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.

Matt Lindstrom notched his second save of the year, pitching around a hit and a walk against the Tigers. Daniel Webb hasn’t pitched since throwing three innings against the Red Sox on Wednesday and even though he’s lurking it still looks like Lindstrom is the guy for saves at the moment. Nate Jones is still on the DL with a back issue and it currently looks a little worse than normally thought. Although Lindstrom is still most likely the nominal closer for the White Sox, I’d still hold onto Webb, Lindstrom’s 3.00 ERA looks decent enough but his underlying 4.89 xFIP and 3.0 K/9 makes me think there will be a change before the summer in Chicago.

Craig Kimbrel blew the save tonight but he also recorded three strikeouts. Kimbrel’s shoulder situation last week bears continued watching but this blown save doesn’t seem to indicate that it’s much of an issue. Kimbrel owners would definitely rather the converted save but he was still hitting 97+ mph on his fastball tonight, with a 40% whiff rate on the breaking stuff. Classic Kimbrel. Jordan Walden threw a scoreless eighth inning and I’d confidently place him as next in line over David Carpenter at the moment.

John Axford nailed his seventh save of the season tonight against the Royals. He’s now 7/8 on saves this year with a 3.12 ERA and a 9.35 K/9. Those numbers look promising but his 4.92/5.27 FIP/xFIP on the heels of a sky high 7.27 BB/9 and an unsustainable .182 BABIP. Axford’s save conversion rate will likely give him a longish leash in Cleveland but his performance is due for some regression and when that occurs you will want Cody Allen on your squad. Allen threw a perfect eighth inning tonight and remains one of the premier setup men in the game, both for holds and ratio/strikeout help. With Axford pitching well and no change imminent, now might be a good time to buy low-ish on Allen, anticipating second-half saves. At worst, you’ll be left with an elite non-closer reliever on your team.

• Quick Hits: Francisco Rodriguez and his awesome season continues as he recorded his eighth save of the season and his fifth in the last six days. Jim Henderson‘s struggles has given K-Rod a firm grasp on the role. Tyler Thornburg pitched a perfect eighth to set up K-Rod and he’s put together a quite the season.If Henderson doesn’t get right soon, Thornburg could find himself next in line in Milwaukee Ernesto Frieri pulled a Frieri, giving up a home run and a walk while striking out three batters for just his second save of the year. Frieri’s struggles would be more worrisome but the other options in Anaheim aren’t intriguing enough to put any pressure on Frieri yet. Although none were earned, Tyler Clippard allowed four runs tonight. We have Clippard ahead of Drew Storen on the grid, but Storen’s had a great season thus far pitching to a 1.53 xFIP with nine strikeouts in 7.1 IP, without issuing a walk. He might be moving up the chain as the primary setup man in Washington.

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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When he's not focusing on every team's bullpen situation, Ben can be found blogging at Ben's Baseball Bias and on Twitter @BensBias

15 Responses to “Bullpen Report: April 21, 2014”

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  1. thatpj says:

    Cody Allen isn’t exactly tearing down the house as you’ve written. He has an unsustainable 91% LOB% and has the same WHIP as Axford. He is also walking nearly 5 guys a game.

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    • He’s certainly due to regress and not finish with a 0.00 ERA but he’s one of the better guys to help you with ratios, get strikeouts and sniff saves. Definitely a good call on his unsustainable LOB% but his .400 BABIP is likely to drop as well.

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    • Andrew says:

      Are you really citing a RP’s slightly elevated mid-April WHIP to decry his skills? You’re not going to find a lot of traction around these parts with that argument.

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  2. 50 in 08 says:

    Surprised there isn’t more concern for Craig Kimbrel, he throws super hard and has had a ton of usage over the last couple years. He’s admitted to his shoulder being sore since Spring Training and his last couple outings he’s had trouble locating. A lot of red flags for a potential injury if you ask me.

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    • I’m not a doctor and it’s hard to decipher what’s a lingering injury, rust and just random variance. Kimbrel’s velo is a little down from last year but it’s also been that way in April over his career. I’d keep tabs on Walden and wouldn’t drop him on my team, but taking the Braves and Kimbrel at their word, I’m not sounding the alarm after tonight’s blown save.

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  3. troy says:

    Farnswith hitting 95&96 on the gun tonight, but everyone still says his velocity is down.

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  4. rhd says:

    Thanx, Benjamin, for regularly providing this report to us.

    If you could also list the current season save total for each pitcher next to their name, that would be great.

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  5. Ivan says:

    I wouldn’t put Walden over Carpenter just yet. Carpenter had pitched in two straight days prior to last night and likely would have been the 8th inning option had that not been the case. Walden cleaned up after Kimbrel on Saturday night because Carpenter had been used in the 8th. True, Walden has pitched better, but until Atlanta goes to him in the 8th with a lead and Carpenter “rested”, it’s probably still Kimbrel-Carpenter-Walden.

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  6. Charles says:

    Nice head-up Al! Thanks!

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  7. Mark says:

    I’m curious if folks would drop Henderson for Cody Allen at this point. Seems KRod has a tighter hold than Axford on the job?

    I’m most interested in saves long term — not who might get the most the soonest. I have Henderson but he’s benched (and just dropped Allen for Melancon). Yes, my team’s bullpen is a mess.

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    • I don’t think K-Rod is this good but he hasn’t necessarily pitching well due to any absurd luck. He won’t end the season with a 100% LOB% but he’s just pitching darn well right now. I don’t think Henderson’s getting the job unless K-Rod starts failing while Henderson pitches quite well. At this moment in time that doesn’t seem to be a likely outcome.

      With that said, I’d much rather have Allen over Henderson, I’d recommend making the switch.

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