Makinen: Bullpen performance separating MLB teams in 2023

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A few weeks ago, I released my preseason bullpen rankings in MLB. Since then, there has been some movement amongst the teams. No matter how much the teams or rankings change, one thing remains certain. Clubs whose bullpens are performing at a high level continue to win games and provide a plethora of profits for bettors. I shared this strategy with readers in my previous article—by simply backing the team with the better Steve Makinen Bullpen Power Rating thus far in the first 10 days of the ’23 season, you would be 86-50 (with five ties in BP PR’s) for +19.92 units. That is already a 14.1% R.O.I. Furthermore, the two teams currently with the highest Bullpen Power Rankings on my scale, the Rays and Brewers, have put together a combined record of 16-2 for +14.2 units.

 

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With this in mind, let’s look at some of the key bullpen stats accumulated in the first 10 games of the season and my current Bullpen Power Ratings as we head into this week’s games. Note, ratings were as of games through Sunday, April 9th, and I do update them daily. I am working through a process with our developers to have these ratings, as well as my team, starting pitcher, and effective run-scoring ratings made available to VSiN subscribers in an easy-to-read and utilize fashion. Hopefully, we will see this implemented in the near future.

Key Bullpen Stats (through games of April 9th)

Top 5 Bullpen ERAs

  1. MILWAUKEE: 0.84
  2. TAMPA BAY: 1.86
  3. TEXAS: 1.89
  4. NEW YORK YANKEES: 2.25
  5. ATLANTA: 2.90

Worst 5 Bullpen ERAs

  1. CHICAGO WHITE SOX: 8.31
  2. PHILADELPHIA: 6.75
  3. DETROIT: 6.18
  4. MIAMI: 5.72
  5. COLORADO: 5.65

Top 5 Bullpen WHIPs

  1. TAMPA BAY: 0.97
  2. TEXAS: 0.99
  3. MILWAUKEE: 1.06
  4. ATLANTA: 2.90
  5. CLEVELAND: 1.11

Worst 5 Bullpen WHIPs

  1. CHICAGO WHITE SOX: 2.05
  2. PHILADELPHIA: 1.83
  3. OAKLAND: 1.51
  4. SAN DIEGO: 1.51
  5. COLORADO: 1.50

Top 5 Bullpen Ks/9 innings

  1. NEW YORK YANKEES: 12.49
  2. CHICAGO CUBS: 11.61
  3. SAN DIEGO: 11.54
  4. KANSAS CITY: 10.78
  5. CLEVELAND: 10.74

Worst 5 Bullpen Ks/9 innings

  1. OAKLAND: 5.66
  2. TAMPA BAY: 5.92
  3. WASHINGTON: 5.94
  4. MILWAUKEE: 6.45
  5. DETROIT: 7.10

I use a manual process of analyzing daily box scores to build my Bullpen Power Ratings. In most cases, the end number reflects the three stats listed above, with great consideration also given to overall talent, injuries, and momentum. For instance, in the cases of Milwaukee and Tampa Bay so far in 2023, both relief staffs have been quite sharp in getting hitters out, and in fact, the Brewers are on a streak of 23+ scoreless innings. However, neither they nor the Rays are overwhelming hitters. Their actual ERA and WHIP stats would support a higher power rating if not for the strangely low strikeout numbers.

Biggest movers in the SM Bullpen Power Ratings since opening day

Biggest upward movers (PR points)

  1. MILWAUKEE: +12 points
  2. TEXAS: +11
  3. PITTSBURGH: +11
  4. LOS ANGELES ANGELS: +7
  5. TAMPA BAY: +6

Biggest downward movers (PR points)

  1. CHICAGO WHITE SOX: -15 points
  2. SAN FRANCISCO: -13
  3. MIAMI: -12
  4. NY METS: -12
  5. DETROIT: -10

Steve’s Current Bullpen Ratings/Ranks

Rank – Team – Bullpen PR

  1. TAMPA BAY: 21
  2. MILWAUKEE: 20
  3. ATLANTA: 18
  4. NEW YORK YANKEES: 15
  5. LOS ANGELES DODGERS: 14
  6. MINNESOTA: 13
  7. CLEVELAND: 13
  8. HOUSTON: 12
  9. SAN DIEGO: 10
  10. ST LOUIS: 9
  11. SEATTLE: 9
  12. TEXAS: 8
  13. TORONTO: 5
  14. BOSTON: 5
  15. PITTSBURGH: 4
  16. NEW YORK METS: 3
  17. BALTIMORE: 3
  18. PHILADELPHIA: 1
  19. LOS ANGELES ANGELS: 1
  20. MIAMI: 0
  21. CHICAGO CUBS: -2
  22. ARIZONA: -3
  23. KANSAS CITY: -3
  24. CINCINNATI: -4
  25. OAKLAND: -7
  26. SAN FRANCISCO: -8
  27. COLORADO: -9
  28. WASHINGTON: -10
  29. CHICAGO WHITE SOX: -12
  30. DETROIT: -12

Continue to bet the best bullpens throughout the ’23 season to bring in profits. It’s a proven strategy that has produced consistently for me since I have been tracking the methodology while with VSiN, now going on six years.