State Of The Dodgers: Evaluating The Bullpen
Kenley Jansen
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

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In a new series of posts over the next few weeks, we’re examining each of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ position groups; analyzing which players are gone, which players are returning and which free agents might be on the team’s radar.

Of all the position groups on the Dodges’ roster, none has faced more scrutiny than the bullpen — and not without good reason either (at least on the surface).

In 2014, the Dodgers bullpen posted the No. 22 ERA (3.80) — a number that actually went up in 2015 to 3.91 (although it placed them 19th overall). Sabermetrically, however, the numbers tell a different story.

In 2014, Dodger relievers combined for a 3.64 FIP and 2.0 WAR, both of which ranked 20th overall. Last season, however, there was improvement — FIP dropped to 3.43 (fifth-best) and WAR rose to 4.5 (eighth-best).

The reason for the improvement? Strikeouts and walks. In 2015, the Dodgers ranked fifth in both strikeouts and walks allowed. The problem? BABIP. Last season, this group gave up a .317 BABIP, which was third-highest in the Majors.

The point? The bullpen should have been a lot better than they were and it appears they simply experienced a bit of bad luck.

The good news in all of this is the Dodgers return the core of this bullpen from last year and it’s a group that should continue to improve as they grow in age and experience.

Free agents: Jim Johnson, Joel Peralta

If there were two relievers most Dodgers fans wouldn’t be devastated to see go, my guess is Johnson and Peralta are on top of that list.

Johnson, who came over in a trade with the Atlanta Braves, was the Atlanta’s closer before being traded to Los Angeles, at which point he greatly struggled.

In 49 appearances with the Braves, Johnson posted a 2.25 ERA and 1.4 WAR. In 23 appearances with the Dodgers, he posted a 10.13 ERA and a -1.6 WAR.

Peralta on the other hand, was acquired via a trade last November, along with Adam Liberatore from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for Jose Dominguez and Greg Harris.

While Peralta was great in April, with three saves and a 0.00 ERA over seven appearances, he proceeded to allow 12 earned runs and 18 hits in his next 14.1 innings of work, leaving him with a mediocre 4.34 ERA on the season.

CONTINUE READING: Outlook Of Dodgers Bullpen Presents Reason For Optimism In 2016