MLB Bullpen System surging: We're going streaking!

May 29, 2023 04:30 PM

If you’ve seen the movie Old School, you surely recognize the opening portion of the article title I’ve chosen for this week’s MLB Bullpen Systems update. The line “we’re going streaking” is a hilarious offering from Frank Ricard (actor Will Ferrell) in that movie in which he proudly proclaims in a drunken state that he and a bunch of others were stripping down and running through the campus town in which the movie is set. He claims that “everyone is doing it.” Unfortunately for him, he was all by himself in the endeavor. In any case, I saw the movie again at a point last week, and it immediately reminded me of my surging MLB Bullpen System showing how well teams with better bullpens were doing in stopping losing streaks. I’ve been stressing this angle for the last month or so in my weekly articles, and I got to thinking, like Frank the Tank, I hope everyone’s doing it—riding this powerful system.

>>Steve Makinen's Daily MLB Bullpen Ratings

After a huge week for both the two-game and three-game losing streak options, here is the latest update regarding the system I am referring to. The best part about this angle, as well as the others described below, is that all you need is VSiN subscriber access to the Makinen Daily Ratings page on’s MLB offering.


Better bullpen teams thwart losing streaks

-  I have discovered that backing better bullpen teams on losing streaks has proven fruitful. After a phenomenal week, updating the results when on 2-game losing streaks, the teams with better bullpen ratings in a matchup have gone 83-50 for +21.73 units. Better bullpen teams on 3+ game losing streaks have gone 46-10 for +36.06 units, including 7-1 last week! The R.O.I. on that magnificent system is 64.4%!

Here are updates to the other strong MLB betting systems I have been tracking using my daily updated bullpen power ratings:

Better bullpen but overpriced 

-  Highly-priced better bullpen teams were 10-4 this past seven days and won +1.35 units. In games this season through Sunday 5/28 in which the team with the Steve Makinen better-rated bullpen was listed as a favorite of -190 or more, that team is now 94-46, but for -8.39 units. I have noticed something the last two weeks, and it goes against the Oakland A’s, and the wretched season they are enduring. At this point, there is no sense in ever backing this team, regardless of the attractiveness of the underdog pricing. This Oakland team is beyond the depths of bad that we have witnessed lately in baseball. In fact, if you take the A’s losses out of this overpriced angle since April 10th, as they haven’t had an SM bullpen edge since then in any game, the record of this system changes to 69-43 for 27.82 units!

Overpriced better bullpen without a big starting pitcher edge

-  Combining starting pitcher differences in looking at these games with -190 favorites or higher, there has been an even better opportunity to avoid games. Specifically, when the starting pitcher difference between the better Steve Makinen rated bullpen team is less than 20, these big favorites have gone just 15-27 for -45.6 units! This angle was 0-1 last week for +1 units as just one starting pitcher of -190 or higher was listed in games. Obviously, this situation is becoming more and more rare. In my opinion, there has to be a massive starting pitcher strength difference between the teams to even consider paying these prices. The R.O.I. on this has been -109%.

Better bullpen underdog teams remain solid

-  An easily more frequent and profitable system arises when the team with the better SM Bullpen Ratings plays as an underdog. Money line underdog teams with better bullpen ratings enjoyed another solid week, going 21-20 for +5.1 units. For the season, these gems are now 122-113 for +44.33 units, an R.O.I. of 18.9%! This is a very simple angle that can easily be determined daily using the Makinen Daily Ratings page on

The systems continue to maintain their profitability with some week-to-week wavering as one would expect. I stand firmly in my belief that these are foundational systems and allow bettors to turn profits without investing in every game. From my standpoint, I am never comfortable paying very high prices for any single baseball game in a regular season, and solid underdogs with good bullpens are always of great value. Likewise, teams with good bullpens don’t tend to get stuck in lengthy losing skids.

As a reminder of the methodology behind my bullpen systems, over the course of the last 5+ years while with VSiN, I’ve employed a generic system of tracking the results of teams that have a bullpen rating edge on my scale. I offer updated team bullpen ranking on the daily matchups page on, and I track the results. It’s done consistently well long term, producing profits each season in that span. However, I’ve always felt it was something I could improve on by narrowing the scope of what should actually be wagered. I’ve done that by breaking down the bullpen edges by line ranges and other various game situations. I will detail those shortly.

