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Bullpen Report: June 3, 2014

Cody Allen converted his fifth save of the year tonight and his second save in a row, getting four outs on only 12 pitches. It’s the fourth save opportunity in a row that Allen has nailed down and he’s definitely the guy in Cleveland. Bryan Shaw, Scott Atchison  and John Axford are still lingering in the Indians bullpen and are effective relievers but it’s Allen’s job to lose and considering he’s the best reliever in the pen, the chances are he’ll hold on tight. Of more interest tonight might be Nick Hagadone who also recorded four outs in relief, three via the strikeout. Hagadone is a relic from the Victor Martinez to Boston trade and has been largely unsuccessful in the majors but he can get whiffs from the left side and could see some higher leverage innings against left handed batters if he keeps pitching like he did tonight.

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Bullpen Report: May 20, 2014

Matt Lindstrom was placed on the 15-day Disabled List with an ankle injury. We will know more soon about his recovery timeline but in the meantime, Javy Guerra was called up from AAA. The White Sox haven’t anointed a closer as replacement so this is going to be by committee until Lindstrom returns or someone else runs away with it. In the committee should be Daniel Webb, Ronald Belisario, Scott Downs and maybe even Zach Putnam and Jacob Petricka. In tonight’s game, Petricka pitched a clean seventh, and Downs and Frank Francisco had a forgettable eighth inning that Putnam came in to clean up. Eno Sarris pointed us in Belisario’s direction earlier in the day and I happen to agree with his assessment. I would look to add Belisario first if he’s still available in your league and grab Webb as a consolation prize. Unless you are in the deepest league or in dire straits for saves I might stop there as the third or fourth option for saves in Chicago might not be worth the roster spot. Even after throwing two innings last night Belisario is warming up for the save this evening. Published before game ended.

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Bullpen Report: May 19, 2014

Aroldis Chapman blew his first save of the year tonight against the Nationals. It’s tough to glean anything from Aroldis over just five innings pitched but he’s averaging 100 mph on his fastball and has nine strikeouts against three walks. Also, for what it’s worth Chapman didn’t blow tonight’s save in spectacular fashion, he gave a lead-off double that ended up scoring on a sacrifice fly. I wouldn’t be concerned about tonight’s blip, Chapman looks like himself after his unfortunate comebacker in spring training and should be a top three closer from here on out this season.

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Bullpen Report: May 13, 2014

A few quick updates from Monday:

Addison Reed blew his second save on the year and now holds a 1-3 record and is 11/13 on save chances. Kirk Gibson squashed any closer controversy rumors but the fact remains that Reed has not pitched well this year. The Diamondbacks gave up some value in a trade for Reed so he should have a long leash but a 5.03 ERA and 5.49 FIP certainly isn’t pretty. Reed is actually striking out more guys (26.7%)  and walking fewer batters  (4.7%) than last year but the long ball has killed him. A 21.4% HR/FB ratio isn’t sustainable but Reed allows many balls fly through the air with a mere 32% career ground ball rate. I’ll take Gibson at his word and not sound the alarm on Reed but Brad Ziegler is someone to take a look at.

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Bullpen Report: May 6, 2014

Ernesto Frieri received the save opportunity last night but before we anoint him the closer again, it’s important to note that he  Joe Smith was throwing up in the bullpen but more importantly, felt tightness in his right side. The Angels plan is likely for Frieri to regain the role again but Joe Smith has also been effective in the role thus far. If anyone let Frieri go in your league I would be sure to use your waiver wire on him if need be. I don’t think Scioscia intended to throw Frieri in the ninth inning right away but this injury might have forced his hand. The situation is obviously in flux and both guys are worth owning but I’d put my money on Frieri finishing with more saves from here on out.

Aroldis Chapman is currently pitching on a rehab assignment. The good: There hasn’t been a setback. The bad: He only threw two-thirds of an inning allowing four hits, five runs, a walk and a HBP.  Chapman likely will have some rust as he works himself into form but I’d focus more on the health without a setback than the results. Johnathan Broxton will still receive the save opps with Aroldis on the shelf, but it shouldn’t be too long before Chapman is back in his familiar role.

Cody Allen and John Axford have pitched in the last few days and it was Bryan Shaw that received the save opportunity for the Indians tonight. Shaw allowed a hit and an unearned run for his first save of the season. As of now, John Axford is still the closer in Cleveland but a change could be imminent as Axford hasn’t left Francona with much wiggle room. Bryan Shaw has been sneaky effective over the last couple of years and has a 1.65/1.89/3.32 ERA/FIP/xFIP line on the season. Cody Allen is still the best reliever in the pen if the Indians were to make a move, but he’s likely already owned in your league, taking a flier on Bryan Shaw couldn’t hurt for a team in need of saves as the Indians could rationalize keeping Allen in his setup spot.

