clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Shaping the 2006 Bullpen

Who's in, who's out, and what are each pitcher's chances.

Definitely in the pen:

Chris Reitsma is back from the WBC and pitching well. He now begins his quest in earnest to become the Braves' closer.
Oscar Villarreal has not pitched since the Chipper homer for Team Mexico, but should be fine to start the season. It doesn't hurt that he's taking it easy, after his workload his rookie year he will not be pushed to pitch if he is not ready. Hard to believe, but he is probably the number 2 guy in the pen.
Joey Devine is bringin' it this spring with 14 strikeouts in 7 innings - that's in the Wagner-Lidge category. After his much publicized struggles with the granny at the end of last season, he seems to be firing on all cylinders this year. Look for him to get better as he collects more experience, and a la Huston Street last season, he may take over the stoppers role by May.
Macay McBride has been slowed by some aches and pains a bit this spring, but that has not hurt his chances of making the club. He will be the top lefty in the pen, and may be used to get out more than just left-handers.

On the bubble:

Lance Cormier was the other reliever that came over from Arizona in exchange for Estrada. Many Braves fans poo-pooed that trade and scoffed at why we would be acquiring such a below average bullpenner. But Cormier has been one of the more effective relievers this spring, and has not yet allowed an earned run or given up a walk. He looks like a strong candidate to make the club.
Blaine Boyer was considered by most to be an automatic for the pen, but he has yet to pitch this spring after a slow recovery from a shoulder strain that kept him out of the playoffs last year. Now he must prove that he is healthy and still effective.
John Foster is not having the best spring, but most of the people that follow the Braves insist that he will be on the club with the team breaks camp as the second lefty out of the pen. I'm of the opinion that he needs to have some productive outings before he gets the official nod. Update: He's got shoulder inflamation and it might be more. He seems to be leaning towards having Tommy John Surgury, and would therefore be out all season.

Fighting an uphill battle:

Anthony Lerew was considered virtually a lock for the pen before the spring games started, but since that time he has been getting hit with regularity as he battles control problems.
Wes Obermueller is looking more and more like the guy we traded away to get him. He had a good start to the spring, but things have gone southward fast, and he must turn it around quick to be considered for the pen.
Chad Paronto is not being given much of a chance by the odds makers, but he's got some quality pitches and he's a big man with some power behind him, he could be a real contender if he puts together a couple more good outings.
Kevin Barry is making the most of his chances and is having an above average spring. He doesn't blow your socks off, but he's solid and might slip into a bullpen spot if others falter.
Brad Baker is someone who was supposed to have closer's stuff, but it certainly has not appeared this spring. He's been knocked around every time out, and is running out of opportunities.

Long Shots:

Jose Ascanio had a bad start to the spring, but he's come around lately and might be back in the mix.
Paul Bush is a pitcher that may have benefited the most from the thin rosters caused by the WBC. He's worked in a couple of games and has done a good job of working through jams. He's most likely still a year or two away, though.
Mike Remlinger is proving this spring that he doesn't have much left in the tank.

I'll check in each week with an update on whose chances of making the team are getting better and whose are getting worse.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Battery Power Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Atlanta Braves news from Battery Power