MLB Bullpen Systems final results for the postseason

MLB Bullpen System Postseason Update:

The MLB Bullpen Systems I’ve been tracking for VSiN readers for the last six months closed the regular season in strong fashion, with all but one of them bringing in nice profits in the final week. We now enter the postseason on a high note with these angles, and as everyone who watches or bets baseball knows, the bullpens become of utmost importance at this time of year.

We will be continuing to track and qualify the Bullpen Systems all October, along with some fantastic postseason and other key betting angles in our daily MLB Analytics Reports. Don’t miss a single day of profit-building opportunity during the playoffs.

Before we dig into the final results of the regular season, however, just a reminder. Hopefully, you have continued to embrace the idea that better bullpen teams are the stronger wager when assessing the options. They just aren’t accounted for as much as starting pitching by oddsmakers, thus giving bettors value in typically at least 1/3 of games. I hope the continuous tracking I did helped convince you that paying exorbitant prices in baseball makes little sense, as the big favorites continue to lose money for their backers, even with superior bullpens.

Along the way, I was asked by readers…What’s the easiest way to use these bullpen ratings? Well, there are more profitable ways (by ROI) as shown by the drill-down systems below, but the easiest method I have now detailed in the very first system below. I have called it fittingly THE EASIEST WAY TO PLAY THE BULLPEN SYSTEM. If you had taken the better-rated bullpen team on my scale and avoided those -190 or higher favorites that weren’t at least 19% better in winning percentage than the opponent, you would have netted +45.66 units. That is a pretty nice 2.2% return for a very simple yet very fundamentally sound methodology. The ROI follows recent seasons of similar success levels.

Remember, to fully implement these strategies into your daily baseball betting routine, you only need two things: 1) the details of the systems as noted below and 2) VSiN Pro Access to MAKINEN DAILY POWER RATINGS page under the MLB tab on You can also have the work of qualifying the angles done for you in our latest VSiN feature called the MLB Analytics Report. No serious baseball bettor should be without it.

Now, here is an update of the various system records we will take into the postseason:

The easiest way to play the bullpen system

Better-rated bullpen teams that are NOT favorites of -190 or higher, or are -190 or higher and have a winning percentage 19% or higher went 1200-916 in the regular season for +45.66 units, a 2.2% season-long return on investment.

BACK big favorites (-190 or more) with better bullpen ratings and winning percentage >=19% higher than opponent

A mid-season bullpen ratings discovery found that big favorites of -190 or higher with better bullpens and a winning percentage of 19% or more than their opponent were 145-61 for +9.08 units in the regular season. Some big favorites are worth back consistently, regardless of the high prices, because the games are absolute mismatches. The R.O.I. on this angle fell in the last couple of weeks as some of the big favorites no longer had any playoff stakes on the line but still settled at +4.4%.

FADE better bullpen overpriced favorites of -190 or higher when the win percentage difference of teams is <19%

In games this regular season in which the team with the Steve Makinen better-rated bullpen was listed as a favorite of -190 or higher and had a winning percentage less than 19% higher than the opponent, that team owned a 171-106 record, but for -84.47 units. This represented an R.O.I. of -30.5%! These are in essence the definition of overpriced favorites, teams that are marginally better than the opponent but may be getting a boost in the line because of a large starting pitcher edge, a bullpen edge, or an injury or two.

Overpriced better bullpen without a big starting pitcher edge angle was the 2023 regular season’s most lucrative system

In combining starting pitcher differences in looking at games with -190 favorites or higher, there was a huge opportunity to be selective in fading overpriced favorites. Specifically, when the starting pitcher difference between the better Steve Makinen-rated bullpen team was less than 20, those big favorites went just 80-74, but for -87.21 units in the regular season!

This angle was 5-3 in the final week and again lost –2.4 units. This situation was rare, only coming up about 25 times per month, but should have been taken advantage of when it arose. The R.O.I. on this amazing angle for the season steadied at an amazing -56.6%! By fading these teams, a season-long backer of this system would have netted about +70 units of profit!

Better bullpen underdog teams were solid wagers all season long

A frequent and profitable system this season arose when the team with the better SM Bullpen Ratings played as an underdog (or pick 'em). Moneyline underdog teams with better bullpen ratings for the season were 341-346 for +72.72 units. The R.O.I. of this angle produced a healthy 10.6%.

Worse bullpens struggled to extend winning streaks

I found that fading teams with lesser SM bullpen ratings that were looking to extend winning streaks was also a strong strategy. On 2-game winning streaks, the teams with worse Steve Makinen Bullpen Ratings in a matchup were 240-249 for -28.51 units, an R.O.I. of -5.8%. Worse bullpen teams on 3+ game winning streaks finished the regular season with a record of 99-119 for -16.61 units. The R.O.I. on that system finished at -7.6%.

