Underestimating Our Bullpen

For the season, our bullpen ERA is 3.74, which ranks 9th in the MLB. Pretty good, but not elite, which I think matches the perception of our bullpen.

However, I think the overall bullpen numbers (and thus the perception of our current bullpen) get(s) skewed by guys who aren’t actually a real piece of our bullpen at all. That’s true for every bullpen, but I think especially for ours. Since Cousins and Sanchez came on to the scene, our core bullpen has felt stable, but injuries have forced extra guys into a revolving door that has ballooned our bullpen ERA. Our current and core bullpen, however, I believe has performed better than any other bullpen in the MLB, and should be in the conversation for the bullpen you’d most want to have for the rest of the season.

During their time with the Brewers this year, here are all of the ERAs of our current bullpen. No cherry-picking dates. No cherry-picking names. This list of 9 will go down to 8 this week, but likely back up to 9 in September. It very well could be these 9. This is not a random group of names. (And if Norris got DFA’d it would only make our numbers look better.)

Topa 0.00

Cousins 0.00

Strickland 1.56

Hader 1.79

Williams 2.45

Boxberger 2.63

Sanchez 2.79

Suter 2.86

Norris 11.12

Some small sample sizes, I get it. But the overall ERA for those guys is 2.47. (It’s 2.26 without Norris.) Up double-digit runs, we reach back for our low-leverage guy to close us out and his (Sanchez’s) ERA is 2.79. Small sample size yes, but with the way he has pitched, he would be in high-leverage situations for many other teams (Reds, anyone).

Anyway, consider this a bullpen appreciation thread. I think even Brewers fans are underestimating this bullpen.