• With David Robertson heading to the DL, Shawn Kelley will be taking over closing duties in New York. Kelley is effective and can generate lots of swings and misses but also gets many outs via the fly ball (only a 30.5% GB% in his career), which can obviously lead to occasional rough outings, fast. I’m not trying to scare owners away from Kelley but it’s important to not just check his K-Rates and quickly label him a great option. With that said, I would still run to pick up Kelley while Robertson remains on the shelf. I’ve been touting him in the early part of the season but Dellin Betances should be moving up the bullpen chain as well although I think the Yankees might go to Matt Thornton before him at this point. Still, Betances has looked impressive thus far, striking out five batters in three innings pitched with his high 90’s gas.
• The Reds activated Jonathan Broxton off of the 15-day disabled list and although he likely won’t receive the first save opportunity in Cincinnati, I’d expect him to get the role in the immediate future and have him on top of the closer grid for the Reds. J.J. Hoover‘s implosion against the Mets probably moves him down the chain and Sam LeClure could see the first look as Broxton gets into form. Manny Parra could also receive a look from the left side like he already has. Of course, this might all be for naught once Aroldis Chapman comes back but saves are saves. I don’t expect big things from Broxton as he hasn’t been particularly good as a Red (4.50 FIP last year) but he should have a longer leash than those behind him in place of Aroldis.
• Joakim Soria had an interesting ninth inning tonight as he struck out three batters but also allowed three runs in a non-save situation. One bad outing doesn’t put Soria’s job in jeopardy but he gained the job due to Neftali Feliz‘s struggles in the spring and Feliz is throwing harder now in the minor leagues, hitting the mid-90’s on his fastball. Soria isn’t the first close to struggle in a non-save situation and his owners can likely remain optimistic but it’s worth keeping an eye on Feliz and grabbing him as a handcuff when he returns to Texas.
• Sergio Santos struggled at first in place of Janssen but he looked sharp tonight, striking out the side for his third save of the year. It’s unclear who will close upon Janssen’s return but it’s safe to say the longer he’s out while Santos converts saves, the less likely it is he gets the job back. It might be realistic for Janssen’s to come back next week and if that’s the case I would have to say it’s a coin-flip on who gets the job. If Janssen’s available on the wire, it’s certainly worth a speculative pickup.
• Not to pick on Jose Valverde‘s looks but in terms of watching him pitch, it’s never pretty. Papa Grande entered the ninth inning tonight with a four-run lead but almost gave it all up on a grand slam after loading the bases. Still, the Mets don’t have many options and Valverde’s job remains secure. Kyle Farnsworth threw a scoreless eighth inning tonight and he looks to be next in line for saves in Queens. He’s not going to light up the radar like he used to but the guy behind Jose Valverde at this point in his career has to be someone worth monitoring. Also, without any other intriguing arms in the pen, Farnsworth is a sneaky holds play for those that count the category.
Quick Hits: Jim Henderson threw a perfect inning with two strikeouts and could regain his role again this season with outings like that. Santiago Casilla didn’t get a save but he finished the game for the Giants and is undoubtedly next in line if something were to happen with Romo. Jon Axford got a one out save for his third of the year after Vinnie Pestano did everything he could to blow the game. Pedro Strop struggled in the eighth inning tonight and Jose Veras remains the closer in Chicago in spite of his recent struggles.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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