Arizona Diamondbacks Bullpen Preview


Across the board, the 2014 season was a disaster for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The club finished with a 64-98 record, which was the worst in all of baseball.

One of the many reasons why the D-Backs performed so poorly last season was the struggles of their bullpen. The unit finished with a 3.92 ERA last year, which was good for 23rd in all of baseball.

Despite no big changes, the organization expects this group to be improved this coming season with a couple of key veterans returning from injuries and a slew of young arms being close to ready for the big league level.

Let’s kick things off by looking at who will be closing out games for the D-Backs this season.

Sep 17, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Addison Reed throws in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Chase Field. The Giants defeated the Diamondbacks 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Closer: Addison Reed1-7 record, 4.25 ERA, 15 BB, 69 K’s in 59.1 innings last season

Reed had a rough go of it in his first season in a Diamondbacks uniform after being acquired by the club from the Chicago White Sox during the winter. He had six blown saves in 38 attempts, which is hardly Mariano Rivera like.

The right-hander pitched much better on the road last season than he did at Chase Field. Reed had a 3.62 ERA on the road, which was more than a full run lower than his ERA at Chase Field.

With a full year under his belt, look for Reed to be a bit more comfortable in his role this season. He might not be in a D-Backs uniform for long though given his ever-increasing price tag and the fact that this club has lots of quality young arms which could take over Reed’s role.

Aug 27, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Brad Ziegler (29) throws during the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Set-Up Man: Brad Ziegler5-3 record, 3.49 ERA, 24 BB’s, 54 K’s in 67 innings last season

Ever since he entered the league in 2008 with the Oakland Athletics, it’s hard to find a more consistent reliever than Zig. Over seven big league seasons, Ziegler has a 2.56 ERA with 108 holds.

Last season was a bit of a struggle for the veteran though as he had the highest ERA of his career at 3.49. A lot of that had to do with a bum knee that Ziegler was suffering from in the final couple months of the season, which required microfracture surgery in September, a procedure fans here in Phoenix are very familiar with.

Despite how serious the surgery is, Ziegler is progressing well and is hoping to be ready by the start of the season in early April.

Sep 17, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Randall Delgado against the San Francisco Giants at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Long Relief: Randall Delgado4-4 record, 4.87 ERA, 35 BB’s, 86 K’s in 77.2 innings last season

This is a position that’s been held by Josh Collmenter over the past couple of seasons, but with Colly now at the top of the starting rotation, this job now firmly belongs to Delgado.

Delgado was up and down in 2014. Of course, a lot of that probably wasn’t his fault because he really didn’t have a set role until the very end of the season. Delgado had two great months last season (0.64 ERA in July and 1.53 ERA in September) with a bunch of bad months in between.

With the rotation in flux, this club is going to need more consistency out of Delgado in 2015 because he’ll more than likely be pitching a ton of innings.

Middle Relief

Sep 24, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Evan Marshall (50) pitches in the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. The Minnesota Twins win 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Evan Marshall – 4-4 record, 2.74 ERA, 17 BB’s, 54 K’s in 49.1 innings last season

This guy was one of the few bright spots for this club last season. He came up in early June and pitched well for pretty much most of the season. The lone exception for the 24-year-old was the month of June where Marshall gave up seven runs in only nine innings of work.

In my eyes, he projects to be a perfect eighth inning guy. If Ziegler proves that he’s healthy and is pitching well, there’s a distinct possibility that he’s moved before the Trade Deadline, giving Marshall a chance to take over the eighth inning role.

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Oliver Perez3-4 record, 2.91 ERA, 24 BB’s, 76 K’s in 58.2 innings this season

Many fans were shocked when Perez was signed to a two-year deal last March, but he turned out to be a bargain considering the season he had. He was great all season long until he had a few bad outings in September.

Surprisingly, Perez was actually more effective against righties than he was when facing lefties. Right handers hit only .184 against them while hitters from the opposite side of the plate hit near .100 points higher.

Perez will be an important piece this bullpen this year and will help mentor a lot of the youngsters.

Jul 27, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero (26) talks with pitcher David Hernandez (30) on the mound in the ninth inning of the game against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field. The Padres defeated the Diamondbacks 12-3. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

David HernandezDidn’t pitch in 2014 because of Tommy John surgery

Losing Hernandez early on in spring training last year was a big blow to this club. Arizona lost someone who was their lock down eighth inning guy for a couple of seasons in a row, a role which was a mess for most of 2014.

Hernandez is now back and all indicators point to him being ready for the beginning of the season. It’s unfair to say that he’ll return to his form of two years ago, but if he does, it will make this unit that much more improved as a whole.

Daniel Hudson0-0 record, 13.50 ERA, 0 BB’s, 2 K’s in 2.2 innings last season

With having two Tommy John surgeries in a couple of years, it’s truly remarkable that Hudson is still pitching. Most guys would have retired, but Huddy decided to stick things out.

Now, I know some project to him to be a starting pitcher, but I don’t see it at this stage. Hudson would be much better off remaining in the bullpen and maybe give it a shot as a starter down the road when he proves that he can stay healthy.

Whatever happens, you can’t help but root for this guy.

Matt ReynoldsDidn’t pitch in 2014 because of Tommy John surgery

Another reliever, another victim to Tommy John surgery. Reynolds missed all of last season because of having the precedure done in September of 2013.

Given that he hasn’t pitched since June of 2013, it’s hard to predict what exactly the D-Backs will get from the lefty this season. Before he did get hurt, Reynolds was one of the better relievers that this club had.

In Reserve

The one thing that this organization has done recently is stock pile young relievers. There’s a very good chance that you’ll see plenty of them this season, depending on injuries and trades.

Matt Stites, Enrique Burgos, Will Locante and Kevin Munson are just a few of the names that you should keep an eye on. Stites is the name that fans should be most familiar with as he made 37 appearances last season, posting an ERA of 5.73.