Better bullpen teams were capable of building lengthy winning streaks

In conducting a study of teams with better bullpens on winning streaks this season, when looking at teams with better Steve Makinen Bullpen Ratings looking to extend three-game winning streaks, I tracked that those teams went 241-168 for +11.33 units, a respectable R.O.I. of 2.7%, a slight improvement on the overall record of the “easiest way system.”

Better bullpen teams thwarted potentially lengthy losing streaks

Better bullpen teams on 3+ game losing streaks went 119-79 for +22.2 units in the regular season. The R.O.I. for the season closed at 11.2%! There weren’t many plays in the season’s final two weeks, but those teams were 7-1 for +6.45 units, a strong close to the campaign.

These simple angles can be qualified each day by utilizing the MAKINEN DAILY RATINGS page on or easily found on the MLB Analytics Report.

Here are the updated key bullpen stats that were accumulated in the regular season, as well as my current Bullpen Power Ratings as we head into the first week of playoff games.

Key Bullpen Stats (through games of October 1st)

Top 5 Bullpen ERAs

  1. New York Yankees: 3.37
  2. Milwaukee: 3.40
  3. Los Angeles Dodgers: 3.42
  4. Seattle: 3.48
  5. Baltimore: 3.55

Worst 5 Bullpen ERAs

  1. Colorado: 5.41
  2. Kansas City: 5.23
  3. Oakland: 5.20
  4. Washington: 5.02
  5. Los Angeles Angels: 4.88

Top 5 Bullpen WHIPs

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers: 1.17
  2. Tampa Bay: 1.19
  3. Milwaukee: 1.21
  4. New York Yankees: 1.23
  5. Toronto: 1.23

Worst 5 Bullpen WHIPs

  1. Colorado: 1.56
  2. Oakland: 1.51
  3. Los Angeles Angels: 1.50
  4. Kansas City: 1.49
  5. Washington: 1.43

Top 5 Bullpen Ks/9 innings

  1. Houston: 10.07
  2. Seattle: 9.92
  3. Chicago Cubs: 9.88
  4. Toronto: 9.82
  5. Atlanta: 9.80

Worst 5 Bullpen Ks/9 innings

  1. Washington: 7.84
  2. Oakland: 8.30
  3. Colorado: 8.31
  4. Cincinnati: 8.49
  5. St. Louis: 8.70

Top 5 Bullpen Last 7 Games WHIPs

  1. Philadelphia: 0.75
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers: 0.81
  3. Texas: 0.82
  4. Arizona: 0.87
  5. Baltimore: 0.89

Worst 5 Bullpen Last 7 Games WHIPs

  1. Colorado: 1.87
  2. Kansas City: 1.69
  3. Oakland: 1.65
  4. Tampa Bay: 1.64
  5. Washington: 1.57

I use a manual process of analyzing daily box scores to build my Bullpen Power Ratings. In most cases, the end number is a reflection of 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, September 25th:

Biggest upward movers (PR points)

  1. Detroit: +9 points
  2. Philadelphia: +6
  3. New York Mets, Arizona: +5

Biggest downward movers (PR points)

  1. Pittsburgh: -9 points
  2. Kansas City, Colorado: -5
  3. Cleveland: -4

Steve’s Current Bullpen Ratings/Ranks

Playoff qualifying teams are in bold.

Rank - Team - Bullpen PR

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers: 30
  2. Houston: 21
  3. Tampa Bay: 20
  4. Milwaukee: 19
  5. Philadelphia: 18
  6. Minnesota: 16
  7. Baltimore: 15
  8. San Diego: 11
  9. Seattle: 11
  10. New York Yankees: 8
  11. Atlanta: 7
  12. Arizona: 5
  13. Chicago Cubs: 4
  14. Detroit: 4
  15. Pittsburgh: 4
  16. Toronto: 2
  17. Cincinnati: -1
  18. San Francisco: -2
  19. New York Mets: -2
  20. Boston: -4
  21. Miami: -5
  22. Texas: -8
  23. Cleveland: -8
  24. Washington: -13
  25. St. Louis: -19
  26. Oakland: -27
  27. Los Angeles Angels: -30
  28. Chicago White Sox: -35
  29. Kansas City: -45
  30. Colorado: -55

These are sorted first by bullpen ranking, and then by overall team power rating. Not surprisingly, all of the top seven rated bullpen teams are playoff-bound.

As we head into this week’s games, there is one team on a 3+ game winning streak (Houston) and one team on a 4+ game losing skid (Arizona).