Discussion

Ten relievers off to great starts

Updated: April 27, 2012, 11:35 AM ET
By Buster Olney

Bullpen holes have been popping up like spring dandelions all over the baseball landscape. The Kansas City Royals lost their two most important relievers, the Washington Nationals lost closer Drew Storen, the Baltimore Orioles' closer is in the hospital, and the Boston Red Sox's closer got hurt and their Plan B was sent to the minor leagues.

But most general managers are reluctant to rush to make a trade for a reliever, because the performance of bullpen guys is so volatile. Tyler Clippard was almost unbeatable last year, for example, winning all three decisions he had and posting a 1.83 ERA -- and this year he's off to a slow start. On Thursday, he blew a late-inning lead.

Other relievers, on the other hand, are off to great starts:

1. Luis Perez, Toronto Blue Jays: He's thrown 12 2/3 scoreless innings, with 14 strikeouts and five walks. "He throws 93-95 mph, and his breaking ball has gotten better," said a rival AL executive. "He could be a starting pitcher, but to me, he's as good a left-handed reliever as there is in the American League right now."

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