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season-grades-bullpen | November | 2005 Articles

2005 Archives

Season Grades: Bullpen

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Last but not least on the season reflection: the bullpen. There are several pitchers who only got a handful of appearances and would have gotten an imcomplete; I will not list those pitchers. Bullpen RHP Kyle Farnsworth---B+ Farnsworth, one of the hardest throwers in baseball, used a newly discovered nasty slider to shut down opponents. His 1.98 ERA illustrates his dominance. After being acquired from Detroit, he was perfect in save opportunities until his meltdown in Game 4. He is the Braves' second biggest free agent besides Furcal, and the Braves are busy trying to either retain him or acquiring another top closer. RHP Chris Reitsma---C+ Until Farnsworth was acquired, Reitsma was the Braves best veteran reliever. He walked just 14 batters in 73 innings. He led the team with 15 saves and with 13 holds. Reitsma is very streaky, winning the Rolaids Relief award one month and having an ERA around 7 the next. He has 3 or 4 good pitches, and might actually be better suited to be a starting pitcher. He should be a Brave for at least one more year before arbitration makes him cost more than he's worth. RHP Dan Kolb---F minus Nobody foresaw Kolb being this bad. A complete head case. Actually, another team should sign him to a minor league contract and have him try out for a big league team; he was good once, maybe he could rediscover it. He's burned too many bridges in Atlanta, though. RHP Blaine Boyer---A The 23 year old rookie was outstanding for most of the season. His arm hurt late in the year, keeping him off of the playoff roster (huge blow now that you look back on it), but he was the Braves best reliever other than Farnsworth. He might be a future closer, and next year he should be one of the Braves' top set-up men. LHP John Foster---B John Foster came out of nowhere to be the Braves top lefty reliever in 2005. He had been with Milwaukee in 2003, but hurt his arm and had surgery. After rehabbing through 2004, he called the team he came up to the big leagues with to see if he could come to minor league spring training. After impressing the scouts there, he started the season at Triple A and pitched well. When Tom Martin was released, Foster was promoted to Atlanta. He never went back down, posting a 4.15 ERA. Not bad considering where he came from. RHP Jim Brower---C After several solid seasons as a set-up man in San Francisco, Jim Brower was awful for the Giants for 2 months and was released. The Braves signed him and used him as a set-up man in their struggling bullpen for awhile; he was adequate. When they thought Kolb had put it back together (he didn't) they demoted Brower from the set-up role, and Brower struggled. He was sent down to Richmond and promoted in September, and made the playoff roster because of Blaine Boyer's injury. He pitched well in the playoffs. Brower is a ground ball specialist. I don't know if he'll return next year. LHP Macay McBride---C minus The rookie McBride had a high ERA for the season, but that was mainly because he had a couple of really bad outings while pitching only 14 regular season innings. He was pretty good the rest of the time. He had an excellent strikeout rate, and should have a solid career as at least a LOOGY. RHP Kevin Gryboski---C+ Until being traded, Gryboski was a ground-ball specialist who was usually brought in to very tough jams. The logic of this was to try and get a double play. In his defense, it is impossible to not let a lot of inherited runners score under these circumstances. After being somewhat successful at this in the past, Gryboski was struggling at it in 2005. His 2.95 ERA hid that fact, and the Braves saw the writing on the wall and traded him right before he imploded. RHP Joey Devine---D The 2005 #1 draft pick, a Braves attempt to find their version of Chad Cordero. The Braves had no choice but to throw him in the fire during the playoffs after just 5 career appearances (not particularly impressive ones, at that). He was unfairly labeled the losing pitcher in the 18th inning of Game 4 during his 2nd inning of work. Hopefully this will not stunt the talented young reliever's growth, as he might be the Braves closer of the future. If it were up to me, he'd start 2006 in Double A barring a very impressive spring training, as that would likely set him up for a successful season. RHP Adam Bernero---F He was a reclamation project who actually started off fairly well. After Dan Kolb's demotion from closer, he was the top candidate to take his place. At that exact time, he began to struggle and never recovered. He got worse and was horrible even in low-leverage innings as a mop-up man. He was eventually demoted to Richmond. RHP Jorge Vasquez---B He was up briefly and was servicable after being outstanding at Double A. When the Braves had some pitchers return from the DL, he went back to the minors and fell apart and was eventually released. He was fine while in Atlanta, though, earning him a B.

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