A Dominant Bullpen Will Go a Long Ways for Cardinals in 2016

From the long relief guys to the closer, the St. Louis Cardinals are stacked in the bullpen. Already finishing with one of the best ‘pens in baseball in 2015, General Manager John Mozeliak has only added players to the mix and taken steps to solidify the back end over the offseason.

Mozeliak added to the bullpen by signing Korean reliever Seung-hwan Oh. Oh, who is still yet to pitch in an MLB regular season game, has looked great so far in Spring Training. In 6 and 2/3 innings thus far in the Grapefruit League, Oh has posted a 1.35 ERA with three strikeouts and only three hits allowed.

Minus one bad outing vs. the Detroit Tigers, Oh has literally been perfect on the mound. Oh has pitched the third-most innings in Cardinals camp thus far, only behind closer Trevor Rosenthal and Jonathan Broxton, as Mike Matheny has wanted to get Cardinals catchers familiar with Oh’s style and delivery.

As Benjamin Hochman described earlier this March, Oh is truly a “maestro” on the mound. When Oh is pitching, Matheny called his delivery like, “a dance with the catcher,” because Oh likes to move all of his pitches from corner to corner. I won’t elaborate on Oh much further, but Cardinals fans should definitely be excited to watch this man do his job in Busch Stadium this season.

The other key move that Mozeliak made this offseason was re-signing setup man Jonathan Broxton. Broxton, a veteran relief pitcher who used to close in the MLB, was a reliable set-up man for the Cardinals after they traded for him at the deadline. Now, Broxton looks to continue his reliability on the mound by holding games for Rosenthal. In Spring Training, Broxton has a 2.25 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, and four strikeouts in 8.0 innings pitched.

Then, there’s Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal. Coming off a 2015 season that had him in the top of almost all statistical rankings for closers, Rosenthal looks to continue his dominance this season. In 2015, Rosenthal notched 48 saves out of 51 save opportunities, while lowering his ERA from 3.20 to 2.10. Rosenthal also dropped his WHIP down from 1.41 to 1.27 and dropped his walks allowed from 42 to 25. These numbers made Rosenthal a National League All-Star and 2nd in the NL in saves.

Other main pieces of the bullpen, Jordan Walden, Kevin Siegrist, and Seth Maness, will be key factors at the end of games in 2016. Siegrist, Walden, and Maness have all worked to improve in Spring Training so far, but they have not had quite the same success as Broxton and Oh. Siegrist is the most proven of the three, and I expect at least two of these guys to have solid seasons for the Cardinals.

All in all, the Cardinals should once again have one of the top bullpens in the MLB, securing wins for an already stellar starting rotation. Keep it with Cardsblog.com for Reason #10 to get PUMPED for Opening Day tomorrow morning.