Washington Nationals: Ranking The Bullpens In The NL East
By Ricky Keeler
If there’s one stat that stood out about the Braves bullpen, it’s that they issued a lot of walks. Their 256 walks ended up being the fourth most in the National League and the most of any NL East team.
Arodys Vizcaino was the closer heading into last season, but that job now belongs to 33-year-old right-hander Jim Johnson. Johnson isn’t the closer that he was when he had back-to-back 50+ saves in 2011 and 2012. However, he was 18-for-19 in save chances in the second half last season.
As for Vizcaino, he only pitched in 43 games in 2016, but his 50 strikeouts were third on the team. Plus, he has an average velocity of over 97 miles per hour (according to Fangraphs), so he can bring the fastball to the mound. The only question is his health, since he hasn’t appeared in more than 43 games in a season.
If there’s a name that Nats fans might recognize in this bullpen, it’s Ian Krol. The former Nats left-hander from 2013 did have some crazy splits last season (.323 batting average against on the road compared to .226 at home). But, in 63 appearances last season, he did have almost ten strikeouts per nine innings.
With the veteran starters the Braves brought in this offseason, it may take some pressure off of their bullpen in 2017. In 2016, they threw the fourth most innings of any bullpen in the NL. If Vizcaino can stay healthy, the Braves could have a good late-inning duo that can help them preserve more wins.