37. 37 blown saves this season. Sam Dyson (Texas Rangers closer who is pictured) had 38 saves last season but to start off 2017, he has pitched a total of 2 innings and given up 8 runs. Mark Melancon, who signed a 4 year $62 million contract in the offseason, blew his very first save opportunity with the San Francisco Giants.
So far, there are 15 teams with bullpen ERA’s north of 4.00. Even some of the best teams have been terrible in relief. After their run in October the Indians came back this season by sporting a 5.19 ERA in the first 6 games of the season. You would think that with a whole season of Andrew Miller they would be a little better but that hasn’t been the case. Miller hasn’t been the problem as he has pitched 3 innings giving up no hits, no walks, and striking out four. Although the Indians have converted every save opportunity (1 of only 7 teams to do so), having an ERA above 5 out of their gang of relievers this early on is not something you want to see if you’re a fan pulling for the tribe The main reason the Indians reached the World Series last year was because of their bullpen. Bullpens are the backbones of teams and if every time you call down to get a reliever you start to shake in your boots you should probably try and fix something.
It is early on in the season and as the year goes by, managers decide which pitchers they trust or distrust. Relief pitchers get shuffled through like a deck of cards. Either coming up from the minors, getting picked up off waivers, getting acquired via trade, or being signed as a free agent mid-season. Still its the sooner the better for teams figuring out the pen. The two teams that met in the World Series last year both had top ten bullpen ERA’s and the year before that that the Mets and Royals both had pens with ERA’s under 3.50.
People say “defense wins championships” but when it comes to the baseball diamond I think the slogan should be changed to “bullpens win championships”. As I already said, I know it is still early but based on recent memory if you have a good bullpen you have a good shot to get a trophy so if any team out their wants a chance, they should get their ass in gear.