Does Baltimore Orioles Bullpen Still Reigns Supreme in AL East?

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04: Mychal Givens
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04: Mychal Givens /
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3. Boston Red Sox

Relief pitchers: Craig Kimbrel (CL), Tyler Thornburg* (SU), Carson Smith (SU), Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, Heath Hembree, Austin Maddox

In 2017, the Boston Red Sox bullpen produced a 3.15 ERA, second best in MLB.

I’m not sure the Red Sox could have passed the Orioles, but with one of their setup men hurt, and the other having only pitched 9.1 innings in the major leagues in the last two years, it makes it difficult to give them a high ranking.

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Smith threw 70 innings in 2015 for Seattle, and outside of that has less than 20 innings to his major league career. However, he will be one of the setup men for Alex Cora and the Red Sox in 2018.

Tyler Thornburg had shoulder surgery and is unavailable to start the season, another potential concern for the Red Sox.

Barnes, Kelly, and Hembree are three familiar names in the Red Sox bullpen, and each has their ability. Kelly seems to have settled down in the bullpen after all of his starter issues in Boston, pitching in 54 games last season to a 2.79 record.

The 27-year-old Barnes had the best season of his career in 2017 with career-bests including a 3.88 ERA, 83 strikeouts, 1.22 WHIP in 69.2 innings pitched.

Hembree too pitched a career-high 62 innings in 2017 with a respectable 3.63 ERA and 70 strikeouts.