Marcus Stroman is expected to see the Blue Jays rotation at some point this season but for now he’s in Toronto to fortify the bullpen. In his first outing Stroman threw two-thirds allowing a run on a triple but he looked better tonight, throwing 1.1 innings allowing a single while striking out a batter for his first win of the year. Aaron Loup came on to get the last two outs for his second save of the year.  Loup is a lefty and I would imagine he’s still behind Cecil in the pecking order but this all might be for naught when Casey Janssen returns. If you’re desperate for saves, feel free to chase Loup if you have the roster spot and Cecil isn’t available but I wouldn’t expect a big save return on the investment rest of season.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Addison Reed J.J. Putz Brad Ziegler
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Jordan Walden David Carpenter
Baltimore Tommy Hunter Darren O’Day Brian Matusz
Boston Koji Uehara Junichi Tazawa Edward Mujica
CHI (NL) Hector Rondon Pedro Strop Justin Grimm Kyuji Fujikawa
CHI (AL) Matt Lindstrom Ronald Belisario Daniel Webb Nate Jones
Cincy Jonathan Broxton Sam LeCure J.J. Hoover Aroldis Chapman
Cleveland John Axford Cody Allen Bryan Shaw
Colorado LaTroy Hawkins Adam Ottavino Rex Brothers
Detroit Joe Nathan Joba Chamberlain Al Alburquerque Joel Hanrahan
Houston Chad Qualls Josh Fields Anthony Bass Jesse Crain
KC Greg Holland Wade Davis Aaron Crow
LAA Joe Smith Ernesto Frieri Michael Kohn Dane de la Rosa
LAD Kenley Jansen Chris Perez Brian Wilson
Miami Steve Cishek A.J. Ramos Mike Dunn
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Will Smith Brandon Kintzler Jim Henderson
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Casey Fien
NY (NL) Kyle Farnsworth Daisuke Matsuzaka Jose Valverde Bobby Parnell
NY (AL) David Robertson Shawn Kelley Adam Warren
Oakland Luke Gregerson Jim Johnson Sean Doolittle
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Antonio Bastardo Mike Adams
Pittsburgh Mark Melancon Tony Watson Justin Wilson Jason Grilli
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Carlos Martinez Kevin Siegrist Jason Motte
SD Huston Street Joaquin Benoit Alex Torres
SF Sergio Romo Santiago Casilla Jeremy Affeldt
Seattle Fernando Rodney Danny Farquhar Tom Wilhelmsen
TB Grant Balfour Joel Peralta Jake McGee
Texas Joakim Soria Alexi Ogando Jason Frasor Neftali Feliz
Toronto Brett Cecil Steve Delabar Aaron Loup Casey Janssen
Wash. Rafael Soriano Tyler Clippard Drew Storen

[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]


Bullpen Report: May 5, 2014

John Axford did not pitch well last night and lucky for Cody Allen owners he did not pitch well this evening either, getting the loss against the Twins. Axford has a blown save and a loss in his last two outings and his seasonal ERA/FIP/xFIP is now 4.85/6.59/5.29. Not good. In the same game Cody Allen threw a scoreless inning with two strikeouts, continuing his great start to the season. We have known for a while that Allen is the better pitcher but it’s finally time that he starts seeing save opportunities. No switch has been made yet but my guess is that something is imminent. I can’t imagine Allen is still unowned in any active leagues, but he is a must have for any fantasy team. Allen won’t be sitting on your waiver wire but you still might be able to snag him in a trade, netting a possible top-ten closer at a discounted price.

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Bullpen Report: April 28, 2014

There weren’t many games on the schedule today so just a few brief bullet points for tonight. I’ll be sure to use the comment section below with any additional news that comes up later this evening or into tomorrow.

Jim Johnson lost his closer’s role to a committee in Oakland but he might be returning to the ninth inning. Via Jane Lee, Johnson’s latest run has “elevated” his chances of regaining the closer’s role according to A’s manager Bob Melvin. Johnson’s 5.73 ERA isn’t fun to look at but he’s thrown 7.2 scoreless innings in a row since April 11th with eight strikeouts against just two walks.  Earlier this season Johnson was struggling with his command, so it’s promising to see him throw strikes more consistently. A 3.83 xFIP doesn’t equate to shutdown closer, but it’s close to his career norms. If Johnson’s control is back to form while he continues to kill worms, his chances of being the closer in Oakland relatively soon look promising.

Carlos Martinez threw a scoreless eighth inning tonight lowering his ERA to 2.93. Martinez “only” has 13 strikeouts in 15.1 innings pitched this year but his fantastic 13.5 SwStr% indicates more Ks are in his future. Martinez has maintained his high 90s velocity this year (96.9 mph) and projects to be one of the better set up men in the league. In a holds league, I’d look to buy low on Martinez’ good but not great and average K-rate if possible, knowing that both are likely to improve. Martinez won’t be sniffing saves unless Trevor Rosenthal gets hurt or moves to the rotation, neither are necessarily likely scenarios but the latter might be something to keep an eye on in deep dynasty leagues, as Martinez would clearly be the next in line.

