Evaluating Drew Pomeranz’s Usefulness out of the Bullpen

Much to Red Sox fan’s delight, Pomeranz has recently been removed from the Starting Rotation and placed in the bullpen.

Through 11 starts this year, Drew Pomeranz has failed to throw more than 6 innings. He has also allowed at least 2 Earned Runs in each start. Combine those facts with a 6.31 ERA and a 1-5 record, this move was more than justifiable.

However, it will be interesting to see how Pomeranz adjusts to a full-time bullpen role, one he hasn’t had since 2015 with the Oakland Athletics.

Career Numbers out of the Bullpen

As a reliever, Drew Pomeranz has thrown 67.1 innings while posting a 2.00 ERA, a 0.995 WHIP, and a 3.16 FIP. Although the majority of his relief appearances came back in 2015, those numbers are nothing to scoff at.

Despite the fact that Pomeranz is not be the same pitcher as he was with Oakland, the difference in his numbers as a starter vs. his numbers as a reliever in 2015 were drastic. Through 44.2 IP as a starter in 2015, Pomeranz posted an abysmal 4.63 ERA with a 1.30 WHIP and a 4.19 FIP. Compare that to his numbers as a reliever, and you would say his transition to the bullpen was highly beneficial for both him and his team.

Velocity Splits

Many have cited Pomeranz’s struggles this year as a result of his dip in velocity. While in 2017 Drew’s fastball sat at around 92 MPH on average, his heater is sitting just below 90 mph in 2018. Among qualified relievers in 2018, Pomeranz’s fastball would fall in the bottom 7% of velocity.

Why is this important? Well, take a look at this graph:

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As you can see, there is a slight downward trend when comparing Fastball Velocity to ERA. Among the few relievers whose average fastball sits below 90 MPH, none of them hold an ERA below 3.00. However, it is possible Pomeranz could see a rise in velocity when throwing out of the bullpen.

In his two appearances as a reliever so far, Pomeranz has thrown three innings, allowing three walks, zero runs, and only one hit. Currently serving as the only LHP in Boston’s bullpen, a reemergence of 2015 Drew Pomeranz would be a key piece in bolstering Boston’s problematic ‘pen.

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