The Year of the Rookie: The Relievers

September 20, 2007 at 11:21 am 8 comments

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Relievers aren’t the “sexiest” of positions to cover but they are highly important to a team’s success (ask the Phillies if they think relief is important). There have been some good rookie relievers this year and most have been in the middle relief role. While there aren’t any dominating “closers” in this group there are some shut down middle men that get holds for teams (which are just as important in my opinion as a save, I’ll have more on that in another article). So now I present you with this year’s crop of rookie relievers:


A good number of these rookies have performed at really high levels, most of them doing it for contenders.

I know one that everybody will scream at me about for leaving off is Yankee’s reliever Joba Chamberlain. First off, he only has 15.1 innings pitched so he can’t be mentioned in this discussion. Secondly, he is going to be a starter. He has been dominant though with 24 K and an ERA of 0.49. Others that missed out because they are starters but are now in relief roles will probably be mentioned in my next installment of the “The Year of the Rookie”.

If I had to pick a “Rookie Reliever of the Year” it would probably go to Rafael Perez of the Indians with Peter Moylan finishing 2nd and Okajima finishing 3rd. If it wasn’t for Okajima giving up homers to Giambi and Cano (both lefties) to blow the game against the Yankees, he would be my #1 option. In 75 at-bats against lefties Rafael Perez has given up 8 hits, only 1 for extra bases, 7 BB, 21 K, no steals, and held them to .107/.179/.147 (AVG/OBP/SLG). That is ridiculous! The great thing is that he gets righties out too, posting a .211/.252/.328 in 128 at-bats against them.

Relievers are big for teams that want to make it to the post season. This shows that teams can rely on young, cheap arms rather than spending ridiculous amounts on free agent relievers (ask Baltimore how that worked out).

-Jonathan C. Mitchell


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

The Year of the Rookie: The Hitters The Year of the Rookie: The Starting Pitchers

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Brittney  |  September 20, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    These are not bad choices….at all,actually haha

    Obviously,I’m gonna go with Peter Moylan lol He’s been awesome all season. I think he would be a great starter,but his delievery would worry me a lot. He has that sidewinding arm,so he tends to hit guys a lot..only 12 this season though haha

  • 2. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  September 20, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    I didn’t realize he hit that many! He is devistating on righties though. He doesn’t have the stamina to be a starter but he is a very good middle reliever. Braves got a good guy here.

  • 3. charlie  |  September 20, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    It depends on the rookie rule. Carlos Marmol only appeared in 19 games last season (13 starts and 70+ innings). I don’t know if met the criteria (I couldn’t find it off hand) to have last season as his rookie year, but I’m guessing with 70 innings it was last year. He’s been pretty much unhittable this season.

    Okajima is totally suffering from the longer American season vs. the Japanese season. He’s going to be totally a top notch left specialist / set up guy in the near future.

    I think it’s Kevin Cameron that actually have given up ZERO home runs this season.

    I’ve seen Moylan on TBS a few time and saw he was effective, but haven’t seen him more than that.

    I actually only saw my first action of Perez on Sportscenter last night. I didn’t know he was doing that well.

    The hard thing about Rookie Relievers is a lot of them are pulled up from the minors to fill in holes for injuries and ineffective guys. The Cubs have had about 6 rookies (that usually started) in the minors rotate in an out of the long relief role all season. Much like how you mentioned Mr. JABBA!! Chamberlain.

    I think Lindstrom is one of those dudes that can bring it about 100 or so, but just needs to work on his command. I think he’ll close someday.

    Haha, I totally agree on the last part. Most successful teams have mostly relievers from within the organization (probably minus a closer). Looking at the Cubs, they’ve paid big money for Bob Howry and Scott Eyre, but here pretty much top notch set up guys (and weren’t really old, much un-like the orioles). They got Dempster after his Tommy John surgery, Carlos Marmol, Will Ohman, Michael Wuertz (came to chitown as a minor leaguer in the Braves organization), and Kerry Wood are all home grown talent.

    They are showing other promise with some of their other youngens pitching with september callups.

  • 4. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  September 20, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    Marmol doesn’t qualify as a rookie. The rule is 50 IP, or 45 days on the active roster of a team during the 25-man restriction (that is, prior to 9/1). But Marmol has been nothing short of spectacular. His breaking ball is devistating!

    I didn’t ralize Cameron hasn’t given up a homer, makes sense in his ballpark. You also hit Lindstrom right on the nose!

    Most of the relievers did start in the minors. Most of the great closers did too (Rivera, Nathan, Wagner…). It allows them the innings to develop secondary pitches. Great way to evaluate pitchers, I love it.

  • 5. Eddie  |  September 20, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    Hey all i got to say is a royal with and ERA under 3 is amazing i like Soria and wouldnt mind him over scott shields right now.. i really like him even though i would say the best is okajima.. i hope i spelled it right.

  • 6. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  September 20, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    You did spell it right!

    I too like Soria, a lot. He has a great arm and at such a young age has shown he can command his pitches pretty well. As a Royal fan you should be really happy about Zack Grienke. He went 8 innings today with ZERO runs allowed and struck out 10 while allowing 2 hits and no walks. He has a 2.54 ERA after the All-Star break and a .233 BAA. Great news for Royals fans.

  • 7. stormypayne19  |  October 18, 2007 at 10:32 pm

    My Rookie of the year reliever has to be Hideki Okajima….. he had to make the transfer from japanese ball to american ball as well as Dice-K but adapted better… look for him to be Bostons best reliever again next year….

  • 8. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  October 19, 2007 at 5:47 am

    Stormy, I agree that Okajima is ahead of Matsuzaka. Okajima was nothing short of phenomenal. He should be good for years.


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