With the signing of Brandon Lyon, it looks like we’ve now seen the roster of contenders for the seven bullpen spots coming out of spring training. As with any season, there will be injuries, ineffectiveness, and demotions/callups/releases. Just because there will be seven that break camp, it’s highly unlikely these same seven will be intact as a group when the rosters expand on September 1st.
So who are the contenders?
That’s thirteen players vying for seven spots. Yes, there will be more pitchers in camp, but not all will make it.
As for the lefty contenders:
Robert Carson – has yet to prove anything at the major league level. In limited action with the big club last season, he had a 4.72 ERA in 13 innings. He’s also walked 206 batters in 506 minor league innings, including 21 in 51 minor league innings last year. LONGSHOT TO BREAK CAMP
Josh Edgin – While he gave up 5 HR in 25 big league innings last year, he may have been worn down by pitching in 75 games between AA, AAA, and the Majors in 2012. GOOD SHOT
Pedro Feliciano – he’s in camp on a minor league deal. We know what he can do when healthy. The big question mark is…. Is he healthy? He missed the last two years with a shoulder injury. Good for him, he cashed in while on the DL. Does he have anything left in the tank? Is there a tank left? If he shows that he has anything left, he’ll break camp as a veteran presence. He’ll have to show what of that is still left to stay the stretch. WILL MAKE TEAM IF HEALTHY.
Aaron Laffey – he pitched 100 innings in the Majors last year with the Blue Jays with 16 starts. He’s both started and come out of the pen during his career with his best MLB season occurring in 2011 being used strictly out of the pen. He’s in camp on a minor league deal. He’ll have to wow coming out of spring training to make the club. He may be auditioning for other clubs. WON’T MAKE TEAM.
Jeurys Familia – struggled in limited action with the Mets in 2012, striking out 10, but also walking 9 in 12 innings. This is only his age 23 season. STARTS SEASON IN MINORS
Frank Francisco – he may not be the closer, but he’s on the opening day roster. MAKES TEAM
Jeremy Hefner – he had a 5.09 ERA in 93 MLB innings with 13 starts, 13 relief appearances. He had some good outings, some bad. His ERA was also ballooned by that awful Sept 20th start where he gave up 7 runs without recording an out, but bounced back with two solid starts after that. Showed enough to warrant giving him a chance as the long man/spot starter on the roster. MAKES TEAM
Brandon Lyon – MAKES TEAM
Jenrry Mejia – he broke camp with the team in 2010 as a reliever. Has walked 29 in 55 major league innings including 9 in 16 big league innings last year. Pitched 92 innings in the minors splitting time as a starter/reliever. His strikeout totals also dropped significantly last year with only 55 in 92 minor league innings. STARTS SEASON IN MINORS.
Bobby Parnell – MAKES TEAM
Scott Atchison – in camp on a minor league deal, veteran who had a 1.58 ERA in 42 appearances and 36 K’s in 42 innings. Was on the 60 day DL due to partially torn elbow ligament that didn’t get surgically repaired and he came back at end of the season to pitch. If healthy, MAKES TEAM.
LaTroy Hawkins – he’s on a minor league deal. He’s 40, a righty, and there are other options. Unless he’s great, he won’t make the team unless Scott Atchison doesn’t make the roster. Can’t see having to squeeze out two spots on the 40 man roster for both Atchison and Hawkins, especially if Feliciano breaks camp and a spot needs to be available for him. At 40, there are no surprises. We know what he is. WON’T MAKE TEAM
Elvin Ramirez – pitches 21 innings in the majors in 2012 and struck out 22. Not too shabby. He also walked 20. Shabby. Walked 32 in 55 minor league innings in 2012 and 49 in 80 minor league innings in 2010 after missing all of 2011. WON’T MAKE TEAM
Again, the pen that breaks camp won’t be the same unit that plays for the stretch. That being said, given the players who are currently assembled – this is who I think will be in the pen come opening day. We’ll see how close I am when the team comes north:
Josh Edgin – Lefty
Pedro Feliciano – Lefty
Frank Francisco – Righty
Jeremy Hefner – Righty
Brandon Lyon – Righty
Bobby Parnell – Righty
Scott Atchison – Righty