On June 10th, I find myself increasingly frustrated with my inability to select harmless middle relievers in 2008. That is difficult to admit as I have spent years grabbing relievers right before they become the closer. As the first step in trying to dispel my belief that projecting middle relief efforts are essentially random, I decided to take a look at the worst BABIPs for relievers who have thrown 15 or more relief innings this season without making any starts.
From this list of especially unlucky BABIP relievers, I see some familar, crooked-number-runs-and-hits-and-walks-allowing members of my pitching staffs - Rafael Betancourt (.400), Jason Grilli (.385), Jamie Walker (.404), Aaron Heilman (.341), and Russ Ohlendorf (.333). Those are four relievers who are in, or were in, the AL and on my team. Missing is Mariner's Left-handed BABIP nightmare Eric O'Flaherty who managed a .483 BABIP in just under seven innings of work. This seems to help explain the disaster that my AL-Only staff has suffered.
My NL-Only is a little harder to pinpoint though. Heilman did a lot of extra damage because I have Johan Santana and Oliver Perez which gave Heilman extra leverage to damage my team when he allowed their inherited runners to score. Despite that, the BABIPs of Manny Acosta (.277), Justin Miller (.314), Oscar Villareal (.233) don't really provide the comfort of blaming bad luck that the AL does.