Bullpen Report: April 22, 2013

• All aboard the Edward Mujica bandwagon! Mujica got another crack at the ninth inning tonight, trying to hold on to Shelby Miller‘s third win of the season. Thankfully (for St. Louis fans), he made it look easy, pitching a 1-2-3 ninth to secure the 3-2 win. He doesn’t possess elite strikeout stuff, mainly relying on a fairly straight fastball and an above-average splitter as his two primary weapons. He offsets this lack of prototypical late inning heat with fantastic control, putting up a career 4.1% BB%. Yes, it’s sexy time. He doesn’t have the raw upside of a guy like Trevor Rosenthal, but he’s good enough (and the Cardinals pen has been shaky enough) that he can hold the job. He’s a must own in all formats. Hopefully you snagged him a few days ago but double check your wire if you haven’t.

Speaking of Rosenthal, he pitched a scoreless eighth inning; striking out two, but also allowing two baserunners. Rosenthal has been hurt by a high BABIP (.424) and said hits have come at inopportune times. His 2.19 xFIP (after tonight) shows he still has top-3 closer upside if he could only whittle his way into the ninth inning. He should still be owned in 12-team or deeper mixed leagues as a rates/upside play, even with the latest bullpen shakeup. It’s honestly a bit of a bummer that Mujica got the first post-Boggs shot at the ninth because he’s good enough to keep the job (and make Rosenthal St. Louis’ Kenley Jansen), but the Cardinals’ young phenom is just too filthy to leave rotting on the wire.

• Sometimes, I feel like all I talk about is the Red Sox bullpen. Andrew Bailey worked his third day in a row on Monday, finishing off a three-run win in a game that– let’s be honest– really shouldn’t have been that close. While John Farrell was looking to get Bailey a day off, the back end of his bullpen (Clayton Mortensen and Alex Wilson) couldn’t keep a blowout from becoming a save situation. With Bailey pitching three games in a row, he’s almost certainly unavailable on Tuesday. I suspect the Red Sox would be hesitant to use Koji Uehara as a full-time closer given his injury history/age, but that doesn’t preclude him from picking up a stray save tomorrow should the situation arise. Pick him up in all leagues with daily moves as a one-day save flier.

Chris Perez had a less eventful ninth inning tonight against the White Sox. Like I said last night, don’t get too cute and go after setup guys in their pen under the guise that his job is in danger. Congrats to Rafael Soriano on the birth of his son. Drew Storen was in line for a vulture save if one arose tonight, but alas, it wasn’t to be. Soriano should be back with the team tomorrow.

• On the road, the Cubs have already used James Russell, Shawn Camp, Carlos Marmol, and “proven closer™” Kevin Gregg as they play (at press time!) in extra innings. Anyone who tells you they have a clue as to who will get the next save for this team is lying.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona J.J. Putz David Hernandez Heath Bell
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Eric O’Flaherty Jordan Walden
Baltimore Jim Johnson Pedro Strop Darren O’Day
Boston Andrew Bailey Junichi Tazawa Koji Uehara Joel Hanrahan
CHI (NL) James Russell Shawn Camp Carlos Marmol Kyuji Fujikawa
CHI (AL) Addison Reed Jesse Crain Matt Thornton
Cincy Aroldis Chapman Jonathan Broxton Sam LeCure
Cleveland Chris Perez Vinnie Pestano Joe Smith
Colorado Rafael Betancourt Wilton Lopez Matt Belisle
Detroit Joaquin Benoit Octavio Dotel Phil Coke Bruce Rondon
Houston Jose Veras Wesley Wright Hector Ambriz
KC Greg Holland Kelvin Herrera Tim Collins
LAA Ernesto Frieri Scott Downs Sean Burnett Ryan Madson
LAD Brandon League Kenley Jansen Ronald Belisario
Miami Steve Cishek Jon Rauch Ryan Webb
Milwaukee Jim Henderson John Axford Michael Gonzalez
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Casey Fien
NY (NL) Bobby Parnell Brandon Lyon LaTroy Hawkins Frank Francisco
NY (AL) Mariano Rivera David Robertson Joba Chamberlain
Oakland Grant Balfour Ryan Cook Sean Doolittle
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Mike Adams Antonio Bastardo
Pittsburgh Jason Grilli Mark Melancon Tony Watson
St. Louis Edward Mujica Trevor Rosenthal Mitchell Boggs Jason Motte
SD Huston Street Luke Gregerson Dale Thayer
SF Sergio Romo Santiago Casilla Jeremy Affeldt
Seattle Tom Wilhelmsen Carter Capps Charlie Furbush
TB Fernando Rodney Joel Peralta Jake McGee
Texas Joe Nathan Jason Frasor Tanner Scheppers
Toronto Casey Janssen Steve Delabar Darren Oliver Sergio Santos
Wash. Rafael Soriano Drew Storen Tyler Clippard

[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.

29 Responses to “Bullpen Report: April 22, 2013”

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  1. Tak says:

    I love the Bullpen Report…

    I was able to snag Benoit, Bailey, and Mujica all in a three day span to put alongside Betancourt!

