Ned Yost surely has a plan on which direction he wants to go with the rotation, though as we said before, there are two spots that are up for debate. No doubt his lineup is set with 2B being the only possible question mark. The bullpen and bench will be no different. Unless there is a major injury or two the names that will be posted on the 25 man roster are pretty much the names most of us are familiar with. The one thing that might make a couple of spots in the bullpen a revolving door of sorts is if the starters maintain their status quo for raking up high pitch counts early in games. You could then see guys like Kelvin Herrera among others get call ups for short periods throughout the season. Another question will be whether or not Dayton and Ned decide to use a typical 7 man pen or go with the extra guy. Hopefully the rotation will make it unnecessary to carry an 8th.
Joakim Soria- The only question with Soria in my mind is how much will he bounce back after junking the cutter early last season. I think coming in to Spring Training this year and going through his normal routine will help him start out the season as solid as he has in the past. While not quite as sharp as he has shown to be in previous seasons, Soria posted a 2.39 ERA in his last 37 appearances last year after deciding to be Mariano Rivera’s clone wasn’t such a good idea. I think we all are looking for Soria to put up something resembling his usual numbers – 2.25 ERA – 42 SV – 70 IP
Jonathan Broxton – I don’t see Broxton coming back as strong as he was before he was given the relievers equivalent of the “Gil Meche” treatment but he could prove to be a decent bridge to Holland. If his fastball comes back (at least hitting 96-98) he would certainly prove to be a valuable piece to the bullpen but I think his days of upper 90’s-100 are over. I feel he will live in the 94-96 range which, for his 4 seam, may prove to be too hittable. I hope I’m wrong. 2012- 3.89 ERA – 2 SV – 52 IP
Greg Holland – It will be hard for Holland to duplicate let alone improve on his 2011 season. Anything even close to resembling his numbers from last year and he will prove to be the most valuable arm in the pen. I see no reason why that won’t be the case. 2012 – 1.90 ERA – 5 SV – 68 IP
Louis Coleman – Writing about the bullpen after closers and setup men is like writing about local politicians. You really just hope they do their job well and that you don’t notice them most of the time. Coleman provided 59.2 IP with 64 K’s while only giving up 44 hits and 26 BB’s. Louis has the stuff to duplicate last year’s success. Like ERA, it is not uncommon for a top reliever to have a low BABIP (around .265 or so). He did benefit from .246 BABIP last year but with his ability to get strike outs I don’t see an issue if Coleman’s BABIP goes up some this year, especially if he continues to limit his walks. 2.40 ERA 70 K’s 65 IP
Blake Wood/Aaron Crow-RHLR
Tim Collins/Everett Teaford-LHLR
Jose Mijares-LOOGY – These guys round out the bullpen. Collins or Teaford should make the Pen as the LH long reliever along with Blake Wood as the righty if Aaron Crow gets sent down or makes the rotation out of spring. Mijares will be the LOOGY by default, Visa issues be damned.
Mitch Maier- The outfield spot on the bench will most likely be occupied by either Mitch Maier or Jarrod Dyson. I’m not nearly as big a fan of Dyson as a lot of fellow bloggers are mostly because I don’t like players who only have one skill (I’m not big on Dyson’s defense as others either). That’s not to say I would be all that heartbroken if Dyson made the team I just think the team is stronger with Maier or Derrick Lough coming off the bench.
Brayan Pena- With the injury to Pina this put Pena as the near lock to take the backup catchers spot. Unless Yost feels compelled to sign a veteran (all glove no stick) to backup Sal Perez, Pena is it. I’m fine with Brayan back there. His defense is much improved and he still swings the bat well. Last year he played so sporadically that Pena never had a chance to do much at the plate. He won’t get much chance this year short of a team deflating injury to Perez.
Yuniesky Betancourt will be the utility IF unless Johnny Giavotella completely implodes and Betancourt is handed 2B. Otherwise the Yunibomber will be playing about 3 times a week, rotating between 2B,SS and 3B.
Jarrod Dyson- See above.
David Lough- Possible addition if Maier and Dyson prove unworthy.
Chris Ge…… never mind.