the Dbacks best reliever with a 10.50 K/9 rate, a 3.27 era, a 3.58 FIP, and an ERA+ of 119 in 52.3 IP.
Oliver Perez is projected to have another good season for the Dbacks. In 54.0 innings, he is projected for the 2nd best K/9 rate among relievers at 10.33, with an era of 3.67, an FIP of 3.81, and an ERA+ of 106.
Brad Ziegler is projected to have an ERA+ of 110 better than both Reed and Perez, with a 3.50 era, and a 3.69 FIP in 67.1 IP. Ziegler’s ground ball rate and ability to turn double plays makes him more valuable, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets time in the 9th inning if Reed struggles.
Evan Marshall is projected to be the Dbacks second best reliever with a 111 ERA+ in 61.7 IP. I think he has the stuff and potential to be a closer.
Randall Delgado isn’t supposed to be very good according to ZIPS with an ERA+ of 89 in 116.0 innings. Matt Reynolds who also was out all of last season is projected for an ERA+ of 110 in just 33.0 innings. Daniel Hudson is only projected to throw 18.3 innings, which I think is way to low.
The most fascinating story about this years bullpen is the continued development of the Dbacks talented reliever prospects. Jimmy Sherfy (106), Enrique Burgos (100), Matt Stites (88), Jake Barrett (88), and Kaleb Fleck (93) with projected ERA+ in parentheses could all see significant time at the big league level this season.
If Reed can perform better this season, than the Diamondbacks bullpen should be significantly better in 2015 with Marshall, Perez, Ziegler, and Hernandez all projected to do well.