2014 Rewind – The Mighty, Mighty Bullpen
There were plenty of highlights from the 2014 season, and you can read all about them in the Season in Review. One of the more amazing storylines of the season was the dominating performance from the bullpen. Consider the following for just one second:
- MLB Leaders – The bullpen lead the Majors with a 2.59 ERA (144 ER, 500.0 IP), well ahead of the 2nd-best mark of 2.73 by San Diego and the next best AL team Oakland at 2.91.
- High Marks – The 2.59 ERA marked the 6th-lowest by an American League bullpen during the designated hitter era (since 1973), and the 2nd-lowest mark dating back to 1990 (2.55 ERA by KC in 2013).
- Lots of Appearances – Set an American League record with 7 different pitchers making at least 50 relief appearances, tying the MLB record set by the 2002 Atlanta Braves.
- Low Average – Led the American League and ranked 2nd in MLB with .219 opponent batting average.
- Saves Leader – Fernando Rodney led the Majors and set a club record with 48 saves.
All those statistics are pretty amazing by as a standalone, but when you look at the improvement from 2013 to 2014, you really start to see how important the bullpen was to the Mariners success and 87-75 record. In 2013, the Mariners ranked 29th in the Majors with a 4.58 ERA. With help from the Elias Sports Bureau we’ve found that the 1.99 ERA improvement from 2013 to 2014 is the 4th-best over the last 20 seasons (1995-2014):
Improvement Year ERA Year ERA Team 2.61 2008 3.55 2007 6.16 Tampa Bay Rays 2.10 2005 2.80 2004 4.90 Cleveland Indians 2.03 2011 3.71 2010 5.74 Arizona Diamondbacks 1.99 2014 2.59 2013 4.58 Seattle Mariners 1.89 1995 2.71 1994 4.60 St. Louis Cardinals
You can read all about the bullpen and their different personalities in this piece by beat writer Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. And the following illustrations that ran in the Times are pretty awesome as well.