Bullpen Report: April 20, 2014

• As Ben alluded to last night, the Mets seemed to be on the verge of making a change in the ninth inning. This morning, Terry Collins made it official. Kyle (Professor) Farnsworth is the newest closer in New York. Now that you are done racing to the wire to try and grab him, let’s chat. Farnsworth turned 38 last week, which aside from making me feel old, doesn’t portend good things for his career arc. His fastball velocity has fallen every year since 2009. It used to be a blistering 96 mph, now it barely broaches 91. Last season was the first his SwStr% had been below 10% since 2007, and it was only the second time in his career he didn’t make it into double digits.

It’s not all bad news, though. His SIERA the last two seasons has been 3.94 and 3.57, not great marks but not terrible, either. While his K% has slipped downward over the years, he has also cut the walks. This makes him more prone to BABIP swings but he helps make up for it by not giving out as many free trips to first base. Will he remain the closer for the remainder of 2014? It feels unlikely. However, the two best “next” options in the Mets system (Gonzalez Germen and Vic Black) both have inconsistent histories and some degree of command issues. For example, Black hasn’t allowed a run at Triple-A this season, but also owns an ugly 6/7 K/BB. Unless Farnsworth implodes out of the gate, it’s not tough to see him hold the job for at least a little while. Just don’t expect miracles.

Jason Grilli blew his third save of the season. I am too lazy to peek through the game logs, but essentially it took (insert a really long time here) for him to blow three saves last year. Thanks, Twitter. So should we be worried? His swinging strikes are right where they should be (14+%), but his K% is down nearly 50%. With a fastball velocity that is sitting right on top of his 2013 mark, I imagine the low punchout total is somewhat of a fluke and is contributing to his bumpy start in 2014. Closers are a fickle breed, but I am not panicking. In fact, Grilli’s peripherals look so in line with last season I’d be targeting him heavily if an owner is getting nervous.

Luke Gregerson got the save in Oakland this afternoon, continuing the merry-go-round of A’s closers while Jim Johnson continues his breather. One note, Sean Doolittle‘s contract extension may play a small role in this bullpen. A potential reason for keeping him out of the ninth inning was to keep his arbitration value from climbing. However, now that he has been inked to a guaranteed deal, that issue goes out the window. Doolitte was used to get some lefties out in the seventh inning today, so this situation has truly played out like a platoon the last week and a half or so. That said, “JJ” has pitched fairly well since his “demotion” and may get another crack at the job soon. I’d scoop him up in any leagues he was dropped in anticipation of that potential move.

• Quick hits: Jim Henderson continues to struggle, allowing another run today to run his ERA to 4.70. It’s not as bad as it looks (3.23 xFIP) but BABIP and homers are killing him. Meanwhile, Francisco Rodriguez tallied another save. I’m not dropping Henderson in deep leagues, but it’s going to be an uphill battle for him to get the ninth inning back anytime soon. Jose Veras did not look good today, pushing his xFIP up to 9.81 on the season (blech). Droppable in all leagues. Pedro Strop pitched the ninth yesterday in a four run game, while other ninth inning favorite Hector Rondon was used in the 7th/8th innings. I like Rondon better from a peripherals standpoint, but Strop may get first crack at running with the job (if — you know — the Cubs could win). Sean Marshall is back. If you were waiting to use the lefty in holds leagues, go get him, although it wouldn’t hurt to make sure his stuff looks good in a couple outings before activating him.

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 Ryan Webb
Boston Koji Uehara Edward Mujica Junichi Tazawa
CHI (NL) Pedro Strop Hector Rondon Jose Veras Kyuji Fujikawa
CHI (AL) Matt Lindstrom Daniel Webb Ronald Belisario Nate Jones
Cincy Johnathan 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 Josh Fields Matt Albers Chad Qualls Jesse Crain
KC Greg Holland Wade Davis Aaron Crow
LAA Ernesto Frieri Joe Smith 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 Brandon Kintzler
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Casey Fien
NY (NL) Kyle Farnsworth Gonzalez Germen Jose Valverde Bobby Parnell
NY (AL) Shawn Kelley Adam Warren Dellin Betances David Robertson
Oakland Luke Gregerson Sean Doolittle Jim Johnson
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Antonio Bastardo Mike Adams
Pittsburgh Jason Grilli Mark Melancon Tony Watson
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.]



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There are few things Colin loves more in life than a pitcher with a single-digit BB%. Find him on Twitter @soxczar.


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Satoshi Nakamoto
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Satoshi Nakamoto

How soon until Putz replaces Addison Reed?
1 more blown save and Reed gets yanked seeing how fast the D’backs are yanking their starters.

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