In today’s era of specialization, an elite bullpen is a necessity for a contending club. What teams currently have the top ten Major League bullpens?
The Kansas City Royals embraced the notion that an elite bullpen would help them compete in the American League Central, and the best trio in MLB history helped reward the front office with the AL pennant and nearly a World Series title last season. After the first two weeks of the season, there’s even a chance this year’s group could be even better.
Starting pitchers get most of the attention and a top notch closer can elevate the overall effectiveness of a pitching staff, but Major League Baseball teams rely heavily on the five or six guys that handle the sixth, seventh and eighth innings over the course of the 162 game season, especially in today’s era of specialization.
When looking at the best bullpens in Major League Baseball today, there are many to choose from. But few have proven as dominant as last year’s (or this year’s) Royals.
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On paper, the San Diego Padres look like a top ten Major League bullpen, especially after the addition of superstar closer Craig Kimbrel, but the Pads’ 3.21 bullpen ERA ranks 12th in the big leagues and the .231 opponents batting average is 14th and slightly above the MLB average of .226.
Another close call is the Chicago Cubs, who have a 3.53 ERA and .218 BAA in 43.1 innings of work, as well as the Detroit Tigers, who rank tenth with a .216 opponents batting average and 14th in ERA (3.41). The best news for the Tigers is they’ve only had to use their pen for just 31.2 innings to date, the fewest in the Majors.
So, if those early contenders missed the cut, what ten Major League bullpens are the best right now? Let’s take a look.
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