Chicago Cubs: Pitching could be this team’s biggest strength in 2018
Bullpen rankings also loaded with Cubs
Figure 9: Relief Pitcher Comparison – with Names
Well, once again the net results may be somewhat unexpected. There isn’t much debating that Milwaukee’s Hader is, in both performance-to-date and raw stuff, right where he should be on the list.
Brett Cecil is a long time effective reliever so his presence at the top isn’t surprising either. But to have the next five on the list be Cubs is something I wouldn’t have expected. In fact, the Cubs are the only team to have more than three players ranked in the top 12 (they have five such players). It’s hard, then, not to anoint this unit the best in the division as well. Even if it will draw the ire of those who are firmly aboard the Brewer-train or reside in Cardinal Nation.
Related Story: A statistical analysis of the National League Central
Since it is nearly impossible to effectively estimate how many games each reliever will pitch, creating a team total for reliever’s WAR would be wasted motion and wouldn’t tell a particularly compelling story. Back-of-the-napkin math will further reinforce that Chicago has the edge here, at least until St. Louis signs Greg Holland to close and adds Gregerson to their general bullpen population.