The league’s best bullpen
Barring any injuries, this bullpen will be the best bullpen in the league. Last season, the Cardinals had a bullpen that had a couple good options in Kevin Siegrist and Trevor Rosenthal, but aside from those two the bullpen was rather average and at times bad. Seth Maness struggled with a .345 BABIP that saw his ERA rise up to 4.26.
Randy Choate was Randy Choate and often misused, as he had a 3.95 ERA through 71 appearances. Carlos Villanueva was a bright spot, as he had a career low ERA at 2.95, but the Cardinals smartly decided not to bring him back, as he had a below average FIP at 3.74 and a xFIP of 4.06.
The Cardinals brought in Jonathan Broxton and Steve Cishek around the deadline, hoping that they would be effective back end options and neither were very impressive. Surprisingly, Broxton was brought back, as he was signed for this year and next and will be a mainstay in the middle of the bullpen this season.
However, this season the ‘pen will be one of the best. Not only will Rosenthal and Siegrist be back this season, but they will have help. The Cardinals brought in Seung-hwan Oh from Korea, who has been a dominant closer in Asia for years, so much so he earned the nickname “The Final Boss”.
The kicker in all of this is Tyler Lyons, who pitched 18.1 innings out of the ‘pen last year, totaling an ERA of 2.95. While he is not a good option as a starter, he will be effective out of the bullpen. With the Cardinals’ rotation as effective as it is, there won’t be too many instances where they need him as a long reliever, but the Cardinals will have that option.
They will also be able to use him against righties and lefties successfully out of the bullpen allowing for him to pitch multiple innings if needed. He will be a fixture of strength, much in the way that Villanueva was for the Cards last season.
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