This article is part of our Mound Musings series.
I usually look at bullpens after we have gotten deep enough into the season that changes in assignments begin to occur. This season, I decided that look needed to happen earlier. In fact, the bullpen shuffle has made it necessary to evaluate just one week in. Last week we discussed the American League. This week, it's the National League's turn. So, we'll take a look at a few teams still/already struggling to find answers in the bullpen. Let me preface this with an apology. I'm sorry if a late-breaking change isn't included in the body of the column. I will try my best to include the most current situations, but things change minute by minute, so please review the comments to get updates. As many starting pitchers are working fewer innings, the scramble is on for help in the endgame – an "endgame" that has been happening earlier and earlier.
Bullpen role shifts result from illness, injury, and ineffectiveness
There have been a few assignments dictated by the coronavirus, even more impacted by injuries, and some have been the result of ineffectiveness. And, there have even been a handful that don't appear to be attributable to any of the above. This has been a wild year in both rotations, and bullpens, and it's probably not settled yet. There are still shaky situations with more potential adjustments to come. Let's take a look at some bullpen assignments in the NL and see how they stack up for the foreseeable future: