I'll finish off the final part, part 3 of this series, by studying a few relief pitchers-- Brad Lidge, Chad Durbin, and J.C. Romero. Unsurprisingly, their performances are all pretty flukey. The Phillies bullpen has been great this year, and these three guys are a big part of the reason why. In fact, the bullpen has been a main contributor to the team's success. My best guess is that if the Phillies are going to maintain the pace they have now, they are going to need to get some improvement from the hitters and the starting rotation, because the bullpen is bound to regress to the mean. That's not to say that the bullpen won't still be pretty good, but it won't be as reliable as it has been.
Actual: 0.72 ERA
Projected (ZIPS): 3.88 ERA
His ERA is 0.72, so clearly he isn’t going to maintain this, but he certainly is having a good year. However, his K rate is lower than his career rate (10.80 opposed to 12.52) and his BB rate is higher (4.68 above 3.83), but his he has yet to give up a homerun all year. In his career, he has given up 10.4% homeruns/flyball and this year, that would imply that he should give up two homeruns, which would generally lead to about three more runs, and have an ERA closer to 1.80 instead of 0.72, and his BABIP is only at .229 instead of his career .318. That’s going to turn around too, as his groundball rate is actually slightly higher (which correlates to higher BABIP).
My guess: FLUKE. He’ll still have about a 3.30 ERA from here out, good to finish around 2.40 or so. He’ll still win a few more closer games for the Phillies, but he’ll look less like superman in the process.
Actual: 1.80 ERA
Projected (ZIPS): 4.43 ERA
His walk and strikeout rates seem pretty similar to his career rates, but his BABIP is way down at .258 this year, despite having similar groundball/flyball/line drive rates. His homeruns/flyball is down at 2.7%. That’s not going to stick either. This is not going to stick.
My guess: BIG FLUKE. Don’t canonize the man. He’ll show his true colors soon.
J.C. Romero:Actual: 1.66 ERA
Projected (ZIPS): 4.17 ERA
His walk rate is still way too high, sitting around 5.82 now. His strikeout rate is up at 7.89, certainly higher than it’s been, but not really that much higher than usual. His groundball rate is still around 60%, very similar to last year. Despite only giving up four of his own runs, he’s apparently given up six of other people’s runs, letting six of 16 inherited runners score. I think his ERA is low because he’s entering innings with one or two outs already.
My guess: FLUKE. His ERA will still belie a mediocre performance, but some of the runs he lets in will eventually be his own.