First Pitch: Bullpen Rankings Around Baseball

Fangraphs has continued their series of ranking teams by position, moving to the bullpen on Tuesday. In yesterday’s First Pitch, they had the Pittsburgh Pirates ranked as 23rd in starting rotation strength. We also looked at the position-by-position strengths before that, which the Pirates did poorly in compared to the rest of the league. They had an average ranking of 24th place, with a high of 15th best at second base.

As for the bullpen rankings, you can check out the top 15 teams if you’re interested in them. If not, you can just skip to part two of the top 30 to find the Pirates.

The Pirates rank 21st overall, though that comes with an asterisk. They have a total of 0.9 WAR coming from the bullpen this year, but 1/3rd of that value comes from Keone Kela, who is not with the Pirates right now and there’s no explanation of his absence. He was just placed on the 10-day injured list, so if we do see him, it won’t be soon.

If you take away Kela’s WAR, then the Pirates are tied for 27th place on this list, though they might be able to make up some of that missing WAR with other players getting extra work. It depends on who is taking that work.

* The Pirates and Indians play their third and final exhibition game tonight at PNC Park. The last test before Opening Day on Friday. Derek Holland is the scheduled starter, while Clay Holmes, JT Brubaker, Dovydas Neverauskas, Chris Stratton, Nick Burdi and Nik Turley are all scheduled to pitch in relief. The game will be on tv (7 PM, AT&T SportsNet) and on the radio. We will have a Live Game Discussion up shortly before the start of the game. Come join along.

UPDATE: Today’s game has been changed to 5PM and won’t be televised. The change was made due to the weather

**We will have at least five articles today, including the one you’re currently reading. If any news comes up we will have more. The other scheduled articles for today are as follows:

This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History – Two trades of note, plus six birthdays, including Ryan Vogelsong and George Gibson

Card of the Day – A 1963 Topps card featuring four Pirates sluggers, including one who probably shouldn’t have been on the card

1979 Season Recap – Pirates take on the Atlanta Braves in a doubleheader, looking to extend their winning streak.

Hope everyone has a solid Wednesday. Opening Day is just two days away.

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John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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