• Exclusives

    Braves’ bullpen trio better than the Nasty Boys?

    By Kent Covington

     

    Braves All-Star left-handed reliever, Johnny Venters

    In the summer of 1990, three flame-throwing Cincinnati relievers became the toast of Major League Baseball. The trio, which came to be known as the “Nasty Boys”, was comprised of southpaws, Randy Myers and Norm Charlton, and the riffle-armed righty, Rob Dibble.  To this day, the “Nasty Boys” are still remembered as one of the most dominant back-end bullpen ensembles in the history of the game.

    Twenty-one years later, we may have found an even better one.

    The Atlanta Braves have unearthed a frightening young bullpen ensemble of their own. With lefty middle reliever, Eric O’Flaherty, locking down the 7th inning, LH power-sinker setup man, Johnny Venters, silencing bats in the 8th, and the right-handed strikeout machine, Craig Kimbrel, turning out the lights in the 9th… the Braves now feature baseball’s most overpowering bullpen trio. We like to call them, the “Unholy Trinity” (our refusal to use the “O’ventbrel” nickname is a topic for another day).

    If you’re reading this, chances are, you already know that these young men are good. Exceedingly good. But Nasty Boys good? C’mon, really?

    I can think of no argument as convincing as the raw numbers themselves, so have a peek:

    Reds’ 1990 “Nasty Boys”:

      Inn Hits BB SO ER HR ERA Saves
    Charleton 50.2 48 22 57 17 2 3.02
    Myers 84.1 59 38 98 20 6 2.08 31
    Dibble 98 62 34 136 19 3 1.74 11
    TOTAL 233 169 94 291 56 11 2.16 42

    “Unholy Trinity” AS OF 8/22/11:

      Inn Hits BB SO ER HR ERA Saves
    Kimbrel 62.2 38 25 101 12 1 1.72 39
    Venters 73.2 38 32 81 9 1 1.10 5
    O’Flaherty 57.2 47 20 55 8 2 1.25
    TOTAL 194 122 75 234 29 4 1.35 43

    “Unholy Trinity” PROJECTED 2011 STATS:

      Inn Hits BB SO ER HR ERA Saves
    Kimbrel 83.1 48 32 128 15 1 1.72 49
    Venters 92.2 48 40 102 11 1 1.10 6
    O’Flaherty 72.2 59 25 69 10 3 1.25
    TOTAL 248.2 155 97 299 36 5 1.30 55


    Braves closer, Craig Kimbrel

    Twenty percent of the ’11 season remains, and until the final September out is recorded, we cannot fully measure the ’11 “Trinity” against the ’90 “Nasty Boys”. It is late enough in the year, however, for this trio to begin drawing “Nasty Boys” comparisons. And it’s not a stretch to wonder aloud if this trio might be even better.

    It will be interesting to see if Kimbrel, Venters and O’Flaherty can continue to perform at THIS level through the end of the regular season, and more importantly, in October. There’s no reason to think they can’t.

    There will be plenty of time over the winter to debate where this trio’s rightful place in the history books may be. For now, one thing is certain…

    No other present day team in baseball has anything quite like the Braves’ “Unholy Trinity”.