• While I was speculating that Bobby Parnell‘s neck was the cause of his issues and decreased velocity, it was actually his arm (shocker) as he has a partially torn ligament in his right elbow. Parnell is avoiding surgery for now, resting for a few weeks before being reevaluated but this doesn’t look good. I would still stash Parnell on the DL if you have him, but I wouldn’t bet on Parnell making a full recovery, closing game for the Mets this season anytime soon. As he did in Detoit last year, Papa Grande is back and closing games for the Mets. Don’t let Jose Valverde confuse you, he’s not a good pitcher but he’s healthy and in line for saves, go grab him now if you haven’t already. Behind Valverde should be Jeurys Familia, who wasn’t effective last night, Gonzalez Germen and even Kyle Farnsworth. For now it’s Valverde without an obvious choice as second in line. However, if Papa Grande fails and this goes to a committee type approach, it might not even be worth the trouble.
• Speaking of closer-by-committees (and horrible segues) that’s what the Astros are working with, narrowing their choices down to three – Chad Qualls, Matt Albers and Josh Fields. In tonight’s game against the Yankees, Bo Porter went with Qualls in the eighth with a six run lead. Qualls ended up giving up an inherited run as well as one of his own and Matt Albers finished the game in the ninth in a non save situation. It’s hard to glean anything of value from this one game besides the fact that all three should factor into saves in Houston. As of now, I’m keeping Qualls first as he’s probably the best of the bunch but this isn’t a particularly satisfying situation for baseball viewers or fantasy owners alike.
• Brian Wilson will be placed on the DL with elbow problems and nerve irritation according to Ken Gurnick. In his place, I suspect Chris Perez will be the primary set up man but Paco Rodriguez and J.P. Howell, who pitched the eighth inning tonight, will also be in the mix. Chris Perez had a rough go in Cleveland last year but if you squint hard enough there was a 3.83 xFIP and 3.40 SIERA last year. Perez isn’t flashy enough to own for ratios or strikeouts, but anyone who is one pitch away from closing deserves to be on watch.
• Holds Alert: He didn’t receive a hold today as the Yankees were behind all game, but Dellin Betances looked mighty impressive for the Yankees in his inning of work, striking out two batters in a perfect inning. Betances’ velocity was in the high 90s, reaching a peak of 99.3 mph. He might be lower on the totem poll now in New York but with only Shawn Kelley and Matt Thornton ahead of him, it won’t take much for Betances to be a main setup option, receiving higher leverage holds on the reg. David Carpenter got a hold in the eighth inning tonight for the Braves, although he gave up a run. I suspect Jordan Walden is still next in line for the Braves, but it’s worth noting as each situation plays itself out early on this season.
• Quick Hits: Steve Cishek pitched a perfect inning for his first save of the year. Kenley Jansen was far from perfect allowing three guys to reach base, but he didn’t allow a run en route to his first save. Craig Kimbrel pulled a Kimbrel, striking out the side for the save. Sergio Santos tried his best to blow the game but barely held on for his first save of the year as Casey Janssen remains on the DL. Santos is undoubtedly the closer with Janssen out (although Brett Cecil was warming up tonight) but if he continues to struggle look for Steve Delabar to get a look. And for those disgruntled Janssen owners, Santos’ struggles means Janssen would be more likely to reclaim the job upon his return.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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