Blog Entry

Sigh of Relief

Posted on: May 11, 2009 2:08 am
Edited on: May 11, 2009 2:53 am
 

A's Rookie Leads Majors Best Bullpen

Co-closer Joey Devine is out for year needing Tommy John surgery. The teams other Co-closer has been battling the flu for the past week and a half and their main set-up man has found himself on the 15 day disabled list. Yet despite the setbacks the Oakland A's have faced in regards to their bullpen, it has been the best in the majors.

A good bullpen is invaluable, especially for a team such as Oakland, which features three rookie pitchers in its starting rotation. The A's bullpen averages four innings per game, most in the majors, but features a league leading 2.73 bullpen era, 1.15 WHIP and batters are hitting just .207 off of Oakland relievers. All three of those statistics are best in the league.

The anchor of this bullpen so far has been rookie Andrew Bailey.

Bailey has overcome a lot to get to where he is today with the A's. After a promising sophomore year at Wagner, in which Bailey recorded 84 strikeouts in 76 innings pitched, he started to gain recognition as a top tier prospect by major league scouts. However, everything took a turn for the worse during Bailey's junior season as he suffered an elbow injury and was required to get Tommy John Surgery. The injury made it so Bailey only appeared in seven games during the season and his stock dropped in the 2005 draft. He was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 16th round, but chose to continue his career at Wagner instead of going pro. He couldn't have made a better decision.

After spending 10 months of rehab, Bailey posted his best year yet at the college ranks posting a 2.03 era and striking out 53 batters in 41 innings pitched. Bailey finished college as Wagner's career strikeout leader and was selected by the Oakland A's in the 6th round of the 2006 draft. While Bailey spent his first two seasons in the A's minor league system as a starter, it wasn't until the middle of the 2008 season at AA Midland that that the A's started viewing Bailey as a reliever and developing him in that role.

Entering camp at the beginning of this season, Bailey wasn't guaranteed a roster spot on the A's. In fact, many thought Bailey didn't stand a chance at making the opening day roster considering Bailey hadn't pitched much above AA. However, with Brad Ziegler playing in the World Baseball Classic and Joey Devine battling injury, Bailey got his opportunity to pitch in many spring games and didn't disappoint. He featured a 0.66 era in 13.2 innings. The performance was too good for the A's to ignore and with Joey Devine starting the season on the disabled list, Bailey was named the last Oakland reliever on the 25-man roster.

Bailey's "stuff" is downright scary. He features a fastball that reaches up to 98 mph, a curveball, and a cutter that does its best impression of Mariano Rivera. So far this year, Bailey stands at 3-0, with a 1.27 era in 21 and a third innings pitched this season. He has 24 strikeouts, but even more remarkabale is that Bailey has only given up 6 hits all season.

"He continues to be impressive. He throws strikes and has multiple pitches," said A's manager Bob Geren when asked about Bailey. "I feel comfortable bringing him in any time, which is a big boost."

Bailey recorded his first career save last friday in a 5-3 win over the Blue Jays, doing it old fashioned style with two innings of shutout baseball. He wasn't originally planned to work the two innings, but Bailey was so effective in the 8th, the choice as to whether or not to send him out again for the 9th was a no brainer. Bailey faced the minimum number of batters, allowing no hits, striking out two, and only threw 20 pitches.

Not too bad. The closers role may be where Bailey's future lies. Brad Ziegler doesn't project as a long term closer and most expected him to lose the role to Joey Devine as the season progressed. If Bailey keeps performing like he has been, he may once again force Bob Geren's hand and require the A's to make the switch.

Regardless of where he ends up, he has helped shape the A's bullpen into the best in the majors. While the A's have gotten off to a slow start in 2009, they still show signs of improving and as their young stars continue to develop, this teams future looks bright.


Comments

Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: May 12, 2009 7:41 pm
 

Sigh of Relief

Good Post BP... Why not have Bailey start a few games? If he is that legit, he should get a chance, right? I know he primarily has been in  a closer roll, but with the rest of the pen doing their job, he could start, right? Not so sure there....The reason Bailey is so invaluable to the A's is because his ability to go multiple innings and because he can pitch pretty much every day. He's basically doing what Justin Duchscherer did for the A's for so long in the set up role, but is more dominant because his stuff is better. I know it's easier to find a dominant reliever rather than a starter, but at this point in time, with Cassilla and Devine down, and with Ziegler not performing great, I'd keep him in the pen.




Since: Aug 12, 2008
Posted on: May 12, 2009 1:26 pm
 

Sigh of Relief

Good Post BP... Why not have Bailey start a few games? If he is that legit, he should get a chance, right? I know he primarily has been in  a closer roll, but with the rest of the pen doing their job, he could start, right?



Since: Jun 7, 2007
Posted on: May 12, 2009 11:16 am
 

Sigh of Relief

 I didn't draft Ziegler because I figured he would lose his job at some point during the year. If not to Devine, then to someone like Santiago Casillia.

My league draft's late... it was 2 weeks in, and Devine was already looking done; while Casilla was on the DL, and is an inconsistent performer... I thought Ziggy was pretty much alone... I guess I should have seen the kid who was 2-0 with an ERA of 0 and a sub-1 WHIP at the time... but I figured Ziggy was a solid #2.

What can you do? I'll drop him and pick up some schmuck in the supplemental... Jenks is my top closer~




Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: May 11, 2009 3:13 pm
 

Sigh of Relief

And my fantasy team hates the idea of Ziegler losing the closer role... but I think you gotta go with the hot hand I didn't draft Ziegler because I figured he would lose his job at some point during the year. If not to Devine, then to someone like Santiago Casillia. Ziegler's lack of velocity on his fastball and his submarine delivery make him a strange fit to continue at that spot. Bailey is just a natural fit as his makeup resembles that of a typical closer....Not to mention, his cutter is amazing and he can get BOTH righties and lefties out with ease.







Since: Jun 7, 2007
Posted on: May 11, 2009 1:21 pm
 

Sigh of Relief

 lol. I'm just hoping for a .500 season this year and anything more would be a bonus.

Color me a homer, but I'm still hoping for a division title (which I think will take 86-88 wins)

And my fantasy team hates the idea of Ziegler losing the closer role... but I think you gotta go with the hot hand~

Bailey's on fire!




Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: May 11, 2009 1:15 pm
 

Sigh of Relief

Now if they could score some runs there might be a chance of a great, friendly World Series. lol. I'm just hoping for a .500 season this year and anything more would be a bonus. I have a feeling the AL West is going to be the worst division in baseball this year. The A's are 7 games under .500, but still are only five games out of first place. Giambi, Holliday, and Cabrera just need to get it going or it's going to be a long year. Dallas Braden has an era of just 2.79, but already has four losses. That's absurd.

As far as baseball movies go, yeah...I am a fan. Haven't watched many of them in a while though. I'll be sure to check it out...





Since: Jan 13, 2009
Posted on: May 11, 2009 2:19 am
 

Sigh of Relief

There you go Banned, bragging about those A's again. This time you happened to be right, you usually are when it comes to baseball though. My Mets are right on the A's tail, your a"s bullpen is just ahead of the Mets. They do have a great pen and the starters are not to far behind. Now if they could score some runs there might be a chance of a great, friendly World Series. Ha we can dream can't we?
I do not know banned if you are a fan of baseball movies but in my new "Imagine" blog I am going to be reviewing some of the best I have seen, I have done the first one already so stop by and let me know your thoughts.


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