Bullpen Report: April 8, 2014

• 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.

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) Jose Veras Pedro Strop Hector Rondon 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 Rex Brothers Matt Belisle
Detroit Joe Nathan Joba Chamberlain Al Alburquerque
Houston Josh Fields Chad Qualls Matt Albers 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 Paco Rodriguez Brian Wilson
Miami Steve Cishek A.J. Ramos Mike Dunn
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Jim Henderson Brandon Kintzler
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Casey Fien
NY (NL) Jose Valverde Kyle Farnsworth Jeurys Familia Bobby Parnell
NY (AL) Shawn Kelley Matt Thornton Dellin Betances David Robertson
Oakland Jim Johnson Luke Gregerson Ryan Cook
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Antonio Bastardo Jake Diekman
Pittsburgh Jason Grilli Mark Melancon Tony Watson
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Carlos Martinez Kevin Siegrist
SD Huston Street Joaquin Benoit Alex Torres
SF Sergio Romo Santiago Casilla Javier Lopez 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 8, 2014”

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  1. Bret says:

    Nate Jones is on the DL.

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  2. Dave says:

    Gonzalez Germen has to be next in line after Valverde given his stuff and good results so far… and Evan Meek is either next in line or after O’Day but he should certainly be on the list

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  3. Tuco S. says:

    Ryan Cook is not on the DL anymore.

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  4. Norm says:

    Wade Davis is the main setup man over in KC.

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  5. bbboston says:

    What’s the possibility that zach Britton becomes a dark horse closing back up? Apparently his velocity has spiked and it certainly seems a ground ball guy in Baltimore as closer is an accepted concept. Hunter meanwhile is a fly ball pitcher in a hitters park, so feels like a bomb waiting to go off…

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    • Hunter certainly isn’t one of the most reliable relievers but he’s fully the closer in Baltimore for now. The rest of the pen is a little more of a question mark. I think O’Day is second in line and while Meek, Matusz and even Britton could be in line after that I’m keeping Webb for now. He was mentioned more in the beginning of the season and although he’s given up runs his peripherals have actually been the best on the team.

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  6. grassyjones says:

    Why bother making a pretty grid if it’s not accurate or up to date?

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  7. Kyle says:

    Jason Motte is on DL for STL

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  8. john says:

    Who is Wade Davisa on KC. Typo?

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  9. Will says:

    Which A’s set-up guy is going to give Jim Johnson “a breather”? Gregerson? Cook?

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  10. Nodlew says:

    rumors are the Mets are going to look at Joel Hanrahan but that name is probably for a future write up. Maybe us save chasing readers should at least “watch list” him?

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