Assistant GM Mike Fitzgerald says D-backs need to build better bullpens

Oct 5, 2022, 9:05 PM | Updated: Oct 6, 2022, 8:40 am

Joe Mantiply, Arizona Diamondbacks reliever...

Joe Mantiply #35 of the Arizona Diamondbacks throws a pitch during the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field on October 03, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Arizona Diamondbacks assistant general manager Mike Fitzgerald emphasized the team’s need to construct better bullpens moving forward.

The way the organization is built moving forward, the next box to check as a front office is converting late leads into victories.

“We had 46 games this year where, fortunately, we were no worse than tied in the sixth inning or later and ended up taking a loss,” Fitzgerald told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke Wednesday. “We left a lot of chips on the table.”

In the sixth inning or later, D-backs relievers posted a 4.85 ERA with a .422 opponent slugging percentage entering Wednesday’s season finale. Only three bullpens had a higher ERA and nobody allowed more slug than D-backs relievers. They also had the worst strikeout rate and the second-worst strikeout-to-walk rate.

The shortcomings of the bullpen didn’t come from a lack of trying on the front office’s part. They went out and acquired veteran right-handers Mark Melancon and Ian Kennedy, who combined for a 2.68 ERA in 2021. However, they’ve combined for a 4.99 ERA this season.

The two also had an 86.7% conversion rate on save chances in 2021 compared to 75.7% this year.

“[Predicting reliever performances is] probably one of the more difficult areas when you’re talking about guys getting 60 innings,” Fitzgerald said. “On a full season, you can see some pretty significant variability from year-to-year.

“But we’ve also got to be honest with ourselves in terms of how we’ve tried to approach solving that problem.”

Since 2018, the year after the D-backs last made the postseason, they are 21st in baseball in bullpen ERA (4.41) and last in FanGraphs’ wins above replacement (0.0). They’re also last in strikeout rate (20.9%) and tied for 26th in opponent batting average (.252).

The Diamondbacks entered play Wednesday 14 games behind the final wild card seed. If they convert even half of those 46 games into wins, this team may have snuck into postseason play.


Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Diamondbacks

Tarik Skubal...

Alex Weiner

Arizona native, Tigers ace Tarik Skubal dices up Diamondbacks

Tigers ace and Arizona native Tarik Skubal threw six shutout innings in his first career start against the Diamondbacks. 

2 hours ago


Arizona Sports Video

Video: Torey Lovullo says Corbin Carroll will find his way out of early season slump

Video: Felisa Cárdenas and Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports Subscribe to the Arizona Sports daily newsletter: Read articles from Arizona Sports: Download the Arizona Sports app: Sign up for texts from Arizona Sports: Listen live to Arizona Sports: Follow the team: ARIZONA SPORTS SOCIAL MEDIA Facebook: X: TikTok: Instagram: ARIZONA SPORTS PODCASTS:

7 hours ago

Javier Baez...

Arizona Sports

Diamondbacks-Tigers preview: Pitching probables, Torkelson returns to the Valley

What to watch for this weekend as the Diamondbacks host the Tigers for three games, including pitching matchups.

7 hours ago

General view of action during the MLB spring training game between the Chicago Cubs and the Los Ang...

Bailey Leasure

Chicago Cubs plan to make upgrades to spring training facility Sloan Park

The city of Mesa and the Chicago Cubs submitted documents for upgrades to Sloan Park, the Cubs' spring training facility.

1 day ago

pitcher Kevin Ginkel...

Alex Weiner

Diamondbacks’ Kevin Ginkel honing in on adjustment to landing platform

Arizona Diamondbacks standout reliever Kevin Ginkel is working on a mechanical issue to get back on track after tough week.

2 days ago

Brandon Pfaadt...

Alex Weiner

Diamondbacks’ Brandon Pfaadt dominates with sweeper in win over Reds

Diamondbacks starter Brandon Pfaadt is on a roll, showing "no-hit stuff" in a gem outing Wednesday against the Reds. 

2 days ago

Assistant GM Mike Fitzgerald says D-backs need to build better bullpens