The game of baseball has given way to specialization like so many every day things in our lives. And while this has increased our skill and knowledge in certain areas, some others are just tried and true.
A great example is having a bullpen that can shut the door late in games to close out wins or give the offense a chance to win a tie game or come from behind. While there are no 100 percent absolutes in baseball or any sport, what can often makes a good bullpen great is terrific starting pitching.
When a manager knows he knows he has three starting pitchers that can regularly reach the seven or eight innings and two back of the rotation guys that can take their clubs into the sixth or seventh innings, he can build a bullpen with very specific roles and place particular pitchers in situations where they can produce the best results.
1) Chicago Cubs
3) N.Y. Mets
5) San Francisco
6) L.A. Dodgers
If you recall last year’s 10 playoff teams, every single one of these teams were in the postseason. Texas ended up 16th in ERA and Baltimore was 24th and both were quickly dismissed from the playoffs.
This is not to say this will happen every year, because it certainly will not with the ebb and flow of change and various aspects altered over time. Nonetheless, with the end of the Steroid Era and fascination with home runs, there has been a massive crop of pitchers who have tremendous heat on fastballs with movement, along way better than average secondary pitches.
While it is impossible to forecast injuries, when looking at the starting staffs today, we will pull out the Magic 8-ball and go with Top 10 list and hope the god of MLB odds does not take us down. Please note this is in no particular order, just how they popped into my head.
New York Mets
Los Angeles Dodgers
All told, I would expect at least seven of these teams to reach the playoffs as long as the pitchers starting the year are around for the majority of the year for their respective teams.
As anyone knows, making MLB picks in March is an inexact science, nevertheless, if you are making bets on futures wagers for division or league titles and the World Series, having an fully armed staff places the odds more in your favor.
Doug Upstone wrote this for www.sportsbookreview.com