San Diego Padres Have Some of the Best Relievers in the League

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DENVER, CO - APRIL 24: Pitcher Adam Cimber #90 of the San Diego Padres throws in the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on April 24, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - APRIL 24: Pitcher Adam Cimber #90 of the San Diego Padres throws in the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on April 24, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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The San Diego Padres knew they had some gems within their relief corps. What they didn’t expect were the outstanding contributions they’ve got from a few others.

As a group, the San Diego Padres’ relievers were ranked sixth in the National League in earned-run average with a 3.44 mark going into Wednesday’s games.

Though they’ve fallen a bit since hovering around the top of the league for the first month of the season, the bullpen has still been a strength.

Their 1.16 WHIP and 133 strikeouts as a group are both good for third-best in the league, and their 46 walks issued are tied with four teams for sixth-least in the NL.

Of course, and it kind of makes all of this even more impressive, is the fact that the Friars’ relievers have pitched more innings (123) than any other National League team. The next closest is the Marlins at 119.2.

San Diego Padres are getting productivity from unexpected places

The guys who were supposed to be leading the pack for a mixed bag of rookies and veterans have been solid. Brad Hand (3.07, 14.2 IP,  21 K, 7 BB), Craig Stammen (3.00, 15 IP, 15 K, 2 BB), and Kirby Yates (1.00, 8.2 IP, 9 K, 2 BB) have all gotten their respective jobs done more often than not.

But the pleasantly surprising trio of Adam Cimber, Robbie Erlin, Jordan Lyles, and Phil Maton have, in this writer’s opinion, been the backbone of this staff.

Cimber, 27 currently leads the league in relief innings pitched with 19.1, owns a 2.33 earned-run average, and has struck out 23 batters while only walking four.

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Erlin, also 27, missed nearly two full seasons recovering from UCL reconstruction surgery in 2016.

He’s come back this season as a reliever and has pitched to a 1.80 ERA with 15 strikeouts and two walks over 15 innings of work.

An advanced look at the Padres’ bullpen

Both pitchers rank in the top-ten of the National League in fielding independent pitching (FIP).

FIP is a way of measuring what a pitcher’s earned-run average would be if they experienced league-average results on balls in play.

Cimber is seventh in the league with a 1.41 FIP and Erlin is ninth with 1.57.

They rank ahead of guys like Archie Bradley, Tony Watson, Jeremy Jeffress, and Robert Gsellman. That’s pretty impressive stuff.

And the fun doesn’t stop there. Phil Maton, another rookie sensation (0.90 ERA, 10 IP, 12 K, 6 BB) ranks 29th in the league with a 2.57 FIP, and Stammen’s also in the top-thirty (26th, actually) with a 2.43 FIP.

Next: Real Stats vs. Projected Stats

Any way you want to slice it, the San Diego Padres’ bullpen seems to be a fortifying piece to this team. If the offense can stay consistently productive and the starters consistently produce quality outings, the Friars could be in good shape.

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