Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the Mets bullpen is bad. The pen’s 5.28 ERA is second worst in all of Major League Baseball. They also rank in the lower half of the league in HR/9 and in the lower quarter in K/9.
While Terry Collins deserves his fair share of the blame for his utterly confusing bullpen management, the modern “norms” of bullpen usage deserve to shoulder at least some of the burden.
What norms do I speak of? The closer’s role and the silly idea that is engrained in the minds of most baseball folks that he is to be used only in ninth inning save situations.
There is perhaps nothing more detrimental to the functionality of a bullpen than taking your best reliever and pigeon-holing him into only pitching in a certain inning, regardless of game situation.
Before I go and introduce my solution, here’s a quick introduction to the Leverage Index. The Leverage Index calculates the, well, leverage of the game situation when a reliever is used. The higher the Leverag...