Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bullpen Uniform Numbers

This is totally pointless but I've always had a sort of admiration for baseball players wearing high numbers. Unlike football, where high numbers are expected, baseball players generally go no higher than the fifties. Sure, there's exceptions like So Taguchi (#99) and Joe Beimel (#97), but usually high numbers are reserved for fringe guys on the 40-man roster and spring training flunkies. Whether they are career minor leaguers, guys wearing a number in tribute, or guys who like gimmicks, I enjoy seeing a number in the 70's, 80's or 90's. The place you usually see higher numbers is off the field of play, in the bullpen. With that in mind, I decided to look at the uniform numbers of players currently in MLB bullpens (with the aid of Yahoo! Sports' MLB rosters and's lists of probable pitchers) to see which teams had the highest and lowest average uniform number for a reliever.

Here's the list in its entirety, sorted from highest to lowest:
  1. Milwaukee Brewers, 50.1
  2. Cleveland Indians, 49.8
  3. Detroit Tigers, 49.7
  4. Chicago White Sox, 49.6
  5. Los Angeles Angels, 49.5
  6. Houston Astros, 49.3
  7. Chicago Cubs, 49.1
  8. Los Angeles Dodgers, 48.7
  9. Atlanta Braves, 48.5
  10. Boston Red Sox, 47.4
  11. Florida Marlins, 46.0
  12. Philadelphia Phillies, 45.6
  13. Kansas City Royals, 45.6
  14. Cincinnati Reds, 45.1
  15. Washington Nationals, 44.7
  16. Arizona Diamonbacks, 44.4
  17. Texas Rangers, 44.3
  18. Oakland Athletics, 43.7
  19. San Francisco Giants, 43.4
  20. New York Yankees, 43.1
  21. Colorado Rockies, 41.7
  22. Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 41.6
  23. Minnesota Twins, 41.4
  24. Toronto Blue Jays, 41.0
  25. San Diego Padres, 39.4
  26. Seattle Mariners, 39.3
  27. New York Mets, 37.7
  28. Baltimore Orioles, 37.7
  29. Pittsburgh Pirates, 37.0
  30. St. Louis Cardinals, 34.4
Obviously those numbers change with every roster move and some may change soon. For example, the Phillies will likely dump one of their eight relievers to make room for Adam Eaton and the Brewers will do the same to make room for Ben Sheets. With that in mind, here's the guys making up the highest and lowest averages:

Milwaukee Brewers:
  • Matt Wise, #38
  • Chris Capuano, #39 (recently removed from rotation)
  • Manny Parra, #43
  • Francisco Cordero, #48
  • Brian Shouse #51
  • Seth McClung, #52
  • Derrick Turnbow, #59
  • Scott Linebrink, #71
St. Louis Cardinals:
  • Tyler Johnson, #19
  • Ryan Franklin, #31
  • Randy Flores, #34
  • Russ Springer, #36
  • Todd Wellemeyer, #37
  • Troy Percival, #40
  • Jason Isringhausen, #44
Wellemeyer just came back from an injury to replace #48, Brad Thompson, knocking the team's average down from 36.0 even further. To lose their spot atop the board, the Brewers would have to send down Derrick Turnbow or DFA Scott Linebrink when Ben Sheets is activated. In other words, another team will have to take the title from them.

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