Tampa Bay Rays – Extra Innings Advantage – The Bullpen
As we recently noted in an article supporting ESPN’s Buster Olney’s assertion that the Rays are his World Series favorites, I pulled out my calculator and did some math to highlight how dominant the Rays’ bullpen was last season.
The other 29 major-league teams had an average of 603.23 relief innings used per team.
The Rays led the league with 772 relief innings. 28% more than average of the rest of the league.
Only two other teams even crossed the 700-inning threshold, the Angels (761.2), and the Blue Jays (729).
The other 29 teams’ relievers posted an ERA of 4.34.
The Rays’ bullpen led all of baseball with a 3.71 ERA, despite pitching 28% more innings than the average of the 29 other major-league clubs.
2020 Upgrades: Last season, the Rays only got 21.1 of Nick Anderson’s 65 incredible innings. Jose Alvarado was dealing with some issues that appear to be in the rearview mirror. As crazy as it sounds, the Rays’ relief group has a chance at being even better than last season’s.
That’s a very impressive statement considering how dominant they were last season. Fangraphs shows the Rays led all of baseball with 7.7 reliever WAR, finished second in FIP by .02 points, first in ERA, fourth in BB/9 with 3.05, and seventh in HR/9 with 1.18.
Perhaps my favorite stat shows how outside the box the Rays were last season and perhaps gives them a leg up in this 2020 season. The average major league club earned an average of just under 32 wins from their bullpens in 2019.
The Rays earned a whopping 56 wins from their relievers.
The elite bullpen makes the team more likely to shut other teams down despite starting the inning with a runner on second no outs.