The bullpen for the Miami Marlins had a few good pieces but also a few question marks heading into 2013. After a disastrous 2012 (due in large part to continually sending out the corpse of Heath Bell) the Marlins were looking for a rebound performance from the pen. Miami chose to switch the home and visitor bullpen this season, effectively moving the Marlin bullpen further away from The Clevelander in left field. Other than less dancing, I don’t really believe that was a contributing factor. This group of players seemed to show more determination and fight than last year. Today we will spotlight Mike Dunn and Chad Qualls.
Qualls, a lifetime reliever, joined the Marlins this season as the 8th team that he has played for in MLB. The 34 year-old journey-man, turned back the clock this year with his performance and didn’t play badly. Qualls seemed to hit a wall in 2010 and had started to see many of his statistics start to fall considerably. This year he returned those numbers closer to his career averages, which was really all we could hope for out of a reliever of his tenure.
Qualls finished with a 5-2 record and a 2.61 ERA to go along with a WHIP of 1.226. He threw 62 innings and averaged 7.1 K/9IP. His WAR was the higest it has been since he played with the Houston Astros in 2007, finishing with a 1.8.
I must admit, I was a little surprised to see Qualls numbers this good. Watching games during the season, I usually groaned when I saw the big fellow trotting in from the bullpen. Other than Lieutenant Dan Jennings, I had the least amount of faith in Qualls. That being said, his numbers have acquitted him nicely and for that, he earns his grade.
Dunn, a lefty specialist, came over in the trade that sent Dan Uggla to Atlanta (snickering). Dunn was as solid as ever with a 3-4 record, 2.66 ERA and 1.197 WHIP. The two important aspects of Dunn’s job are to get lefty’s out, and keep games close in the late innings. Left-handed hitters only batted .192 against him on the year, and opponents only scored 18 runs in 201 plate appearances when games were close late.
I was a bit surprised that the Marlins did not move Dunn prior to the trading deadline, but his contract is currently very team friendly. He is consistent and an above average pitcher in pressure situations. Baseball-Reference graded his WAR out to a 1.6 on the year. He is an asset to the bullpen, and I was definitely happy with his performance for the season.
Since we have 3 separate posts grading the Marlins bullpen, we will wait till the last one to give the overall bullpen grade. In the meantime, How well do you think Dunn and Qualls did on the year? Let us know in the comments below.