The Bullpen: Use As Prescribed


So the scouting report on new manager Ned Yost tells us that he likes to structure his bullpen around specific roles and rarely varies from them. That wouldn’t be my approach – I think it’s just too inflexible and in the case of Joakim Soria, incorrect strategy.

But what the heck, it’s his team now, and we’re riding a 5-2 run since he came over (and those two losses could have/should have been wins). So if he wants to use the bullpen like that, have at it. But be sure to read these directions first, Ned:

Long-relief fodder
Contents: RHP Bryan Bullington, RHP Brad Thompson, LHP Bruce Chen
Directions: Use when symptoms arise such as early exits by starters, blowout losses, low-leverage inning eating situations.

Active ingredients: Former prospects or journeymen starters – usually containing average to below average stuff, but if they’re throwing strikes, they can chew up some innings with little damage. Generally capable of being replaced by over-the-counter or generic brands.

Side effects: Low potency; below-average strikeout rates; ability to let a large deficit get larger.

Situational performers
Contents: RHP Kyle Farnsworth, LHP Dusty Hughes
Directions: Use when necessary to get a few batters out at a time. Should not be taken in large doses as they can produce volatile reactions. Effective when used properly.

Active ingredients: Ability to get one or two outs in a platoon advantage. Farnsworth can approach 100 mph on a good day, making him good for a strikeout an inning. Hughes maintains good control.

Side effects: Prone to basehits; neither should be used in high-pressure environments. Farnsworth is a high-priced alternative to a generic brand.

Inhibitors
Contents: RHP Robinson Tejeda, RHP Blake Wood
Directions: Use when necessary to stop unfavorable symptoms or for prevention of onset of those symptoms in the middle of typical activities.

Active ingredients: At times, they possess wicked stuff and can be as effective as any other choice in the league. Tejeda can be used to prevent problems in the middle innings or late. Wood could be used similarly, though some may choose to use him later under specific circumstances.

Side effects: Some doses of Tejeda can be inconsistent with past results. Wood has an incomplete trial history and is new to the market, so long-term usage is unclear.

The Miracle Drug
Directions: Should be used in situations of the highest importance when prevention of illness is most necessary. Some may prescribe a more limited dosage of one at a time, but my recommendation is to use anytime late when necessary to immediately stop threats of illness.

Active ingredients: RHP Joakim Soria, possessing a 92-93 mph fastball with cutting movement, similar to Mariano Rivera. A developing power changeup with fading action to right-handers, diving action to lefties. A curveball is slow-acting but can stop any threat in its tracks. Also, among the best in recent memory for use in high-pressure situations, as Soria is most effective in those situations.

Side effects: Virtually none. Stable and reliable. Have been concerns of limited availability and sometimes prolonged storage can make less effective. Probably don’t want to use more than four days in a row to maintain long-term potency unless absolutely necessary.

So there you are, Ned. Granted, I have a history degree and no experience in pharmaceuticals, but I think this is still a good set of guidelines for you to follow.  Handle with care.

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Tags: AL Central Baseball Blake Wood Brad Thompson Brian Bullington Bruce Chen Dusty Hughes Joakim Soria Kansas City Royals KC Kyle Farnsworth MLB Ned Yost Robinson Tejeda Royals