The Red Sox bullpen was a primary factor in their 2013 World Series crown.
Expect nothing different in 2014.
The additions of veteran relievers Burke Badenhop and Edward Mujica add depth to what is already a vital asset to Boston's 2014 prospectus.
Badenhop and Mujica will join a plethora of relievers like Junichi Tazawa and Craig Breslow, further adding to a staple of the Red Sox's recent success.
Edward Mujica, RHP
2013 Season: 2-1, 2.78 ERA, 1.005 WHIP
Despite losing the closer job for the St. Louis Cardinals last season, one cannot overlook that Mujica had a pretty solid campaign over the course of the year. His WHIP numbers are a perfect indication of this.
According to his 2013 prospectus on FanGraphs, Mujica relies heavily on a split-finger fastball (56 percent) as well as a standard fastball (39.6 percent) with occasional use of his slider.
Having logged 64.2 innings in the regular season last year, Mujica is also durable. He also has practical closing experience, which should bode well if incumbent closer Koji Uehara is unable to do the job.
Mujica figures to take on some of the setup role along with relievers Tazawa and Breslow, per John Fahrer of BoSox Injection, adding further stability to the back end of Boston's bullpen.
We should expect to see an effective Mujica this season and him being an added strength to an already dominant pen.
2014 Projected Numbers: 1-3, 3.02 ERA, 1.125 WHIP
Junichi Tazawa, RHP
2013 Season: 5-4, 3.16 ERA, 1.200 WHIP
In 2013, Tazawa was one of those reliable relievers that Boston could count upon to preserve leads late in ballgames.
There is nothing different to expect in 2014.
As such, it was a good thing the Red Sox were able to avoid arbitration by signing him to a one-year deal before this upcoming season, per Ricky Doyle of NESN.
According to his prospectus on Soxprospects.com, Tazawa has a fastball that can top out in the mid-90s as well as an effective curveball that he can rely upon to get hitters out ahead in the count.
In 2013, he was most effective at home, logging a 2.81 ERA at Fenway Park. His numbers against righties and lefties are virtually identical, with hitters batting .266 and .264, respectively.
Tazawa is a favorite to resume setup duties along with Mujica and Breslow in 2014. Barring any setbacks, there should be no reason to assume he falls off this season.
2014 Projected Numbers: 4-4, 3.35 ERA, 1.224 WHIP
Craig Breslow, LHP
2013 Season: 5-2, 1.81 ERA, 1.123 WHIP
What Tazawa does from the right side of the mound, Breslow is equally as effective from the left.
There is the old adage of pitchers being able to land jobs if they are left-handed and able to get lefties out. Breslow does that and more.
In 2013, Breslow was best against right-handed hitters, with opposing righties batting only .208 against him.
Breslow is also extremely effective in the eighth inning, having posted a 1.11 ERA during the frame last season.
The fact that he is equally effective against righties means that Farrell does not have to remove him when there are various right- and left-handed batters to be faced in opposing lineups.
Breslow is among the better left-handed relievers in baseball right now, and that trend should continue in 2014.
2014 Projected Numbers: 4-2, 2.45 ERA, 1.283 WHIP
Andrew Miller, LHP
2013 Season: 1-2, 2.64 ERA, 1.370 WHIP
With Breslow locking down the featured lefty setup position in Boston's bullpen, fellow lefty Andrew Miller will also play a prominent role in securing the Red Sox's pitching depth.
Miller missed a sizable portion of 2013 due to a foot injury, but he should be good to go for spring training, per John Tomase of the Boston Herald (subscription required).
Miller, who was once a highly touted prospect, developed into a quality reliever after some concerns regarding his command.
Just like Breslow, however, being a lefty out of the pen who can equally get righties and lefties out further cements his need within the Red Sox organization.
BoSox Injection writer Harry Burnham suggests that Farrell may struggle to get Miller into the mix over the course of 2014, the direct result of having plenty of quality arms.
While the context of that statement is true, the one thing that cannot be overlooked is the fact that playoff-caliber teams need plenty of pitching. In fact, one could argue that you cannot have too much of it.
Miller fits that bill.
2014 Projected Numbers: 3-2, 3.42 ERA, 1.410 WHIP
Burke Badenhop, RHP
2013 Season: 2-3, 3.47 ERA, 1.187 WHIP
Aside from having a cool name, Badenhop is also an effective reliever who should become an integral part of Boston's bullpen.
Boston acquired Badenhop from the Brewers after he posted a 3.47 ERA in 62.1 innings pitched.
Badenhop relies heavily on his fastball, and his secondary pitch is an effective slider, according to his chart on FanGraphs. He is also very effective in inducing ground balls—an element that always has value late in ballgames.
Unlike Breslow and Miller, Badenhop is most effective only against right-handed hitters, who hit only .229 against him last year.
As suggested by Doyle, Badenhop's numbers are not particularly staggering, yet the righty can be used effectively if inserted into the right situations.
This is exactly what Red Sox fans should expect Farrell to do with Badenhop.
2014 Projected Numbers: 3-3, 3.52 ERA, 1.281 WHIP