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Jose Mijares hurt, second bullpen spot could open up

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The news on Jose Mijares isn't good:

Jose Mijares is going for an MRI exam on his left elbow. The preliminary diagnosis is a posterior elbow impingement – essentially, an inability to straighten the arm at the elbow without pain.

Numbers out of the backside: 20-percent chance the doctors tell him to rest a bit, 80-percent chance that Mijares isn't on the Opening Day roster. Those numbers were arrived at after hours of careful meditation. Or maybe five seconds of thinking. But "impingement" and "MRI?" That's a month, at least.

Which means there is probably another spot opening up in the bullpen. And, say, let's check in with Dan Runzler.

The Rule of Dan Runzler: If there isn't anything under the walk column, he looks like a poor man's Aroldis Chapman. The Second Rule of Dan Runzler: There is always something under the walk column.

OppQual ERA G IP H BB SO
Runzler, Dan* 8.3 0.00 2 2.0 1 0 3

Oh, don't make me look stupid, Runzler. But there will be something under the walk column. A lot of somethings. As the third lefty/second-to-last person in the bullpen -- the Jose Mijares role -- I'm all for Runzler, though. He's fun to watch pitch, and on the off chance he does figure out how to throw strikes ...

The updates on the rest of the gang vying for a spot:

OppQual ERA G IP H HR BB SO
Gaudin, Chad NRI 8.1 2.70 2 3.1 3 0 3 2
Proctor, Scott NRI 6.4 0.00 3 3.0 2 0 1 2
Hembree, Heath NRI 6.4 0.00 2 2.0 2 0 0 0
Machi, Jean 6.8 0.00 2 2.0 1 0 1 0
Rosario, Sandy 7.5 4.50 2 2.0 1 1 1 1
Loux, Shane NRI 5.5 0.00 1 1.0 0 0 0 2
Ramirez, Ramon NRI 8.2 27.00 1 1.0 2 1 1 0
Bochy, Brett NRI 7.8 27.00 1 0.2 2 1 1 1

The "OppQual" thing from Baseball Reference is cool:

OppQual ▴ -- Quality of opposing pitchers or batters faced

Varies from 1 being rookie ball to 10 full-time major leaguer based on the levels their opponents played at in the previous season.

10 - MLB
8 - AAA
7 - AA
5 - High A (California & Carolina)
4 - Full-Season A (SALLY and Midwest)
1.5 to 3, Rookie and Short-season
1 - Opposing batter is a pitcher

So Chad Gaudin and Ramon Ramirez have been facing the highest quality hitters, whereas Scott Proctor has been facing the equivalent of AA-ballers. Over a sample of two or three innings, you cannot imagine how meaningful this is. Oh, wait, you can? Yeah, right. It isn't meaningful at all.

While I don't think the Giants are going to make their decision based on stats, the numbers act as a proxy for how the pitcher looked, I'm sure. When Proctor is sailing through an inning, I'm sure he looks good. It's not like he's throwing 78-m.p.h. and getting lucky pop-ups on vicious, Dave Kingman-style moon swings.

With all that in mind, the first Last Spot(s) in the Bullpen Power Rankings of the spring, with the top two making it unless we hear surprisingly good news for Mijares:

1. Dan Runzler
2. Scott Proctor
3. Ramon Ramirez
4. Chad Gaudin
5. Shane Loux
6. Field

Pretty sure it's going to be Runzler or bust if Mijares is hurt, unless there a walksplosion. A third lefty wouldn't bother me, seeing as Runzler and Jeremy Affeldt can handle right-handers, too. In theory, at least.