Just imagine though if we could’ve had Wickman all season.
Indeed! In an overly optimistic analysis, let’s say he doesn’t blow any saves this season. The Braves have blown 22 saves this season, tied with Kansas City for the worst in baseball.
So instead of 52-61, they would be 74-39. Which is good for the 2nd best record in baseball behind the Tigers and 5 to 6 games ahead of the the Mets.
More realistically, they’d probably be around 65-48 if Wickman made that much of a difference. But the bullpen has simply killed us.
So I actually did some research, and this is what I came up with. Essentially, 12 of the bullpen’s 22 blown saves went on to be losses. So assuming those all became wins, the Bravos would be 64-49. A more realistic scenario with the Braves still not winning a few of those still puts them well in the wild card hunt and within striking distance of the Mets.
Also, as Rob Neyer pointed out today (Insider subscription required), the Braves are doing a lot worse than one could expect them to, given the runs they’ve scored. (Like him, I will decline to lay blame solely on Jeff Francouer’s mighty .282 OBP.) They’ve scored 583 runs and allowed 574, which comes out to around 57-55, which is a much better position than 52-61. This 5 game disparity is mostly a function of luck, but nevertheless it seems to me that a better bullpen would’ve made up for some of that.