If we are looking at the improvements / changes Dipoto has made to the bullpen spaghetti mix for flame throwers, we should also mention that Pazos hits 98 MPH and based on Dipoto comments, Miranda is expected to be at least 95 MPH out of the pen... but maybe lefties don't count.
In Greg Johns' latest mailbox, he gives the following three pitchers as candidates for setup work behind Edwin Diaz:
2) Tony Zych, who should be healthy sez Johns (?!) :: crowd goes wild :: (SSI LINK)
3) Shae Simmons (NO SSI LINK AS YOU NO DOUBT HAVE PAINFULLY RUED ALL WEEK)
That's after you talk about the two highly-paid guys, of course, Cishek and Rzepczynski. Never mind. Jerry Dipoto advertises Simmons as "sitting 96-100 with a wipeout slider" which, by a strange coincidence, is an exact match for the perp descriptions on Altavilla, Zych and the closer. As Johns phrases it,
Altavilla was impressive after his late-season promotion (0.73 ERA in 15 appearances) and certainly will be in the late-inning picture, along with new lefty specialist Marc Rzepczynski. Tony Zych should be healthy again this spring as well and Dipoto just traded for another right-handed power arm in Shae Simmons from Atlanta. Vieira is another young flamethrower, but he was in High Class A Bakersfield last year and will likely open in Double-A this season, looking to continue harnessing his 100-mph heat.
This burlap-py 98 MPH bullpen cloth is striking because --- > last year's Opening Day bullpen consisted of Joel Peralta and seven other guys exactly like him: cheap, meh, and possessed of sage pitching wisdom. At the time, Dr. D was mildly happy because --- > it was a bullpen of sabermetric (K/BB) relievers as opposed to Jack Zduriencik (97 MPH, 4 BB) relievers. At the time, Dr. D was also mildly amused because --- > most sports decision-makers tend to justify their own past careers with a bias towards pitchers and players who resemble THEM, and Jerry Dipoto did not exactly throw 102 MPH.
So it's provocative to realize that in 2016, Jerry Dipoto was establishing certain good things in a type of Phase I "let's get MLB(TM) stamped on this org's forehead" approach, and now this winter he is moving on to acquire players in his own STYLISTIC tastes. Recall that the Angels were never shy about hard-throwing relievers...
The same is true with the outfield. Last year's guys, Seth Smith and Nori Aoki and Adam Lind, washed out the uncoachable 2015 taste with a nucleus of Control the Zone ballplayers. Having well-and-truly established a culture of coachability, here come the speedy outfielders that Dipoto would have preferred if the speedy outfielders hadn't been Brad Miller and Michael Saunders.
Or, it's a pleasant thought at least ;- )
=== UND TAKE ZIS MIT YOU, Dept. ===
Also in that mailbag, Johns proposes Jarrod Dyson as leadoff with Jean Segura to hit #2, because --- > this would mean fastballs with Segura at the plate. (Assuming Dyson can get on base.) Dr. D does not bother much about lineup sequences, but THIS PARTICULAR lineup idea is one that has traction. Stolen base threats -- not 1B-to-3B guys, but actual SB threats -- right in front of fastball hitters.
Jean Segura last year had a +1.30 runs count on fastballs thrown, and Robinson Cano (who would have Dyson and Segura in front of him) has had big fastball numbers for eight straight years. It's a game-within-a-game that I would enjoy, Big Lead At First Here Comes a Fastball. Synergy baby.
I actually quite like the bullpen. Scribner and Vincent are both useful, high-K guys also. Scribner especially.
I actually think the only weak part of the whole team, if you concede up front that the outfield isn't going to hit for power, is the rotation, and that could be fine if Felix comes back to say, 80 percent, of his career norms, which I think is doable, and Kuma stays healthy, which is ifier.
lauding the Astros' bullpen last year.
Anyone want to compare their pen this year to ours?
Also entirely agree on Scribner. He's the bullpen twin of Smyly. Cut down on the HR/FB ratio...and the sky's the limit.
Scribner isn't as much as Nick Vincent is (Scribner actually doesn't do much of a job generating IFFB, 8.3% career, Vincent is 11.8% with a higher Flyball tendency). In fact the Mariners bullpen includes a lot of factoid type relievers this season. Evan Scribner allows a lot of home runs while running a K to BB ratio similar to Aroldis Chapman, Nick Vincent's 90 mph fastball is nigh-unhittable...similar to Aroldis Chapman's, and Casey Fien has weird movement on his pitches (in fact his fastball spin is similar to Aroldis Chapman...is Jerry Dipoto trying to manufacture a Frankenstein's monster version of Aroldis Chapman out of 3 relievers?), and Marc Rzepczynski doesn't have a fangraphs article, but he is #22/213 relievers with 150 innings since 2011 in lowest percentage of hard contact (23.7%), and #7 in GB% (62.6%) in the same span. Basically everyone else besides Cishek throws 96+ after that, if nothing else, Jerry has assembled an interesting bullpen.