• Brewers lefty Will Smith (2.46 xFIP) struck out both batters he faced tonight and has yet to allow a run in 11.1 innings this year. Smith’s walk-rate has been a bit high thus (4.79 B/9)  far but it’s been basically average throughout his minor league career and brief time in the majors, so I don’t envision it being a concern. Smith is still behind Jim Henderson (who threw a scoreless inning tonight) on the saves ladder, but if K-Rod needs a day of rest (the dude gets saves daily) Smith could see an opportunity against a lefty heavy lineup.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Addison Reed J.J. Putz Brad Ziegler
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Jordan Walden David Carpenter
Baltimore Tommy Hunter Darren O’Day Brian Matusz
Boston Koji Uehara Edward Mujica Junichi Tazawa
CHI (NL) Hector Rondon Pedro Strop Justin Grimm Kyuji Fujikawa
CHI (AL) Matt Lindstrom Daniel Webb Ronald Belisario Nate Jones
Cincy Jonathan Broxton Sam LeCure J.J. Hoover Aroldis Chapman
Cleveland John Axford Cody Allen Bryan Shaw
Colorado LaTroy Hawkins Adam Ottavino Rex Brothers
Detroit Joe Nathan Al Alburquerque Joba Chamberlain
Houston Raul Valdes Chad Qualls Josh Fields Jesse Crain
KC Greg Holland Wade Davis Aaron Crow
LAA Joe Smith Ernesto Frieri Kevin Jepsen Dane de la Rosa
LAD Kenley Jansen Chris Perez Brian Wilson
Miami Steve Cishek A.J. Ramos Mike Dunn
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Jim Henderson Will Smith
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Casey Fien
NY (NL) Kyle Farnsworth Daisuke Matsuzaka Jose Valverde Bobby Parnell
NY (AL) David Robertson Shawn Kelley Adam Warren
Oakland Luke Gregerson Sean Doolittle Jim Johnson
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Antonio Bastardo Mike Adams
Pittsburgh Mark Melancon Tony Watson Justin Wilson Jason Grilli
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Carlos Martinez Kevin Siegrist Jason Motte
SD Huston Street Joaquin Benoit Alex Torres
SF Sergio Romo Santiago Casilla Jeremy Affeldt
Seattle Fernando Rodney Danny Farquhar Tom Wilhelmsen
TB Grant Balfour Heath Bell Joel Peralta
Texas Joakim Soria Alexi Ogando Jason Frasor Neftali Feliz
Toronto Sergio Santos Steve Delabar Brett Cecil Casey Janssen
Wash. Rafael Soriano Tyler Clippard Drew Storen

[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]


Bullpen Report: April 22, 2014

• The Yankees activated David Robertson from the DL today but he didn’t enter tonight’s game against the Red Sox. Shawn Kelley did an admirable job filling in but the ninth inning definitely belongs to David Robertson in the Bronx. If Robertson’s healthy, his above average control and elite strikeout ability could easily make him a top ten closer. Of course we all know that, it’s why we drafted him as such just a few months ago. Of more interest might be Dellin Betances, who’s 0.93/1.59/2.15 ERA/FIP/xFIP and 14.90 K/9 could make him a more major player in the back of the Yankees bullpen as the season goes on. Adam Warren received a save opportunity this season, but projecting these guys forward Betances will likely provide more value with his strikeouts, and once he develops a trust with Girardi he could see more consistent meaningful innings.

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Bullpen Report: April 21, 2014

Kyle Farnsworth received his first save opportunity as the Mets closer tonight and converted it, allowing just one base hit to Yadier Molina in a scoreless inning. Colin went into some great detail last night about this situation so I certainly recommend you check out what he said if you have not already. Farnsworth is getting saves and therefore is worth owning (duh), but just as he was worth owning with Valverde at the helm, Gonzalez Germen is now worth a look for those in need of saves.

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Bullpen Report: April 19, 2014

Jose Valverde‘s days as closer might be numbered. Valverde entered the ninth inning tonight and gave up a three run homer to Justin Upton. Although none of Valverde’s runs were “earned” it’s the fourth home run he’s allowed in his last three outings. Papa Grande’s been able to miss more bats this year (13.5 SwStr%) but his gopheritis and control issues may have come to an end, at least as the closer. Via David Lennon Collins is going to “have to talk about Valverde as closer“, which means teams should look to add Kyle Farnsworth immediately. As of this writing a change has not been made but I’d expect Kyle Farnsworth to get the next save opp for the Mets.

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