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  2. atoms says:

    Wait, why isn’t Al Albuquerque even on the board for Detroit?? 16.00 K/9 and 0.81 FIP, and he’s behind 4 other guys, one of whom has allowed isn’t even on the major league club, and another of whom has a double-digit ERA and elbow pain (Dotel)? I don’t get it.

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    • atoms says:

      I’m so dumbfounded I couldn’t even type that sentence correctly.

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      • Giovani says:

        Because the author doesn’t think he would be one of he first three guys to get a crack at the closer role. It’s not a referendum on his skills but his situation.

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      • It’s mainly what Giovani said.

        The DET bullpen goes Benoit, Downs, Coke, AlAl, Dotel (the latter two essentially tied) by inLI (leverage index when they enter the game).

        It’s pretty clear (to me) that even with the nice start, AlAl is still behind Benoit and Coke (I disagree with Leyland here) and being used similarly to Dotel.

        FWIW, Downs being up there is the product of a few high-lev MR situations. They’ll go through their list before they consider him in the ninth.

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  3. Ruki Motomiya says:

    I have a clue as to who will be the Cubs closer! You see…

    I’m putting all my money on it being a pitcher, although I might be overlooking the possibility that they just decide to trot Alfonso Soriano out there.

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  4. Joelskil says:

    On the Baltimore line of the closer grid, O’Day should definitely be ahead of Strop.

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  5. The Humber Games says:

    As long as the Cubs believe they can beef up Marmol’s trade value by getting him saves, he will find a way back to the closer position.

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    • I actually considered moving him back to the CL spot based on him being saved after Camp/Russell yesterday but I don’t think I’d waste my time on this pen until Fuji comes back.

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      • Bert Ernie says:

        Two words: Kam Loe. You read it here first.

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      • Jay29 says:

        The Camp/Russell usage in the 7th made me think Marmol was Sveum’s closer last night, though I wouldn’t put him in your closer column yet either. I know it would make the table look ugly, but perhaps a “Committee” entry would be nearer to the truth than choosing one between Russell/Camp/Marmol/Gregg/Bowden/Sutter/Beck/Borowski?

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  6. skip says:

    is the miami closer situation really still green? my guess as the next two guys in line are different than the ones you have listed — care to revisit or are you sticking with the above?

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    • I’m not a Cishek fan (platoon splits) but the Marlins don’t really have anyone else behind him. Cishek still has a fair bit of leash.

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      • marlins12 says:

        Cishek’s #’s against lefties are mostly due to bad luck.

        Also, A.J. Ramos would be the guy behind him at this point.

        Jon Rauch has been garbage and Mike Redmond has been hesitant to use him in key situations.

        Webb is a middle reliever.

        Dunn, the only lefty reliever.

        Qualls, situational righty. Sometimes goes multiple innings.

        If something happens to Cishek, it’s easily Ramos.

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  7. Phil says:

    Valverde struck out the side yesterday. Granted, it’s in A-ball, but he seems to have at least something left. Shouldn’t he make the chart ahead of Rondon for now?

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    • Before yesterday he had walked 1/4 of the batters he had faced (again, A ball and SSS) so I’m not wholly convinced he’s ready to rock. But we’ll keep an eye on that fourth spot.

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  8. dscottncc says:

    I’m a little confused about your Bullpen report for Detroit. I know the coach has no faith in him for high leverage situations. But at some point, how does Alburquerque’s K/rate not get him a look at the closer role? You don’t even have him in the top 4 in that awful bullpen.

    Not to mention he just got 5 more K’s in 2 innings without giving up a hit or a walk.

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    • See above re: bullpen usage of DET.

      AlAl has been good, but Leyland’s usage of him doesn’t indicate that he’s considering him an uber high-leverage arm right now.

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      • atoms says:

        The point of my similar comment wasn’t to question your *analysis* of Leyland and Detroit’s pecking order; I’m sure you are relaying your interpretation to the best of your knowledge. What I’m wondering is what the hell is Jim Leyland thinking? Why doesn’t he trust a good reliever like Albuquerque? It makes no sense to trust Doc Oc et al. over AlAl.

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  9. HeaterRicky says:

    I feel the grid would provide more value if the color code system was applied to individuals, not the team in general. For example if Carter Capps has several bad outings in a row his role as the setup man could be red but Wilhemsen and Furbush would still be green.

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    • Giovani says:

      That sounds awfully complicated for a daily article. People already quibble with every ranking and color on there.

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  10. Atreyu Jones says:

    I’m pretty sure that Uehara and Tazawa’s order should be reversed.

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    • This has been covered a few times in BRs this month.

      Farrell is on record as saying he doesn’t want to use Uehara multiple days in a row or for >1 inning. He is more likely to get a spot save here and there, but it’s unlikely the Sox would run full bore with him in the event Bailey and Hanrahan both go down with injuries.

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      • Atreyu Jones says:

        Thanks for the link. I still respectively disagree, despite that one Farrell quote. He has already used Uehara twice on back-to-back days, gives him more important situations than Tazawa, and would be more likely (I believe) to give the closer role to the veteran with some closing experience over the younger guy. As a Sox fan, I hope Hanrahan and Bailey get/stay healthy and this argument remains moot.

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  11. imnotanartard25 says:

    I originally read the sentence as: “Congrats to Rafael Soriano on the birth of his son, Drew Storen.” I’ll just pretend forever that’s what was written.

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