I started this year’s coverage by just tracking the general bullpen system, which took into account the overall record for backing the better bullpen-rated team in every game on the schedule. It was again slightly negative last week, going 49-46 for -6.8 units. These were the results by day:

Monday 5/22: 6-6, -2.56 units

Tuesday 5/23: 7-7, -1.27 units

Wednesday 5/24: 5-9, -5.88 units

Thursday 5/25: 5-5, -0.62 units

Friday 5/26: 7-8, -2.2 units

Saturday 5/27: 10-5, +3.13 units

Sunday 5/28: 9-6, +2.6 units

Adding these numbers to the overall season records of this methodology, we are now at 437-341 for +2 units. The full-season profit and R.O.I. numbers are much lower than they have been for the past five seasons, but still in the black, and there is plenty of season left to build the profits back up.

Now, let’s take an updated look at some of the key bullpen stats that have been accumulated so far this season, as well as my current Bullpen Power Ratings as we head into this week’s games. Note, ratings were as of games through Sunday, May 28th and I do update them on a daily basis.

Key Bullpen Stats (through games of May 28th)

Top 5 Bullpen ERAs

  1. New York Yankees: 2.99
  2. Baltimore: 3.07
  3. Houston: 3.1
  4. Cleveland: 3.12
  5. Seattle: 3.16

Worst 5 Bullpen ERAs

  1. Oakland: 6.5
  2. Chicago White Sox: 5.17
  3. Kansas City: 4.86
  4. Texas: 4.75
  5. Chicago Cubs: 4.65

Top 5 Bullpen WHIPs

  1. Houston: 1.16
  2. Cleveland: 1.16
  3. San Diego: 1.18
  4. Detroit: 1.2
  5. NY Yankees: 1.22

Worst 5 Bullpen WHIPs

  1. Oakland: 1.66
  2. Kansas City: 1.5
  3. Chi White Sox: 1.48
  4. Colorado: 1.47
  5. Washington: 1.4

Top 5 Bullpen Ks/9 innings

  1. Houston: 10.7
  2. Baltimore: 10.49
  3. Toronto: 10.46
  4. Kansas City: 10.46
  5. Seattle: 10.18

Worst 5 Bullpen Ks/9 innings

  1. Tampa Bay: 7.14
  2. Washington: 7.56
  3. Boston: 7.64
  4. Oakland: 7.91
  5. Detroit: 8.24

Top 5 Bullpen Last 7 Games WHIPs

  1. San Francisco: 0.59
  2. Boston: 0.82
  3. Pittsburgh: 0.88
  4. Cleveland: 0.89
  5. Toronto: 1.01

Worst 5 Bullpen Last 7 Games WHIPs

  1. Chicago Cubs: 1.91
  2. Tampa Bay: 1.90
  3. Kansas City: 1.86
  4. Colorado: 1.78
  5. Texas: 1.74

I use a manual process of analyzing daily box scores to build my Bullpen Power Ratings. In most cases, the end number reflects the stats listed above with great consideration also given to overall talent, injuries, and momentum.

Biggest Movers in SM Bullpen Power Ratings since last week Monday the 22nd of May:

Biggest upward movers (PR points)

  1. San Francisco: +13 points
  2. Cleveland: +8
  3. Pittsburgh: +5
  4. Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati, Miami +4

Biggest downward movers (PR points)

  1. Colorado: -8 points
  2. Oakland, Detroit, Chicago Cubs -5
  3. Milwaukee: -4

Steve’s Current Bullpen Ratings/Ranks

Rank - Team - Bullpen PR

  1. Houston: 23
  2. Cleveland: 17
  3. New York Yankees: 16
  4. San Diego: 15
  5. Baltimore: 11
  6. Seattle: 11
  7. St Louis: 9
  8. Boston: 9
  9. Minnesota: 8
  10. Pittsburgh: 8
  11. Toronto: 6
  12. San Francisco: 6
  13. Milwaukee: 6
  14. Los Angeles Angels: 4
  15. Arizona: 4
  16. Miami: 3
  17. Detroit: 3
  18. Cincinnati: 3
  19. Atlanta: 2
  20. Tampa Bay: 1
  21. Los Angeles Dodgers: 1
  22. Philadelphia: 1
  23. Chicago White Sox: 0
  24. New York Mets: -1
  25. Washington: -9
  26. Texas: -10
  27. Chicago Cubs: -11
  28. Kansas City: -12
  29. Colorado: -13
  30. Oakland: -35

These are sorted first by bullpen ranking and then by overall team power rating. Remember to continue being selective using the drill-down systems I have shared. Good luck with your baseball wagering this week.

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